Saturday, November 24, 2012

Test Drive: Duo Baits Invading a Tackle Shop near you

I was recently contacted by a member of the DUO baits team, and asked if I would be interested in giving some of their baits a test run, and in turn provide my honest thoughts and opinions. Not one to miss a great opportunity, I quickly jumped at the offer, and am I ever glad I did.

I will be honest Im someone that prides themselves on the ability to keep up on "what new" and whats hot" in the lure and bait market, but I kinda missed the boat when it comes to DUO, and if I missed it maybe some of you did as well.. Here is the low down on Duo...

Duo is a Japanese hard bait manufacturer that has been banging out Salt and Fresh water baits since the mid 90's. They focus most of their energy on designing high quality baits that perform when called upon (I should also state here that these are some of the loudest baits I have ever thrown). The "Realis" line of baits as Bass fishing specific and tackle most of the major categories including shallow cranks, jerk-baits, stick-baits, topwater and more. I had the opportunity to test drive 6 Duo Baits, and here is my take...

Realis Crankbait 48SR: I'm the first to admit it, I'm not a huge crankbait guy, but when I do fish 'em, it's all about the shallow running cranks, so the Realis 48SR is right in my wheelhouse. Coming is at just under 2" in length this little guy is built like an SUV, short, flat and yet bulky. It has a wide stance that gives off a pretty sweet wobble on the retrieve no matter if you are burning or slow rolling it home. Duo also did something that I wish more bait companies would look at, they made sure the two trebles cannot get caught up on each other. This may sound pretty simple, but you would be surprised at the amount of baits on the market that foul up due to hook entanglement, 

For a small bait, the 48SR casts like a shot. Whether this is due to the profile or to the internal weigh and magnet system, I don't know, all I can say is that I easily covered good distance on both spinning and casting gear. In case I did not mention it yet, t his bait is loud as hell. On my first three casts the loud knocking made me think I was making contact with the rocks behind me. I kept stopping looking around, and then would try to cast it more gingerly.. yet the knocking still persisted. I finally came to realized that it was the bait (yes that was embarrassing).

I'm not going to spend much time talking about appearance as I believe the old adage " a pictures worth a 1000 words" and since this article is pic heavy, i think Ive said enough.

Test Drive Results: I was very happy with the performance of the Realis Crank48SR and have officially added it to my primary Crankbait box. I'm really looking forward to pounding the shallows with it next spring. 

Realis Pencil 110:  The minute I picked up this bait I was excited to get it on the water. I had done some reading on it, and the reviews seemed to be all around positive. Like most anglers I love to throw walking baits and I'm always in the market for the newest hottest thing, and if I'm being honest I think the Pencil 110 ranks right up there with the best I have ever fished.

This is not a bait for the faint of heart, it is big, bulky and loud as all hell. It's size alone makes it intimidating, unless you have fished with the IMA BigStick there are few top water baits that compete with the Pencil110 for size. And if the size does not get you, the weigh will, this is a hefty bait weighing in a 3/4oz and as I mentioned before and will again.. IT IS LOUD. If you follow this blog on a regular basis you may have seen a recent review of Top Water baits in which I mentioned how loud the Strike King Sexy Dog is, well the Pencil110 makes the sexy dog sound like a whisper.

I haven't even talked about performance yet. The Pencil110 walks the dog with ease, I think my 5 year old nephew would have it mastered in minutes. I really love the baits ability to keep up at high and low speeds, I shook the crap out of the Pencil 110 and it continually performed. It splashes, gurgles and chugs along with the best of them, and any fish in the area your there.

The only part of this bait I think needs some tweaking is the pause. The Pencil110 sits nearly vertical when paused, and because of the size of the bait I think it almost sits too low and would like to see it at more of an 45 degree angle. I get the idea they were trying to achieve and I know the importance of the tail of the bait hanging down to give the fish a target. Personally I think it could sit up a bit higher (this would also improve visibility on the pause)

Test Drive Results: I believe this bait falls into my top 3 when it comes to top water walking baits. It has officially worked it;s way into my primary topwater box and will be tag teamed (depending on conditions and the bite) with my IMA Skimmer (a much thinner bait) as well as Zara Spook Jr. These three baits offer distance profile changes that should suffice in any condition (it has knocked the Live Target walking frog out of the top 3, and the Strike King Sexy Dog off my radar entirely)

Realis Minnow80SP:  The Minnow80SP is one of two jerk-baits that Duo sent me to test Drive. It is what I consider the little brother of the pair. Coming in at just over 3 inches in length and weighing only 0.17 of an oz it is visibly smaller then its big brother (Realis Jerkbait120).

