Chug Head a hit with topwater anglers

Soak a dead shrimp or live crawfish on the bottom of Lake Pontchartrain, and you’ll be surprised what you pull up.

It isn’t surprising that an innovative artificial lure manufacturer who lives in a region where he can catch 15 different species of fish in his favorite cove has come up with the Chug Head.

D.O.A. Lures owner Mark Nichols of Stuart, Fla., who started the business in 1989, and David Blackwell tinkered and tinkered with a design for an artificial lure that allows an angler to use imagination and creativity when fishing with soft plastics. It’s a hollow, soft-plastic popping head — with three-dimensional eyes for extra attraction — that can be used with jerkbaits, shad tails, grubs or any of your other favorite soft plastics.

“You can make a popper out of your worm,” Nichols said.

The innovative piece actually isn’t an artificial lure in and of itself. It’s designed to fit over your favorite soft plastic, essentially making it a supple topwater plug that lands light enough so that it hits with barely a splash, even in the shallowest water. When paused on the retrieve, it slowly sinks — thus making it a suspending bait that fish can’t refuse.

That’s especially important when fish are merely slapping at topwaters, Nichols said.

Freshwater fish, such as bass, and saltwater fish, such as redfish and speckled trout, have been eating it up since it was introduced 1 1/2 years ago. The artificial lure manufacturer started experimenting with it around 2005.

“It seems to have caught on pretty well. Just as many freshwater guys call as saltwater … ‘Oh, that’s a freshwater lure.’ ‘Oh, that’s a saltwater lure.’ I kind of laugh about it,” Nichols said. “Honestly, they can catch both.”

One angler told him he likes the D.O.A. Chug Head because it’s designed to be used with a worm hook, and can be rigged to make a soft bait work across the surface or dive.

Larry Cupper, who owns Country Station in Broussard, a popular convenience store that serves as a fishing tackle hotspot for many people, introduced the Chug Head to Acadiana residents after he examined it at a trade show, got his hands on some and started catching on it at Toledo Bend.

Cupper, who lives near Zwolle at Toledo Bend after moving there 12 years ago from Youngsville, said the Chug Head is at its best in shallow, grassy areas where other artificial lures aren’t as effective. Chug Heads with soft plastics can be rigged weedless.

“There’s all kinds of ways to use it,” he said. “You can put it on the nose of Flukes. It’s got a small spit, you know, and some people are even using it on big, straight-tail worms — about a 10-inch worm rig that you can work through the weeds. It adds a little extra to something when you don’t want it to sink.”

Rig the Chug Head with the new D.O.A. Long Neck worm hook to form the weedless popper for fishing heavy cover, he recommended.

“It can pop real good the way the angle’s set up front of the popping head. If you’re cranking at any speed, it stays on top of the surface,” Nichols said, adding that when he’s freshwater fishing, he’ll pop it two or three times on the surface, then pause during the retrieve and let it fall.

“The whole body has a real good wiggle to it … tight,” he said.

Nichols said it is at its best for saltwater fishing when attached to a D.O.A. C.A.L. Jerkbait. Also, a Sea Striker Trout Killer has been named by many anglers as very effective on a Chug Head.

Louisiana’s coastal duck ponds that hold so much grass and so many redfish are ideal targets for the weedless Chug Head, he said.

When bass fishing with it, he said, it works great thrown on top of lily pads and pulled off lightly into the water.

Chug Heads are available in red glitter, white, black, glow and red.

“Red/white’s always been a good color. We’ve got black heads you can put on one of your baits. I like to be able to put an eyeball on the bait, too,” he said.

The versatile Chug Head has one other feature that is touted by Nichols.

“You can even use it as a swimming/diving bait by just putting the head upside down,” he said, noting an angler can add one of D.O.A.’s “pinch weights” that can be crimped on the base of a hook.

For more information on the D.O.A. Chug Head and other products from D.O.A. Lures, call (877) DOA-LURE.

About Don Shoopman 553 Articles
Don Shoopman fishes for freshwater and saltwater species mostly in and around the Atchafalaya Basin and Vermilion Bay. He moved to the Sportsman’s Paradise in 1976, and he and his wife June live in New Iberia. They have two grown sons.