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Damiki Technique

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Alright, this seems to be one of the most frustrating techniques I’ve used just because I see the fish looking at it and can’t get them to take it. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve caught quite a few fish on it, and love when they do take it, but it seems like this winter they’ve just been tough on south Holston. So I am asking what it is that makes you more confident in your bait. Personally, I prefer all white, 1/4 mooneye jig with white and black eye, white Damiki, also I bite quarter inch off head of bait to prevent more missed fish than necessary, rig so that only the very tip of the hook pokes out the back, and if the seem to not be giving it enough attention, I’ll put a drop of pro cure scent gel in the hook cavity. As far as movement, I’ve found a few pops will bring them up but I try keeping my lure as still as possible. When I find some spots feeding on bottom, I’ll drop straight to mud, reel up Just off the bottom 1-3’ , and give it three decent pops and kill it, if there is a spot, you can bet he’s gonna grab it. 

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I'm guessing the fish are just getting used to it like every other tactic. Good news is they still eat rattle traps spinnerbaits and plastic worms and they have for 50+ yrs 

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Its kinda like being late to the party these days. They have seen it a thousand times so your presentation has to be perfect most of the time. I also think that whole moon eye craze may be a little bit of brand loyalty and not the best thing to get the job done. I make my own heads which I feel are way more realistic.  I also don't spend a lot of time on non active fish or just one here and there. This is best for active schools IMO. If you want to check out the heads I have go to Bj's Custom Lures on facebook or IG. 

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We pour our own jigs too, I say moon eye because that’s what it most resembles. Just aspirin head with eyes on them. But I will give them a look. I’m just getting serious with bass fishing and trying to better my techniques every time I’m on the water so I want to have a comfortablity with a certain technique before I can feel confident enough to fish it when the time comes, and I’ll just tell, come spoon season, I’m probably the best net guy around, because I can’t catch them on a spoon, so i always end up with a Damiki on. And it seems here, you’re not gonna come up on active fish very often, and as new to finding fish as I am, my chances on persuading non-active fish are much better than finding active fish throughout the day. I was just wondering if I’ve probably gotten the hang of it, they just aren’t eating it like they were a year or two ago, or if I’m focusing too much on the wrong aspects instead of just keeping to a rhythm and being happy that I’m at least catching something. 

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Oh, they most definitely aren’t eating it like they did a few years ago. Those first two winters were ridiculous. If you marked a fish, you caught it for the most part back then. Finding schools of active fish makes a huge difference. Look for humps, creek channels or wintering holes, and there needs to be bait in the area. The main thing is to dedicate yourself to doing it. It’s hard to fish another technique and try to pick off a fish here and there with the damiki. You really need to put that rod in your hand and just go do it. 

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It will be better now that we've had a real cold snap to kill a few shad. The other Damiki will take off now.

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It will only get better from here on out . I think the fish bite it better in water temps below 50 deg . Watauga is the only exception,  they have been eating like sharks for the last month and a half. 

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1 hour ago, trackertxw175 said:

It will be better now that we've had a real cold snap to kill a few shad. The other Damiki will take off now.

Should get good soon. Last winter was weird all the way around because we never had that big, extended cold snap. 

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I've been working this rig for the past 2 years.  The only consistent thing I've noted in those 2 years is that this presentation is inconsistent.  You just gotta be flexible.

The key is having a plastic bait that's the same size and color pattern as the bass' preferred forage.  If I don't get a bite on one size I usually go down (say, from 4" to 3" or from 3" to 2").  Sometimes they want it a little bigger.  You have to experiment a bit until you find the right combo of size and color pattern.  And even then it's not a given it'll work.

On my last outing I couldn't get a sniff with a vertical presentation.  I could see the bait fluttering in front of the suspended fish.  Nothing.  I tried bouncing it off the bottom and got bit on my second cast - a solid keeper.  From there I jigged it down points and along ledges.  I caught three more keepers doing this.  Then the bite died.

When I'm learning something new it's usually the only thing I take out.  It's my way of forcing me to learn, to pay attention.  Most days it pays off (eventually), thru a comedy of errors or plain luck.  Some days nothing works.  The fish just don't wanna eat (anything).  The replies from some of the other doods telling you to hang in there a bit longer for the cold to really set in is telling.  They've shared an element to their patterns that you haven't perhaps considered - that a combination of water temp, time of year, lake level, etc are key parts of success w/ this rig.  Go back thru your most recent outings.  Make some notes on water temp, presentation, bait size, jighead size and shape.  When you go out next make notes on what you do, especially when you make adjustments.  Make note of what you saw or thought to prompt the change.  After few a outings you'll have enough data points to be able to narrow down the set of conditions that are best for the damiki.  FYI - this approach isn't unique to the damiki.  It's what we do when we're trying to learn any new presentation or bait.

Hang in there!  ;)

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Great advice right there ^^^. I started making a fishing "diary" if you will, several years ago. Every trip I made notes of weather & water conditions, area of lake, fish caught & size, and baits thrown successfully or not. My catch ratios went up over a few years. The past 2 years, I've not taken the time to make records & it shows in my results. Fish move & change, but a record gives you a starting point, not only for a specific bait, but also a given season, temp or weather scenario. It's a good practice to keep.

