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THE HUNT FOR BIG FISH WITH LARRY DAHLBERG

Whether your taste in trophy fish runs to sweetwater or the salt, this veteran angler and personality has designed a series of big fish lures.
By Lou Martinez
Tags: freshwater

Ask any angler how they define success, and you’re sure to receive a variety of responses. Some will tell you that it’s a numbers game; they are only happy if they return to shore with a full limit. Tournament anglers measure success in total pounds and ounces. Others will say triumph is achieved simply by enjoying a good day on the water catching a few legal sized fish and taking in the breathtaking sights that we all enjoy.

Legendary angler Larry Dahlberg travels the globe fishing for peacock bass in the Amazon, tarpon off the Florida Keys, stripers off the Jersey coast, wolf fish in the wilds of Suriname, or giant largemouth in California reservoirs or the famous lakes of Texas. Hardcore to the bone, this man is dedicated to reaching his goals. When he offers ideas, techniques, tactics and types of baits to ensure success, we would be wise to listen.

THE TINKERER
“I’ve been developing lures for more than 40 years and learned early on that in hard-fished local waters, throwing something other than old standards, or what everyone says is hot produces better results; especially when it comes to big fish,” said Dahlberg, who has been a bass guide for more than 20 years, and a muskie fanatic since age nine. He has fished in more places and for more species than he can remember and discovered a certain number of lure qualities that seem to universally stimulate predators.

Dahlberg has been making lures since the 1970s and through trial and error, he learned that the most effective way to trigger predatory responses was to make lures that do not “swim at a constant, predictable, seemingly oblivious mechanical wobble,” but rather lures that move as though they were reacting to a predator as if trying to evade capture.

Over the years Dahlberg has experimented with different types of woods plastics, resins hair, lead and combinations to create his specialty baits. He has invested hundreds of hours over dozens of years to perfect these secret weapons. He has consistently kept these baits under the radar, but lately he has come to the following realization that, as he puts it, “There are more fish than I have time to catch.”

Dahlberg has been making lures since the 1970s and through trial and error, he learned that the most effective way to trigger predatory responses was to make lures that do not “swim at a constant, predictable, seemingly oblivious mechanical wobble.

FINE FROGS
Bass fishermen know that frogs are the real “candy bait” for big fish. Many companies produce well-made frogs, and for the most part these are topwater pieces of soft plastic meant to skim the surface to attract bites.

According to Dahlberg, “They may look like a frog … but they don’t ‘do’ frog. The action of these baits is truly phenomenal. When you pull the Dahlberg Diver Frog; it dives, creating a soft bubble trail with its legs kicking just like a real frog. Pause it and the legs retract, while the frog rises slowly. Repeat this action, but instead of allowing it to return to the surface, continue to stroke and stop it. It swims just like a real frog. Continuous short strokes and pauses will get it down to between two to three feet Dahlberg advises that in shallow water, you should allow the Diver Frog to reach bottom and kick up some dust, then pause it so it slowly ascends. This is just the ticket to coax a lunker into smashing this bait with reckless abandon!

The Diver Frog weighs in at an ounce. Its solid body is made of a coated high density urethane able to withstand countless vicious strikes, never deflating like other frogs do. It’s overhead diving collar and it’s 2X black nickel 6/0 wide gap upturned hook allows it to bust through lily pads, weeds, reeds and will stop even the biggest fish in its tracks. They are available in four frog-like colors.


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