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BEST RAPALA BAITS FOR BEGINNER ANGLERS

Summer Dock


In part to this being our Canadian National Fishing Week, we bring to you some great lures for the beginner angler. All anglers are smart to carry a mix of lures in their tackle box. More baits mean more options for fishing a range of depths, matching different forage and experimenting with varying presentations (e.g., topwater versus crankbait). We recommend the following 8 lures for beginners because they are easy to use, catch all kinds of fish and will remain tackle-box mainstays well beyond the freshman fishing years.


Original Floater

Original Floater


One of the best baits ever made, the Original Floater has a subtle swim and our legendary Rapala “wounded minnow” wobble. The Original comes in seven models with running depths spanning 2 to 11 feet. The F03 to F07 are perfect for panfish and trout, while the F09 to F18 will catch bass, walleye, lake trout and northern pike, to name just a few.


How to fish it:

Retrieve the Original Floater just beneath the surface with a swim-stop or twitch-pause cadence during calm conditions in shallow water or anytime fish are surface feeding.


To work deeper, reel it down to its running depth and use either a fast, sweep-pause retrieve for a flashy, erratic action or a slow retrieve for a subtle, finesse approach.


For trolling, first experiment with speed while watching the lure at boat side until it has a nice shimmying wiggle, then cast it behind the boat and troll it along shorelines, weed beds, flats, points and reefs to cover water and locate fish in shallow to mid-depth areas.


Pro Tip: Tie an Original Floater or Jointed (below) with a Rapala loop knot to 8-pound Sufix Advance Monofilament. For toothy pike, use a steel leader tied with a snap to prevent bite offs and tie the swivel end to 40- to 50-pound Sufix 832 Advanced Superline.


Jointed

Jointed Rapala


This balsa bait’s broken-back design produces an exaggerated, distressed baitfish action. The Jointed Rapala is a great choice for negative mood fish and in cold front conditions.


Look to the 2” J05 to put bragging-sized yellow perch, crappie and trout in the net, while the J11 and J13 are deadly for northern pike and lake trout. The J07 and J09 get the nod for walleye and bass.


How to fish it:

When fish are shallow, a slow to medium swim-pause retrieve with a Jointed catches everything from panfish to giant northern pike.


During a bug hatch, pinch a split shot on the line 8” ahead of a J05 or J07 in Gold or Brown Trout and let it sink several feet, then swim it a few inches before pausing to mimic a mayfly or another buggy snack.


Trolling a Jointed on 4’ to 8’ of 8-pound Sufix monofilament behind a bottom bouncer catches walleye and big panfish on flats, points, humps and drop-offs. This also works with an Original Floater.


X-Rap

X-Rap


With a lifelike minnow profile and an erratic “slashbait” action, X-Raps are the perfect tool for making long casts to cover water and triggering strikes from fish in shallow water or ones suspended high over deep water. These durable lures have 3D holographic eyes, a textured translucent body and internal holographic foil for plenty of baitfish flash and realism, while the dressed teaser tail produces a subtle action to seal the deal. Available in 1-1/2” to 4-3/4” sizes.


How to fish it:

When fish are aggressive or to trigger neutral ones to bite, try a hard snapping jerk-jerk-pause retrieve with the rod pointed down to give the X-Rap an erratic, narrow-tracking action.


Alternatively, keep the rod tip up and use a sweep-sweep-pause retrieve for a wider -tracking action.


Pro Tip: Line options vary based on target species, but for bass and walleye use 10- to 20-pound Sufix 832 braid tied with a blood knot to a 24”, 15-pound Sufix fluorocarbon leader tied to the X-Rap with a palomar knot.


Scatter Rap Crank

Scatter Rap Crank


The unique Scatter Lip makes fishing the Scatter Rap Crank straightforward. No rod twitches or sweeps are needed as the Scatter Lip sends this bait scurrying to the side, like a fleeing baitfish, on a straight retrieve. This unpredictable, escaping action rings the dinner bell for predators looking to pounce on an easy target and at 2”, it’s the perfect size for bass, walleye, pike, trout and big panfish. Diving between 6 to 8 feet on 10- to 14-pound Sufix monofilament, the Scatter Rap Crank is ideal for fishing beside docks, over points, around weeds, along rocky reefs and other shallow to mid-depth fish habitat.


How to fish it:

Reel quickly to maximize the Scatter Rap Crank’s evasive action, cover water and trigger reaction strikes.


Use a moderate to slow pace and the crankbait has a more serpentine side-to-side sashay that’s equally good at making fish bite.


