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Lure Review

Mimic injured baitfish with the innovative Daiwa "Dead or Alive"

Date: 2/04/07
Tackle type: Lures
Manufacturer: Daiwa
Reviewer: Zander

Total Score: 8.58 + INNOVATION AWARD!

Daiwa rolls out the Dead or Alive, a distinctive side swimming topwater hybrid swimbait/plug designed to imitate a severely wounded baitfish. The DOA represents an easy target for a wide range of species, and features a unique layout, realistic 3-D eyes, and a spinner buzz blade tail for even more fish attracting flash and vibration from above.  

Daiwa Dead or Alive Specifications

Type Surface Swimbait/Plug
Size 5" & 6"
Colors/Patterns 4 available
Weight 1 3/8oz & 2 3/16oz
MSRP $34.99 & 39.99

Team Daiwa lures are now available from many online e-tailers and in some local tackle shops. These premium lures were designed to go head to head with other premium Japanese lures including Yozuri and Lucky Craft. To help widen the brands appeal to all types of anglers the company is differentiating their lure lineup with the more mainstream positioned “Daiwa Lures.” Most of these lures will retail for 10 dollars and under, representing excellent value for the money.


The Dead or Alive is a unique hybrid swimbait/plug


The DOA doesn’t fall into this price range, retailing for 39.99 for the 6 inch size, but it is designed to offer more bang for the buck than other Japanese designed full size surface lures. The DOA is constructed out of wood and is double jointed, and features a bill positioned on the side of the bait’s head.


The DOA retail packaging. Each hookpoint is protected with a rubber gasket


We had to do a double take when we first saw the bait at ICAST. There is a bill on the bait, but the entire profile of the bait has been rotated so that the DOA rests on the side of the fish’s profile. The whole lure is actually curved and the hooks rest inside the inverted “U” shape. The DOA even features a bleeding eye on the submerged side, and comes in four patterns (Rainbow Trout, Fire Tiger Perch, Ayu, and Baby Bass). 


The DOA is not straight like most swimbaits, it is curved in its natural position


Real World Test: To test the DOA we targeted bass and stripers in the California Delta. We were blessed with some respectable striper runs, so we really had the opportunity to see if the fish would respond aggressively to the DOA. At the same time we could also witness just how well these lures would hold up to brutal topwater strikes.


Is the lip installed in the wrong place? Not on this lure...


Casting: Getting this bait out really isn’t much of a problem with the right setup. The DOA is available in two sizes, 5 and 6 inches, with a weight of 1 3/8oz and 2 3/16oz respectively. The DOA comes with a heavy duty snap which makes it easier to tie on with heavy line, as well as benefit’s the lure’s action in the water.


The DOA features a dual jointed design


Heavy line is a must with this lure, and in our tests we used 20lb mono. This allows you to not only cast with confidence, but also helps absorb plenty of shock without having to worry about losing a fish or your lure when you muscle them in.


The joints are connected with steel hardware


Most important to casting control and cast distance with a lure like the DOA is using a stick with plenty of backbone. The DOA isn’t nearly as heavy as many of the latest generation swimbaits, but it will still do a number on your arms and your rod. Anglers can get away with using their flipping sticks to throw the DOA, just make sure to load up a reel with a decent capacity, in view of the fact that 20lb mono will eat up spool real estate real quick.


The DOA features a bleeding eye on its submerged side


Next Section: Casting and getting creative with the retrieve









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