Daiwa is renowned as a world leader for its outstanding rods and reels. While this Japanese tackle giant has always delved into other sectors of the fishing industry such as lines, lures and accessories, here in Australia the past few years has really seen Daiwa shift gear and motor forward with what I believe have been the best lure designs we’ve seen from them.
New Double Clutch Colours
The Daiwa Double Clutch is one of the greatest light to medium tackle lures of all time. It has an amazing action, it’s versatile in how it can be fished, and it casts beautifully. It’s also a unique lure. Technically, it isn’t a jerkbait, while it possesses a minnow profile, it’s a unique hybrid of a jerkbait and crankbait. The vast colour range available over the years has been a big part of its success.
Daiwa has always understood the importance of a colour range to suit Australian species and used Australian anglers to help develop the range, but the latest colour range has taken things to a whole new level. 2022 saw the release of five new colours across the 60, 75 and 90mm Double Clutch. These were a courageous move from Daiwa as at first glance the colours are quite similar to each other – and to existing colours in the range. They’re all natural baitfish/prawn patterns and have clearly been designed by a knowledgeable angler. Daiwa Australia’s Taka Kawasaki is to be commended on such great and effective designs. From a sales and marketing point of view, these designs are somewhat risky as they tend to blend in with each other on the tackle shop wall – and the 80% of the anglers catching 20% of the fish won’t recognise why these colours are so good. It’s often the subtlety in a lure colour that makes the difference – both to the fish and when inspiring confidence in the angler.
Chrome Belly is one of the best Australian smelt or whitebait imitations on the market. The rusty orange translucent body, dark back and the use of Daiwa’s ADEL foil not only imitate the smelt, but provide that perfect mix of contrast, flash and subtlety. It’s a dynamite colour for perch, bream and trout. Matte Prawn is a colour that’s been popular in the Spike range for some time and it’s great that it’s now available in the DC range. It’s not a colour I’ve had a chance to use much, but it will definitely come in handy in systems where the prawns are running, and the water is a little dirtier.
I’ve always been a fan of Ghost Wakasagi – it’s accounted for countless bream and perch and the new Natural Ghost Shad is a similar pattern with slightly darker tones to provide a stronger silhouette. Blue Suji Prawn is a great new prawn imitation and it’s surprising how a change in just those stripes can change the bite. This was a great colour around the entrance on yellowfin bream at both Bemm River and Mallacoota. But the star colour across multiple seasons, species, locations and water conditions for me was IP Ayu. In both the 60 and 75mm Double Clutch this lure accounted for lots of fish – and great-sized fish. Some may ask if another Ayu colour was needed to go with the classic Rusty Ayu, Lazer Ayu and Ghost Ayu and the answer is yes. Ayu is such a dominant pattern in our estuary systems and the new IP Ayu is a new take on it. Images do not do this colour justice. It has a pearl/oil slick finish that changes with the surrounding light and fish just love it.
Double Clutch 75SR
I’m a huge fan of jerkbaits, which are without doubt my favourite style of lure. A good jerkbait can be manipulated so many ways to imitate baitfish that it will catch everything from trout to tuna. I was therefore extremely excited to see Daiwa had made a true traditional shallow-running jerkbait with the Double Clutch 75SR. Thanks to the S-GOS (Silent Gravity Oscillation System) the 75SR provides accurate and effortless casting and is highly responsive.
We tested it in fast-running rivers like the Goulburn River on trout through to the shallow flats of Bemm River for bream, where it accounted for multiple fish. The 75-80mm shallow-running jerkbait with a slender profile is such an effective lure style in rivers and estuaries as it’s the perfect profile for so many baitfish, yet there are seldom many good examples of it on the market. Prior to this the Duo Realis Minnow 80SP was one of my favourites and I believe the new 75SR is on a par in action, casts a little more accurately and certainly has a far superior colour range designed for Australian species. Moebi, Adel Ayu and Chrome Belly have been standout colours.
Bait Junkie Jig Heads
Late 2022 saw the release of Bait Junkie jig heads. We’ve only had the chance to test them out in the lighter models of around 1/16th and 1/8th of an ounce and we’ve found them to be excellent. We mainly tested them targeting bream and perch in snags, which is really the ultimate test. First off, the packaging must be celebrated as it’s genius. Having jig heads in a snap lock bag means they are better protected and the bag is reusable. It’s also much easier to grab a jig head from the packet. The sticker on the packet that indicates size and weight has a backing so it can peeled off and stuck on your tackle box to easily identify your weights – another excellent idea.
The three key features of a jig head are the hook, head and bait keeper. The head is finished beautifully and allows for a nice finesse presentation with the Daiwa DVEC logo on one side and the jig weight clearly visible on the other. The BKK hooks finished with Daiwa’s Saq Sas coating are sharp and may be slightly lighter than comparable jig heads on the market in these lighter weights. We didn’t have any issues while fighting fish, but we did note that they tended to open more easily when trying to retrieve them from snags, although this could be a good thing. As I said, most of the fish we caught came from structure and we didn’t find anything negative using relatively heavy drag pressures. The hook keeper is outstanding; we used multiple brands of plastics and different styles and it’s not just a great hook keeper for rigging Bait Junkie plastics, it worked beautifully with Keitech, Squidgies and Bait Breath. I will say once it’s on, it’s on, and you may damage the plastic trying to remove it – but I see this as a positive, as it’s rare I want to change plastics on the same head. I’ve continued to buy and use them since the initial samples were sent and I’m looking forward to using the heavier models.
Infeet Spike 53EXDR
What makes the original Spike such an effective lure is that it’s a crash diver that’s highly responsive to rod movement. A few twitches and a suspended pause have been the undoing of many perch, bream and flathead. While there are many lures on the market with a similar profile and dive depth, they don’t all have that same great action. The new Spike 53EXDR is the deep diving version of the original Spike. It features a much larger bib that takes it to greater depths of around 2.5-3m on a standard cast and retrieve, and while the packet says it will get to four metres, you’d probably need to troll it to hit these depths.
The larger bib sends it deeper but does change the action from the original Spike. On a slow roll it does have an outstanding in-built action similar to the standard Spike but it doesn’t respond as well to twitches. If you give this lure too much speed or you’re too aggressive with it, it will blow out. The large bib does limit casting distance and accuracy, but an inbuilt cast weight system makes it one of the better casting lures in this class. This is a lure you want to slow roll and pause and working it this way we managed to get a quite few good bream. What we did find surprising is that the large bib is quite adept at passing through and over snags without fouling the hooks and that’s where most fish came from.
I really see this new Spike shining in summer and spring working expansive flats for bream and flathead. The colour range is excellent and the standout colour through the test period was Ghost Shad.