Lure of the Month: Live Roam’R
by Terry Madewell
A highly realistic minnow imitation that’s adaptable to fall and winter crappie fishing scenarios.
The reality for crappies is that minnows are a prime food source, the obvious reason many crappie lure profiles mimic minnows. Certainly, other forage contributes to their lifestyle, but minnows have a strong impact on foraging behavior.
Lures with built-in unique wiggles and waggles often prompt crappie to bite. But watch minnows in an aquarium or in a natural environment. You will often see minnows simply sitting perfectly still or maybe just making small, very subtle movements. When water temperatures start dropping in the fall, minnows may slow down even more, meaning stationary minnow imitations can entice bites when other lures fail. It is what many crappie anglers call “dead sticking.”
Meet the Bobby Garland Live Roam’R, a new lure sporting a highly realistic, symmetrical, and subtle, minnow appearance. This versatile soft plastic is ideal for portraying an inactive minnow and is the October, 2023, CrappieNow Lure of the Month.
Gary Dollahon, brand manager for Bobby Garland Lures, said “At rest it mimics a motionless, live minnow, making it ideal throughout the year. In cold water conditions a lure producing less action, but presenting a highly realistic profile, can produce more bites from crappie. Action can be imparted as needed year-round, but the ability to produce at rest sets this lure apart from many others.”
The LiveRoam’R is a 1.75-inch realistic minnow imitation, a new size and profile to the
Bobby Garland lineup. The bait’s symmetrical features, from head to tail, keeps swimming action lifelike.
Bobby Garland Prostaffer Dustin McDaniel, a crappie fishing guide on Grand Lake, near Grove, OK, said true to its name, the lure is highly effective for targeting “roaming” crappie in use with the increasingly popular live forward-facing-sonar technology.
“From fall through winter I’ll use Forward Facing Sonar to target large, individual crappie that are literally roaming and foraging in open water and catch them with the Live Roam’R.” Dustin McDaniel
“One advantage that the design allows is alternating how I can rig the bait,” he said. “The Live Roam’R’s symmetrical design allows rigging options including the normal setup of the hook coming out of the back of the bait, giving it a “live,” upright appearance. By turning the bait to the side and having the hook protrude from the side it gives a ‘dying’ baitfish appearance. In cold water, the flat, dying baitfish presentation can be lethal.
“The lure’s symmetry allows me to switch color patterns on multi-colored bodies by simply turning the lure over, providing me a quick-change color pattern option to present,” he said. “The lure accommodates a wide range of jighead styles and sizes, with 1/32-ounce a good starting point for jigheads.”
McDaniel said during the late fall, when water temperatures dip into the mid-to-low 50’s, many fish pull off structure and follow baitfish and crappie follow.
“From fall through winter I’ll use forward facing sonar to target large, individual crappie that are literally roaming and foraging in open water and catch them with the Live Roam’R,” he said.
McDaniel said when the fish are roaming the open water, they’re typically seeking forage and are often aggressive.
“The bite is often immediate because the lure is precisely what they’re seeking in terms of size, shape and profile,” he said. “In cold water applications if I see them follow but not take the lure, changing the presentation from ‘live’ to ‘dead’ minnow’ profile often triggers the bite. That tactic helped me tremendously at a major crappie tournament while testing the lure.”
McDaniel said the lure transcends roaming-fish applications by producing exceptional results in typical styles of crappie fishing.
“The streamlined, symmetrical, design makes the bait a versatile choice for a variety of action-based techniques, including cast and retrieve, vertical jigging, dock shooting, long-line trolling and spider rigging,” he said.
Baits with abundant action are often lethal, but crappie are considered finicky for good reason; sometimes they’re tough to catch. This lure has chameleon-like-adaptability when rigged either as ‘live-or-dying’ minnow, or by reversing color presentations on multi-colored bodies. The lure’s symmetry conveys the real-minnow-meal profile ensuring versatility. And when conditions dictate mimicking the profile of a live, sedentary, minnow, the Live Roam’R is a go-to option.
Terry Madewell of Ridgeway, S.C. has been an outdoor communicator for more than 45 years. He holds a degree in Wildlife and Fisheries Management and has a long career as a professional wildlife biologist/natural resources manager. He’s passionate about sharing outdoor adventures with others.