Having finally figured out something with the trout, it will probably snow by the end of the week, but at least for right now, the trout bite has improved drastically and we can give the redfish a break. While I learned long ago to never cuss any good bite in the guide business, the redfish have literally worn us out this year so we may be the ones getting the break.

We started out several mornings last week with ice on the boat and the surface temperature hovering around the 44 degree mark, but the redfish were still doing their thing in less than three feet of water. Even on those days when the outgoing tide had the water in the bayous sucked down to the mud, they were still crushing tails and Swim Baits like they hadn’t eaten in a week!

Convinced that the specks have surrendered the shallows to the hordes of redfish and taken up residence in a little deeper water, I shucked my waders and returned to drift fishing last week. Albert Bates and Brad Deslatte were agreeable to helping me confirm that suspicion so we tied on plastic tails and headed to deeper water. That decision proved to be a good one and I have been on quality trout since making the move.

At least a portion of our new found success can be credited to Assassin’s newest plastic tail. We found the fish with the tail, it worked better than anything else we were fishing and we have been reluctant to experiment with other baits since that outing.

I am always amazed by how closely the readers of my fishing reports on my web site scrutinize any pictures that I may include. Landmarks in the background are quickly identified, but the more discerning fishermen check out everything from the chop on the water to used plastic tails scattered on the deck. I posted a picture of Albert with a trout the day we found those fish and I had 26 e-mails that night asking about the lure hanging out of the trout’s mouth.

The bait is called a Die Dapper and ironically enough, that was only my second opportunity to fish with them. By the end of that day we were all trying different colors, but no one was into experimenting with another lure. They are unlike anything else in Assassin’s extensive arsenal of plastics and they are the real deal.

The five-inch tail is bulkier with more detail molded into the body and the paddle tail vibrates as much as a number three Colorado blade does on a slow retrieve. The wider body also has a slit in the back to aid in solid hook sets. As you would expect, you can easily launch the heavier tail a long way and that is a distinct advantage when prospecting for trophy trout.

The kicker is that the plastic body was designed to sink very slowly with a side to side darting action much like the Corky. In the short time that I have fished with them, I have learned that they do that best when fished on an eighth of an ounce head. In fact, a large percentage of our strikes occur on the initial fall.

The bonus lies in the fact that they are equally deadly when fished on a slow steady retrieve like a Swim Bait. The vibration of the tail is so noticeable that I had two clients last week balk when handed a straight tail Assassin in the same color after fishing the Die Dapper. While the weight of the jig head provides the only resistance detected with straight tail plastics, you feel the throb of this lure with every turn of the reel handle.

It is a lure that is much easier to fish effectively right out of the package, but it is not a threat to replace the Corky or other proven suspending lures like the Catch V or Mirrodine XL. It is, however, more versatile in that you can easily fish it at any depth and it will still keep you in the hunt when those lures are excelling.

The Dapper has worked so well that I am a little concerned that I may have only discovered a better weapon rather than really figuring out where the trout were hiding. We have also caught a few trout fishing the smaller paddle tails like the Sea Shad or a Flats Minnow under the Kwik Cork, but swimming this bulkier version has been the ticket.

Several years ago, I gave away every curly tailed plastic I owned fully convinced that the same size bait with a paddle tail was significantly more effective and I haven’t looked back. I still believe that once the shrimp are the main entrée again the shorter paddle tails will be the more productive choice, but we will have to wait until that happens to know for sure.

Having said that, I am not yet ready to unload every straight tail five inch plastic lure in my box, but it is going to be hard to fish with them again after fishing this new tail. The advent of the Swim Bait has proven that vibration is a more critical factor even with trout and reds than we once thought and you get that in spades with the Dapper.

Being a brand new item, they are about as easy to find in tackle shops right now as the Corky was this time last year so I wouldn’t recommend wasting them on redfish. Glow-chartreuse, pumpkin-chartreuse, and morning glory have all worked well for us, but there are several other colors I have not even tried thus far.

Rig one on one sixteenth of an ounce head and try fishing a little deeper water this week if the weather permits. If that combination works for you give me a call or e-mail me so that we can compare notes. The move to deeper water may be temporary, but the Dapper is here to stay!