It was a day like any other winter day in Southwest Florida. The sun had just begun to rise, and the air on this December morning was crisp and cool. This was the day I set aside to try out something new while kayak fishing; I was going to fish a new topwater lure for the first time.
I attended a recent Southwest Florida Kayak Angler’s Association seminar featuring Paul Van Reenen from Unfair Lures. He demonstrated several lures that he manufactures, and answered many questions that the group had about his designs. Paul is a very blunt and sincere individual and while touting the benefits of his designs he would sometimes admit to a drawback or two. At the conclusion of the seminar, I ended up with a few new lures to try, most notably the “DawgWalker 100”.
I love using topwater lures. I can use them all day long and catch a variety of fish. There is something about the big splash of water when the fish slams the lure at the surface that really gets me going. I was eager to use this new lure on this picture perfect morning to see what it could do.
The night before, I removed the lure from its box to check it over. I chose the Liveglow White color - sort of a pearlescent with a copper head. The two trebles are Eagle Claw “Lazersharp” hooks that looked tough enough for the job. All of Paul’s lures come with a swivel tie point at the front, to minimize line twist and give the lure freedom to work correctly. I also noticed five oversized rattle bearings inside to attract fish.
I launched into the slick water of Estero Bay. Just off the launch I began casting the DawgWalker. The very first thing I noticed was the incredibly long cast I made. The shape and weight of the lure allowed it to sail straight through the air. On the retrieve, the lure “walked” almost effortlessly. Paul’s website, www.unfairlures.com says of the DawgWalker, “So easy to use, it practically walks itself.” The back-and-forth action that typifies this type of lure was achieved with minimal effort on my part. On my third cast it was slammed by a fish. I got him close to the boat and he got off the hook. I watched as the big speckled trout swam away.
I soon found myself on a backwater creek. The water was about 62 degrees and moving slowly at the end of an outgoing tide. I was casting the lure along a deep cut next to a line of mangroves when it was devoured by a large fish. After a few moments, the fish came out of the water and revealed itself as a snook. When I landed the fish I noticed it was hooked solidly with two of the rear treble’s three hooks. That snook was followed by many more that morning; over and over they would slam the lure as if they had a grudge.
The DawgWalker is available in one size – 100 mm, which is about 4.5” long. It comes in four colors: Pearl Olive Red Head, White Pearl Red Head, Gold Pearl Tan, and Liveglow White. Paul is still working on distribution, but by design you will not find them in any of the large “box” type tackle stores. According to Paul’s website, Unfair Lures will only be available at “mom and pop” tackle shops, or via the “Contact us” link on the website.
After a couple of hours and a few miles, I called it a day. I must have caught every snook in the creek I was fishing. The lure performed better than I expected and even though I primarily targeted snook, I feel confident that the DawgWalker 100 will give me an “unfair” edge with big trout and redfish as well.