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Ok so I was at academy today had to pick up another rebel crawldad. I lost two already In a week sadly to day got hung in a tree kinda up high both times. Those lures are expensive I paid 5 bucks a piece for them. And well I picked up a Zaraspook and was wondering I it works really well in the James river? I have seen videos of people having luck with them. Do they work well this time of year at all?

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A spook should work on the James, but I would much prefer the Zarra puppy. My Walmart has some on sale in the discount rack for $1.50. There is a learning curve in learning to walk the dog. I never move the lure with my reel, only with the rod. It should resemble a snake swimming across the surface when you have it right. Don't be trigger happy, let the fish take the lure. If you get a missed strike, just keep running the lure, sometimes they'll hit it several times before taking it, and this time of year smallmouth will run together. As much as you seem to enjoy fishing, one good blow up and you'll be on the dark side forever. good luck PM your address and I'll send you a few that are gathering dust in my basement

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Ditto on the Zara Puppy at walmart. Black, clear, and bone white are favorite colors, and a blue/chrome, baby bass, or bullfrog occasionally show up in the bin. At $1.50 a whack, get yourself a handful. I think the smaller size is a wee bit harder to walk, but once you figure it out, it's just a matter of practice. IMO the smaller size is more practical on a river.

And as riverrat points out, don't be too quick to set the hook. If a fish takes it under, just reel down the slack and wait to feel the fish pull. Use a side-sweep hookset with only moderate pressure. If you pull straight back, you will get a high-speed set of treble hooks flying at your face.

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If I had to choose between the two I'd go with the Spook over the puppy. Much easier to walk over the puppy, casts further and easier than the puppy and the size of the spook isn't going to scare any thing away.

I bought one of Academy's H2O WTD lures and was really impressed with it. Walked better than a spook and costs a lot less too.

“Censorship reflects society’s lack of confidence in itself. It is a hallmark of an authoritarian regime.”

–Potter Stewart

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Full size Spook is a little big, Puppy is a little small. I prefer the size of the Super Spook Junior, but much prefer the Strike King Sexy Dawg Jr. It's easy to walk and has a nicer sounding rattle.

Mofloatjunkie, I always chuckle when I hear guys say they prefer soft plastics because hard baits are too expensive. Even if you buy the high end Japanese topwaters at $15-20 a pop, you'll get several years' use out of one lure. How many bags of your favorite soft plastics do you go through in a DAY when the fish are really biting them? I'm a walk the dog lure junkie, but I've been using mostly the same five or six individual lures the last two summers, and haven't bought a walk the dog topwater in at least a year and a half.

I guarantee you that if you throw WTD topwaters on the James or any other Ozark stream, you'll catch fish, and probably as big or bigger fish than you're used to catching on soft plastics or anything else. Only problem is, as kelroy and riverrat mentioned, you can get frustrating seeing big fish blow up on them without getting or staying hooked.

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I'm with AL on this one. I can't get enough of wtd lures. I have one on at all times. DO NOT limit it's use to just mornings and evenings though,They will hit those no matter what time of the day or how hot it gets. I fished the Courtois last week when the temp was in the upper 90's and just slayed em with a spook. My brother likes to throw the big spook and he does good on it. It amazes me sometimes how small of a fish you can catch on such a monster lure. I still prefer the super spook jr though. I don't like the puppies at all. I like KVD sex dawgs too they Got a really nice rattle. My only one over 20" came on a sexy dawg.

Also, in my opinion the bigger that wtd Lure the easier it is to walk

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