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Lure & Basic Tackle Review

Settling the scores with Revenge Bait's lifelike "Dart Hedz"

Date: 7/12/04
Tackle type: Lures
Manufacturer: Revenge Baits
Reviewer: Zander

Total Score: 8.08

Introduction: While originally intended for coldwater bass fishing, new innovations in jig head fishing make it possible to utilize this technique successfully in a extensive range of conditions. Revenge Baits produces some of the most realistic dart jig heads on the market and are designed to help anglers deliver payback to those fish that might have "got away."


Revenge Baits Dart Hedz Specifications

Material Lead
Diving Depth Any
Weight 1/2oz
Colors/Patterns 3 Available (shad, PMS, Craw)
Color tested Shad
Hook Mustad O Ultra Point Black Nickel
Additional Features Lifelike 3D eyes
MSRP $2.99

Impressions: I have always enjoyed fishing with jigs due to their ability to target multiple depths with great accuracy. Most of my jig fishing has been done with typical lead dart or football heads. The purpose of these heads was primarily to weigh the attached lures down, and brandish the actual hook. While pure lead jig heads have proven to be effective, anglers can now add the extra element of a realistic looking dart head to their tackle cache. Revenge Baits produces a wide assortment of lures ranging from spinnerbaits to jigs, and the new Dart Hedz make it possible to add an extra level of realism to plastic presentations.


Revenge Dart Hedz come in packs of three, and are available in 3 patterns and 4 weight variations


When I first examined the Dart Hedz I couldn't help but notice the attention to detail in not just the profile of the heads, but the painting as well. While traditional jigheads are cone shaped the Dart Hedz are shaped like real baitfish, complete with a extruding gill plate. The Dart also features enlarged three dimensional eyes and a metallic pigment that shimmers in the sunlight, creating that extra flash. Finally there is a barb on the midsection of the jig head to hold rigged plastics securely in place.


Complete Rig for Revenge Baits Dart Hedz Tests

Rod Kistler Custom "Drop Shot" Rod
Reel Quantum PTi 20
Line 8 lb Trilene XL

Real World Tests: I tested the Revenge Baits Dart Hedz with plastic paddle tail worms and single tail grubs on two local lakes. One of which offered crystal clear water, and another which was green with vegetation.


Casting: Casting depends on a number of factors including the weight Dart Hedz you choose, the lb. test line you make use of, and the actual plastic you select to rig. While these lures can be used with baitcasting outfits, I had the most success finesse fishing with spinning gear. By using a spinning rod I was able to put smaller plastics on the heads and toss them a good distance when paired up with 8lb line. One of the key advantages of fishing with darts is the ability for pinpoint precision. I could cast the rigged Dart Hedz with great exactness. Because the Dart Hedz is rigged with an exposed hook this is not the technique you want to employ when in very weedy and heavily structured areas. Cast the rigged Dart Hedz over points, rocky drop off's, and deeply sunken structure, then begin one of various retrieve methods to bring the plastic to life. 


The realistic jig is a complete departure from the traditional lead head


Retrieve: With the Dart Hedz you will find yourself doing a lot of casting and retrieving, and this lure is one of the better baits for covering large amounts of water quickly. I was pleased to see that even though the Dart Hedz was shaped like a fish it still maintained a very even and balanced retrieve. This also makes it easier to anticipate exactly where your lure is positioned in the water column. After the cast allow the lure to sink to your desired depth and begin applying action. Often times fish will zone in on the lure during the fall and commit to a strike. Always be prepared, as a strike often less like a tick and more akin to a slight tug. Anglers that desire to isolate targets will want to choose a plastic that is more buoyant, and exhibits a slower fall rate in the water, thus holding longer in the strike zone.


The lure can be retrieved quickly in the water to generate reaction strikes, or search for fish, but I found that slower finesse techniques generated the greatest retort. Here is where the benefits of spinning gear really come into play. Once cast you can choose to swim the lure back or you can work the lure by either lifting the tip causing the lure to lurch forward then fall again, do this all the way back in. The second way to take advantage of spinning gear is to hold the rod securely and retrieve slowly as you shake the tip of the rod in a tight motion. Keep your line tense enough so the vibration translates all the way down your line and creates a fanatical dance below the surface. You can shake side to side or up and down, either way make sure to pause every so often. When bass strike it is often a subtle tug, so be ready to drive that hook. Often anglers will miss strikes because they are too occupied shivering their rods.


The Dart Hedz can be rigged with rubber worms or grubs
(Here we utilize a Yamamoto Single tail grub)


Durability: The nice thing about tossing plain lead dart heads is that they are cheap and anglers usually don't feel all that much loss when they become damaged or are lost to structure. The Dart Hedz are more expensive than traditional jig heads, but they augment realism to your plastic presentations. The Dart Hedz are coated with a chip resistant coating that proved to be quite durable. We deliberately dragged the heads (unrigged) over rocky outcroppings and the lure sustained only minor scratches...no chips at all. At the end of our stress tests we rigged the head back up and found it just as effective as ever. The hook is the most likely to be damaged component, and can be bent if accidentally snagged on rocks.


While not intended for fishing in heavy cover the Revenge Dart Hedz are accurate enough to run alongside structure and can often draw aggressive fish out


Applications: If you haven't fished with swimming grubs or dart rigged worms then you are missing out. This technique is proven effective in cold and clear water, but during our field tests we experienced a high level of success with the Revenge Dart Hedz even in warm murky water. This bait can be used to target both largemouth and bronzebacks with a assortment of retrieves. With just a little practice anglers can catch fish by dropping, swimming, darting, and shaking.

Revenge Baits Dart Hedz Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality The Revenge Dart Hedz are a high quality product and even though they are a tiny piece of tackle the paint and finishing is top notch. The Mustad hook is both durable and sharp, and much better than the hooks used on most traditional lead darts 9
Performance The Dart Hedz can be deadly when fished correctly, and when paired with spinning gear it truly can catch a lot of fish. Because the Dart Hedz is just 50% of the actual lure the performance does heavily depend on the plastic as well, but the realistic looking head delivered better performance than standard jigs 8.5
Price At around 1 dollar a piece the Dart Hedz are a lot more expensive than standard jig heads but they add effectiveness to the lure 6
Features There are few features possible with a simple dart, but Revenge puts together the right components with a nice hook and quality finish 8
Design (Ergonomics) The Dart Hedz are easy to rig and the barb effectively holds plastics on even when repeatedly struck 8
Application This lure can be used in many more conditions than most anglers realize and is one of the lures best suited for light spinning gear 9

Total Score


Pluses and Minuses:

                 Plus                                    Minus

J Multiple techniques possible L Significantly more expensive than traditional lead jig heads
J Accurate and easy to use  
J Sharp durable hook  
J Great lure for spinning gear  

Conclusion: Anglers usually make use of Texas and Carolina rigs more than anything else, but many have found that a swimming grub can also produce great results. Revenge Baits Dart Hedz can be fished with many different techniques, but few anglers actually will employ them all. You can be quite successful by just mastering one or two of the techniques made possible with the Dart Hedz. These convincing looking dart heads did improve our total number of strikes, and the durable Mustad hooks stuck more fish than the low quality generic hooks found on most basic lead jig heads. When fishing pressure is at its highest the added realism of the Dart Hedz can make a difference in your catch, and maybe even help you exact revenge on that big fish that got away.









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