Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Erie Darter - not your average poor boys bait

I was recently invited on a trip to chase down some legendary smallmouth bass on the world famous Lake Erie. The trip itself was cancelled due to a work schedule conflict, but something good still came from as I found the “Erie Darter” by Poor Boys Baits. 

When the trip was first booked I did the obvious thing, jumped on the net asked some questions and did some searches. One bait pop up a lot and that’s the Erie Darter and the Darter jr. Both of these are not a traditional bait for me to fish, but I though what the hell and decided to place an order and give them a try.

These two baits are obviously family members with only 1inch separating the two in size. The Standard Erie darter comes in at 4” and the Jr. At 3”. (if you want to step it up a notch, be sure to check out the Dixie Darter coming in at a whopping 4 ¾ inches)Other than the size, they are identical from their ribbed bodies to the flat mini paddle tail. 

 Poor Boys wants to blow your mind, and when you get to their site you will be mesmerized by the 42 color options available for the darters.. In these 42 colors you still have your 2 size options and two bag qty’ 8 count or a 25count.  For the most part the color options stick towards the natural part of the scale. Lots of variation of pumpkin and watermelon colors. I personally like the smoke options as well as a few of the watermelon colors, they are killer smallmouth colors and produce well in the lakes in my region

The one thing that is not so great about the poor boys website is that the colors are not shown on the order screen. (I should say that not all colors are visible in the order screen) You will have to jump back and forth between he “color chart” screen and the order screen when placing your order... Your best to make your color choices first then go to the order screen.

 How to Fish them...

The Darters are highly versatile baits, and can be fished in many ways and  It fits into almost every anglers  style or technique.  If you a finesse a guy, you can break out the drop shot, the Darter Jr. Is the perfect bait for a drop shot rig, the body and tail give it a nice action when fluttered on the line.  The body of the bait is thick enough that it will hold up to multiple bites and still sti properly when twitched or paused.

 If you prefer  to flip, pitch or skip a bait, the darters body is perfectly built to fit into the tightest cover. It can be Texas rigged with out without a bullet weight, and fits perfectly onto a 3/0 EWG. (I like to throw the darter on a thin wire EWG Gammakatsu hook). The Darter skips well and will allow you to get your bait deep under the docks and pull out any monsters lurking back there.
 For the Tube or grub fisherman the darter can be rigged using your standard grub jig head and hopped , swam or dragged like a tube or grub. The tail and ribbed body give off great motion in the water, and give the darter it’s “darting” or swimming motion. The thin profile allows you to pull it thew cover with minimal snags. Like with the any finesse option lighter line is required if you want to feel what this bait is doing, I like to throw it on 10lb braid, but 6-8 mono would also do the trick

For the power fisherman, you can fish these babies on a flipping jig, just rip or bite off an inch or so, and slide the darter onto your lucky jig, the bait hugs tight to your jig and gives is a fairly slender profile. And a good flapping or waving motion on the fall, again the slight ribbing will also provide water movement.

So as you an see other then top water fishing or cranking it back to the boat, this little guy can pretty much be fished any way you choose.

The Low Down :Darters range in price from about $4.99 to approximately $12. They are available from Poor Boys baits on-line at or can be purchased from select retailers such as, obviously the other retailers will not have the selection that you can get when you order direct from Poor Boys, but they do offer easier to navigate websites.

All in all the Erie Darter and Darter Jr. Are great products, they are versatile, and can be used when targeting both largemouth and smallmouth bass. Give one a shot; I don’t think you will be disappointed 

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