Written by Andrew Schadegg
When tasked with the assignment to review a lure, it’s sometimes difficult to maintain total objectivity. We all have our biases and any serious angler has a whole list of favorites, from crankbaits to spinnerbaits, topwater to worms. They also have a list of reasons why they like one brand over another.
I’ll be honest. I’m a Zara Spook guy. I have been for a number of years. I’ve played with different types of walking baits, but the Spook has always been my #1. I don’t even switch up my colors very often. Okie Shad is pretty much always tied on.
However, I’ve been lucky enough to spend some time fishing with a lot of DUO Realis products over the last couple of years and it’s no secret that I am a big fan of their baits. I’m completely sold on their spinbaits, crankbaits and you can’t get more precision jerkbaits anywhere on the market. So I wasn’t surprised that the DUO Realis Pencil 110 had some features that might make me put down the other brand’s walking bait, particularly in certain situations.
Having spent a handful of hours on the phone with DUO’s Research and Devlopment Specialist, David Swendseid, it is not hard to understand why DUO’s products are different. There is a painstaking amount of time that goes into every lure before they release it to the public. The small nuances in design are what separate them in an industry that has a lot of cookie-cutters. This special attention to detail is what makes the Pencil 110 a must-have in your tackle box.
The Pencil 110 SOUNDS Different
Sound is a key factor in any good topwater bait. You need to draw a fish, many times from a long distance, in order to get them to strike. The Pencil 110 has a unique oval shape with multiple flat sides, along with thin walls, giving it more internal volume. It has a “two-knock” rattle system, where there is a moving weight that is chambered with a secured, hard, spherical weight. This creates a high pitch clicking sound, which is unlike any other walking bait that I’ve come across.
One particular example made the differences very clear. I recently took the bait out on a western smallmouth lake that had about 15 feet of visibility. Initially, I was throwing the Spook and wasn’t having any success. After the sun came up a little higher, I started to see that bass were rising up on the bait, but were not totally committing.
I decided to experiment. I switched up to the Pencil 110 and it was like someone rang the dinner bell! Those fish that were turning away were crushing the bait from as far away as 30 feet. I believe the frequency of the knock was the difference. Are there times when this would have worked in the opposite? Of course. Having the right tool, at the right time, made all the difference.
The Pencil 110 CASTS Different
The internal ballast system of the Pencil 110 also creates a really easy casting lure. You can get an extra 10-15 yards of distance, which is a distinct advantage, especially in clear water where you need to get the bait out away from you more, in order not to spook the fish.
This is created by the same fixed weight system that gives it the unique sound, creating momentum that launches it across the water upon release.
The Pencil 110 WALKS Different
In my opinion, the movement of a bait in the water is the most important factor in choosing which topwater is best for a given situation. Does it walk well? Is it difficult to get the bait moving in a solid rhythm immediately after it hits the water? Can I walk it slow? Fast? How does it look when it sits still in the water?
All of these questions are important and different retrieves will be effective in different situations. The Pencil 110 allows you to “walk-the-dog” pretty much effortlessly. This makes the process a lot easier. A combination of the right mouth design, coupled with balance and shape, make the retrieval really easy. I like to work it very quickly and the Pencil 110 looked great, even when the action was erratic.
Is the Pencil 110 the ONLY walking bait that you will ever need? No. If you’re a good angler, you’ll almost never stick to only one design of any lure. Different situations call for different presentations. Is the Pencil 110 an absolutely essential tool to have in your tackle box? Absolutely. If you haven’t picked one up, I highly recommend it.