If you check out the DUO website you will notice that they spend some time talking about how quickly the Minnow80SP reacts, and I cant agree more.. the only issue I have, is that is reacts so quick and easily that I had trouble controlling it. It took multiple casts and retrieves before I was able to get the hang of fishing with this bait. Early on, i had issues keeping it down, hard twitches or jerks had the bait nearly breaking the surface of the water turning it into a top water bait.

I don't want to rag on it's performance as I know there are more talented jerk-bait anglers out there that may have had greater success then I did. On the positive side of things this baits looks incredible in the water and moves as advertised. I love the flash this bait produces and think it could draw the bass into a feeding frenzy.

Realis Jerkbait 120: Ok, now onto the big brother, and a bait I had a much easier time fishing with. The Realis Jerkbait 120 is a bruiser, it is big, heavy and makes some serious noise. I had a blast fishing with it, and love the response on the rod and in the water. It's large flat sided profile gives off great flash and the weight system is uniquely loud.  The Jerkbait120 comes equipped with 4 rattle style weights, two of these and tungsten and two are steel. This combinations gives off two different sounds, the tungsten providing a lower pitch (almost thud) and the steel giving it a higher pitch (crack). I cant attest to what this does to the fish, but I can say it is definitely offering them something different and as we all know sometimes that's all it takes. 

Test Drive Results: As you can see there are some mixed results on this one. I personally prefer to fish with the Realis Jerkbait120 and have added it to my primary jerkbait box along side my IMA Flits and various Lucky Crafts. I think it's profile and sound will provide me with that "something different" when the bite gets tough. The Minnow80SP on the other hand will need some getting use to. I have added to a secondary jerkbait box and will be sure to spend some more practise time with it next season

Realis Spinbait 80: I will honestly admit this little guy had me stumped/confused. I saw the image on-line but did not spend any time reading up on it prior to fishing with it. So with that said you may understand my confusion when I threw what I thought was a top water bait (like a skitter-pop) only to watch it sink as I frantically tried to keep it up on top of the water.. Obviously I was unsuccessful as this bait is not a topwater bait.  Once I understood that, I started to have fun with it. I

The Spinbaits80's long slender body is surprisingly heavy and casts like a shot (and sinks even better). While retrieving the bait the twin propellers give off a nice easy vibration, and when paused the Spinbait80 gives off a soft flutter while sinking. This bait is great for fishing for suspending bass or in areas with various depths and drop-offs. Like the Rapala countdown minnow it can be fished at any depth and still perform as advertised. This is a very unique bait in my arsenal and I'm really looking forward to playing with it in various situations (hell it could even be used under the ice)

Test Drive Results: You can learn from my mistakes, by spending some time getting to know a bait prior to fishing with it, my assumption on this bait cost me nothing by humility, but that being said I should have known better. I like the Spinbait80 and think it has a place in my day to day arsenal, I'm not sure where that is yet, but I plan on finding out.

Realis Vibration62: Last but certainly not least the Vibration62 is a great little lip less crank that will be seeing some time on the soft and hard water alike (yes that means ice for your warm weather anglers).
This little bait offers up what appears to be a trend for the DUO line-up.. great casting distance, amazingly loud internal rattles and superior performance.

The Vibration62 is lite and small enough that it can be fished on spinning or casting gear and the body design gives of great vibration and flash while being retrieve at medium, fast and super fast speeds (without effecting performance). I love that this is available in a couple sizes and the colour options are pretty impressive as well.

Test Drive Results: I loved this bait from first cast, it fishes extremely well and is something I consider an "all season" bait. In the spring it will see some  use on Walleye and Pike trips, and during the summer and fall it will be used during some bass outings, and in the winter I will be jigging up walleye, perch and crappie with it.. yes you can say it is versatile.

Test Drive Overview: 

Again I want to thank the team at DUO for giving my the opportunity to test drive a selection of their baits. I was extremely happy with the quality and performance from their entire line-up, so much so that I will be placing an order for a few of the baits I have yet to test (like the Realis Popper64) as well as stocking up on a few that I feel in love with (Pencil110 and Crankbait48ST). These baits where a lot of fun to fish with, and I believe they can and will fill some holes in my current arsenal. During the above reviews I did not really touch on colour, again I think the images speak for themselves, but in closing I will add that DUO has a pretty impressive array of color choices for all their baits. So If you are looking to mix-it-up and add some new baits to your arsenal you cant go wrong with a  DUO Realis. Check them out at Tackle Warehouse or from DUO International

All baits in the above Test Drive where fished using a Dobyns Savvy Micro Guide rod (SS704c) paired with a Daiwa Advantage reel (SunLine SuperSniper FC line)


  1. I'm likin' that lipless crank. I don't need any more of them having enough lipless crankbaits to last me a lifetime, but what's one more to the collection, right?

  2. you and I seem to have the same life philosphy