Crankbait design is notorious for being generic and mass-produced, with little attention to detail or innovation. In fact, it’s widely known in the industry that many manufacturers actually use the exact same crankbait templates, from the same overseas factories, and then market them under their label as being somehow better or different than their competitors. Slap a few new paint jobs on them and you basically have the same pig, wearing different lipstick!
This is not the case with the crankbaits from DUO.
Over the last few years, DUO has garnered a reputation for innovative lure design and intensive, time-consuming research and development, in order to get products to the exact specifications they are looking for. This process has produced some very unique baits including the Spinbait 80 (which introduced the Spybaiting technique to the US market), the Realis Vibration (which is by far the thinnest rattle bait available anywhere) and particularly important for this article is a full lineup of crankbaits that have been meticulously designed and engineered for maximum effectiveness.
SPECIFICATIONS for the M65 11A Crankbait:
Length - 65mm (2 ½ inches)
Weight – 16g (5/8 oz)
Type – Floating (Fixed Weight)
Hook - #4X
Range – 2.5 – 3.5m (10 – 12 ft)
WHAT'S DIFFERENT ABOUT THE M65?
Dives Quickly, Returns Easily - A couple of key features stand out right away when you take the M65 11A crankbait out of the package. Designed with a coffin-shaped bill, the lure was engineered to have a low co-efficiency to allow for less line tension when coming back through the water. Immediately with the first cast, the tight vibration of the lure was apparent, as well as how quickly it gets down to the desired depth. This is a really important feature, as it allows the bait to get to the bottom and stay in the strike zone longer.
The Right Kind of Deflection - When banging into bottom cover, like rocks and stumps, the M65 avoids a common problem that plagues many crankbaits. It stays running true without getting out of kilter after deflection. Some baits, after hitting structure, will take 2 or 3 crank turns to get back into a true running position. This is sometimes mistaken as the erratic action you’re looking for in a crankbait, however that is a bit misguided. You still want the bait to recover properly, having that initial deflection but returning to its balanced position. The M65 does just that.
A New Kind of Sound – With over 5 years of research and development, a lot of attention was focused on making sure the M65 had a unique sound. As stated on their website, most crankbaits utilize beads or bee-bees in their baits to create the rattle, but the DUO crankbait was created with something called a sound baffle. The metallic baffles are vertical inside the bait, allowing a bearing to contact the baffle and create a unique, dual-pitched sound.
HOW DID THE M65 PERFORM?
On the water, I utilized the deeper running M65 11A as I was targeting a dock area with large schools of bass that were situated in 8-12 feet of water. The smaller 8A version is designed in much the same way as the 11A, but is more effective in the 3-8 foot water column and though it doesn’t look like a traditional squarebill, it can be fished in much the same way.
As stated above, the 11A dove quickly to the desired depth and maintained it, tracking the bottom very well. It casted excellent for a smaller sized crankbait and the retrieve felt effortless, displacing water but without the drag that a lot of similar cranks have.
After covering ground for about 15 minutes, I located a solid school of bass and caught them on the M65 for about an hour. Judging by the strikes and the position of the bait in their mouth after getting them in the boat, the M65 was the perfect choice for the conditions. The M Shad color matched the hatch well, as the bass were feeding on balls of small silverside minnows.
Overall, I was very impressed with the performance of this mid-depth crankbait. All of the specs I had researched prior to fishing it, accurately described how the bait actually moved through the water. It was tuned perfectly out of the box, came through the water well and seemed to be the exact right tool for the conditions. Most importantly, it caught fish!
I highly recommend picking up some of the DUO Realis M-Line Series of crankbaits and putting them to work the next time you get on the water.