Bait design provides lunch-on-the-go for crappie on the move
Gary Dollahon is ecstatic when a design plan comes together, like it has with the introduction of Bobby Garland Crappie Baits.
The 70-year-old Dollahon, known for his cutting edge designs for other soft plastics, took a photo of a live minnow, copied it on a scanner and a copy machine, and sent it to Gerald Winters, PRADCO Outdoor Brands tooling manager. Approximately two years later, the Live Roam’R was complete and introduced in September 2023 at the Crappie Expo in Birmingham, Alabama.
It’s a new size and profile to the Bobby Garland Crappie Baits lineup.
Dollahon’s soft plastic creation, featuring a symmetrical design on a minnow imitation, worked to a “T” and, as a result, Live Roam’Rs are taking a toll on crappie (mostly known as sac-a-lait in south Louisiana) populations everywhere. The Tulsa, Oklahoma, artificial lure creator designed a bait so versatile it also answers the bell for anglers who target “roaming” crappie with live forward-facing sonar technology.
Hence the name, Live Roam’R.
It’s popular for other reasons, Dollahon points out, such as it does the job of getting fish to bite while vertical jigging, fishing under a cork, casting and retrieving or by trolling and spider rigging. It took more than six months of prototypes to get it right.
The “perfectly symmetrical” design is key for the 1.75-inch Live Roam’R, Dollahon said in late December from his home in Tulsa, Oklahoma. That was the plan from the start when he took the design to the design team at Pradco and put it in the hands of Winters.
“He’s really good at picking up and capturing the concept and putting it into the CAD (computer-aided design),” Dollahon said about Winters. “The thing I wanted most on it was so you could rig it perfectly symmetrical and I wanted the tail to be very natural with a very realistic proportion to the body type. It looks like a typical forked tail.”
It swims tight and natural with realistic, lifelike action with little or no movement of the fishing rod, according to Dollahon, who has been with Bobby Garland Crappie Baits since 2007.
Live Roam’Rs can be rigged multiple ways to achieve an angler’s intended look, including a “dying” baitfish when rigged flat and a “live” appearance when rigged upright.
At rest, it mimics a live but motionless minnow, which makes it ideal throughout the year. And in cold water temperatures, it has less action but offers a tantalizing and highly realistic profile to trigger bites.
Dollahon’s proud of another plus that sets the bait aside from others. On multi-colored lures, the symmetry allows anglers to simply turn one over on the hook for a quick-change to the appearance. For example, he said, on a Cajun Cricket Live Roam’R, an angler can turn the orange down and put the green chartreuse on top.
There are 14 colors, including three all-time Bobby Garland Crappie Baits greats — Monkey Milk, Cajun Cricket and Electric Chicken. The BGCB also has introduced to the crappie fishing world three colors exclusive to the brand, Dollahon said, naming Pecan Cream, Blue Shiner and Speckled Pearl.
The artificial lure designer said he prefers to fish Live Roam’Rs on lighter jigheads.
“One twenty-fourth or 1/32nd are my favorites. I have also fished them on and had good success with a 1/16th,” he said, noting lighter jig heads seem to enhance the soft plastic’s swimming action.
For more information on the Bobby Garland Crappie Baits Live Roam’R click here