Every year around April I make my trolling lures Dallas Darts. Quite a few people like to use them so it seems I never make enough for me and everyone else. A lot of people make their own and there are similar lures for sale that work about as good. The Dart is just a bullet head lure with an Octopus skirt and a vinyl insert in order to stiff rig the hook. Back when Billy of Billy Baits fame was making his lures in Marathon he was experimenting with a stiff rig for his lures. I kind of beat him to the punch with the vinyl insert in the lure head instead using an after the fact modification. The only thing particularly original about the Darts is that vinyl insert.
In the bottom of the photo above you can see how the hook, a Mustad 3407 7/0 eye fits snugly into the back of the lure head. In the next samples you can see how the skirt hides the hook. Fish don't know squat about hooks, so the skirt is hiding the hook from weeds making the lure weed resistant. They are not weed proof by any stretch, but the stiff rig does reduce weed ups and helps the lure shake weeds.
On the finished lures at the top you can see the brass lock Ferrell. There is a Ferrell under the skirt to keep the skirt in place and an expanded Ferrell over the front of the skirt to hold the skirt in place for high speed trolling/chasing. With a tight fit the lure can troll over 18 knots which is more for being able to get ahead of a school than actual fishing. Most of the time you can get a boat on a plane with the lures out and not even have the pressure on the lures trip the outrigger release clips. Fishing can get kinda competitive on the weekends down here and this little feature provides a slight advantage over the dead bait and big lure fishermen. Most of the guys that make their own don't include the front locking Ferrell.
Some folks call the Darts "Plumber's Lures" because the heads are made out of brass and copper fittings. Since salt water is an electrolyte, the combination of copper, brass, chrome and tin on the hook means the lures will corrode. While they are corroding, they are producing a weak electrical voltage/current which some species of fish sense. I have pulled Darts so corroded that there was no shine to the head at all and they still caught fish. If you want to keep them shiny, a little fine grit sand paper (200 to 400 grit) will polish them back to close to brand new.
This year I am only making Blue and Silver Darts for general trolling and Black and Purple Darts for Tuna. The blue and silver will catch tuna also but the dark colors are a little easier for the tuna to see. I was going to make red and black but the quality of the red and black skirts sucks. If someone wants another color combination I will try to find decent skirts.
Not everyone likes the stiff rig which does make the lures spin if not properly aligned meaning ball bearing swivels are recommended. So I sell the lures unrigged for the local captains and rigged for everyone else. Unrigged are $5.00 and rigged $6.00 each with some quantity discounts negotiable.
If you are looking for real Dallas Darts, give me call or leave a comment. I will also try to keep some in stock at Pancho's Fuel Dock and The Tackle Box. They both add a little to the price, but not enough to scare most folks away.
Marathon in the Florida Keys should be your next fishing vacation destination. Join us for charter fishing, fishing guide trips or our fishing 101 so you can fish on your own with better success.