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Thanks guys, I appreciate the advice and I’ll definately be trying it out this weekend again. Last time I was out was on Sunday and the temp was pretty low, biggest issue for us was line freezing up which kinda hindered our dropping. Started to cast out and let swing in under us instead and threw too shallow once got hung up on rock, wiggle it loose and then got hit good, casted a ned with hula stick on and it took off, guessing it was a catfish from how heavy it felt, and even knowing that, I spent far too much of my day casting and beating the bank with that damiki. I just get so caught up on certain aspects I can’t bring my mind to break from it. If I get a bite and don’t land it, I can forget about anywhere else I was planning on fishing because I can’t make my mind stop thinking that it’s something I’m doing instead of the fish. I have to learn to better manage my time whilst on the water and allow for some learning curve, try to make myself understand I’m not gonna bust em on the first cast. I’ll start keeping a log on water temp and depth, I try to take a photo of my fish along with lure and background so I can keep an accurate timeframe of time, location, and weather conditions as well as lure selections. I constantly change my retrieves and presentations and regardless of how few I catch from time to time, I’m always persistent and constantly looking for more ways to improve. I will definitely try all of these, I have found that downsizing is quite effective and I keep everything from 1” Bobby garlands to 5” Zman flukes.  

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I went ahead today and ordered a mold to start producing jig heads designed with the Damiki technique in mind. The belly of the jig head has a crescent moon shape extending from the head back to help balance the bait a little keeping your plastic back a little balanced and level on the fall, instead of the nose down with most jig heads. Of course they will also work as a standard swim bait jig head as well. I will be able to produce them any color you want with any color eye combo. Sizes will be 1/4, 3/8, 1/2, 5/8 & 3/4. I will let you guys know when they are available.

473523_50.jpg

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9 hours ago, 31Airborne said:

Nice.  Key thing:  hooks HAVE to have the 90* turn.  ;)

Yes they do.

I am really excited about adding this mold to my line up. I have had my eye on it for a while but my guy on the west coast not started to sell the trailer keepers them in bulk until recently. Not only will it work better for this technique than the shad heads I current have/offer but frankly the detail on them is fantastic. I already have my mind spinning about what I'm gonna be able to do to these with an airbrush. I have special plans for them.

Edited by Karma

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I have found i get more bites on a smoke (natural shad) colored yamamoto shad shape worm than i do a damiki. You can also take the jighead out of the equation &  do a drop shot. Some days it works better.

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3D3DAE25-43BB-4B36-8E7C-C24370F2ECC5.jpeg.1cc49ebf1983ca0550c1b0c7ed3cfa13.jpeg

these are the heads we pour, simple and very versatile. I mostly throw 1/4 for the slower rate of fall, but it’s so compact and cuts through the water so well it can still stay under your boat in moderate wind conditions. Will go slightly heavier in deeper and windier conditions, but the popping technique I use seems to work best with these heads, and they are great for tight lining swim baits too. Just slightly modified aspirin heads molds. Bait keeper is reversed just because I bite tip of plastics off and a bottom keeper doesn’t always work with certain brands (armor shad) 

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Nice.

I've watched maybe 30 or 40 videos on this technique over the past few weeks.  In every one of vids I've seen the host/commentator makes a point to emphasize the importance of having eyes on the head.  A few of them say red eyes are the key.  Seems to me the profile and movement of the soft plastic bait would be the things drawing the fishes' attention.  My guess is you're catching just as many w/ your eyeless heads as someone using a head w/ eyes.

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87FF3A62-83ED-445C-8018-161039961226.jpeg.b0570433336f8e1b945399e0ad6d6023.jpeg

I do add eyes to most, I just hadnt added them in that photo. For me I try using red eyes for darker colors and white/gold holographic eyes for lighter colors. I have found that low profile eyes work best for the aspirin head though. They seem to stay on much better without having to glue or clear coat, and with the more protrusive eyes, it ends up just being the ball head profile, which is perfectly fine, I know guys much wiser than me that throw literally nothing but unpainted lead ball head jigs and most days put me to shame, but that just goes to show, confidence is key. But for clear, cold water fishing, and as slow as bites I’m encountering, I do believe this particular scenario does prove to favor as realistic a look as possible. I’ve been popping or wiggling my baits, and if you aren’t hit immediately, then I will hold it still for as long as 10-15 seconds, and sometimes the only way to know you have a bite with the thick gloves for this weather is to watch for little ripples off your line. It’s literally just about who can stand it the longest, and for me, this fishing is normal coming from a crappie fishing background, but I know people who would rather catch nothing and constantly cast than to have to sit through that kind of “torture” 

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well I got home to my molds yesterday and set out to work using them.
 

I didn't like the amount of detail that the powder paint took away when they were dipped in the fluid bed and baked. Nothing terrible, but no where near as good as they came out when I took my airbrush and painted a white, gold and black shad scheme on them. I love these. I coated them with the same stuff I use on my hard bodied plastics to protect the paint. I guess I should try some with red eyes as well.

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These look like the Megabass product - the underweight is supposed to be a huge help to keeping the rig horizontal.  Very nice. 

Red eyes???

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