Shad Rap

Shad Rap


The gold standard of balsa crankbaits, the Shad Rap mimics baitfish and has a tight wiggling action that catches several fish species from spring to fall. The 1-1/2” SR04 and 2” SR05 are perfect for trout and panfish, while the 2-1/2” SR06 to 3-1/2” SR09 are reliable picks for bass, walleye and other large predators.


How to fish it:

Steadily reeling a Shad Rap with the odd rod twitch or pause is a basic recipe for getting bites.


Generally, faster is better for active fish, in warm water or for triggering a reaction strike, while a slower retrieve is more effective for neutral fish, in cool water and from twilight into night.


Troll a Shad Rap on a short line around vegetation or in shallow water, but let out more line to make the lure dive further down when fishing deeper flats and structures.


Make “S” turns with the boat to change a Shad Rap’s swimming action and trigger strikes.


Pro Tip: Shad Raps perform equally well on 6- to 10-pound monofilament or fluorocarbon, or 10- to 20-pound Sufix 832 braid tipped with a 10-pound fluorocarbon leader. Improved clinch or palomar knots are recommended.


Skitter Pop

Skitter Pop


No beginner’s tackle box is complete without topwater baits and our Skitter Pop won’t disappoint. With a cupped lip, this balsa floater produces a loud popping, spitting action that catches surface feeding fish. Available in 2”, 2-3/4” and 3-1/2” sizes, all of which pair perfectly with 8- to 12-pound monofilament, which floats.


How to fish it:

In stable weather conditions or when fish are chasing baitfish, use a fast “skitter” technique by moving the popper 5- to 10 feet while pumping the rod tip, then briefly pause before skittering it again.


After cold front, on heavily-fished waterbodies or for hesitant fish, fish a Skitter Pop much slower, letting it settle for several seconds after splashdown, then twitching the rod to impart one splashy bloop and then let it sit again. Repeat and go slow to finesse bites.


Tip: Rod position affects the Skitter Pop’s action. Keep the rod tip up for the first half of fast, skittering retrieves, then lower it for the last half to prevent pulling the bait out of the water. When fishing slower, the higher the rod the louder, more distinct the spitting action, while a tip-down twitch produces subtle splashes.


BX Brat

BX Brat


Bass, walleye and big panfish eat our 2” BX Brat squarebill crankbait like it’s candy. The BX Brat has a modified-squarebill lip that helps it deflect off of rocks and cover, reducing hang-ups while giving it an erratic action fish can’t resist. Don’t worry about crashing it into obstacles because its balsa core is shielded in an ultra-tough copolymer shell. The BX Brat is predominantly a shallow-water tool, with the BXB03 diving to 3 feet and the BXB06 to 6 feet.


How to fish it:

A steady swimming retrieve mixed with pauses will catch fish, but what really makes predators pounce is when the BX Brat hits and then ricochets off of dock pilings, stumps, rocks, riprap and sand bottoms.


Alternatively, slowly reeling with the rod tip held high to leave a wake is a good tactic for surface feeding fish.


Tip: Tie the BX Brat with a palomar knot to 14-pound Sufix Advance Monofilament or Sufix Castable Invisiline 100% Fluorocarbon.


Rattlin' Rapala

Rattlin' Rap


Last, but certainly not the least, this underestimated lipless crankbait has stood the test of time and unlike the lures above, the Rattlin’ Rapala sinks. Being a long-casting lure, it’s an excellent choice for fishing sand flats, weed beds and other large areas. Available in four sizes, spanning 1-1/2” to 3-1/8”, each model delivers a harmonic, rattling vibration and our legendary Rapala wobble that’s irresistible to bass, pike, walleye, trout and panfish.


How to fish it:

Steadily swimming a Rattlin’ Rapala will catch fish anywhere from right below the surface to the bottom.


The versatile Rattlin’ Rapala can also be fished like a jig. Let it sink to bottom, then lift the rod from 10 to 11 o’clock to hop it, before letting it pendulum back down while keeping the rod tip high. Reel in slack line while returning the rod to 10 o’clock and repeat the sequence.


Pro Tip: Tie this bait with a palomar knot to 8- to 12-pound monofilament or fluorocarbon, or to a 10-pound fluorocarbon leader tied to 10- to 20-pound Sufix 832 braid.


Tips for choosing colours

Colour Chart


Our lures come in a rainbow of colours, from ultra-realistic, High-Definition “Live” finishes to bright, loud finishes that are more about getting noticed than blending in. No matter where you fish, having various colour patterns can help you catch more fish. Here are some guidelines to consider.


Natural baitfish colours, like Smash and Live River Shad, as well as crayfish patterns work well in clear water and on sunny days.


Brighter colours, like Firetiger or Hot Mustard, are good in low light or turbid water, but even in clear water loud colours can evoke a reaction from fish.


Finishes with red, chartreuse and white are reliable in muddy water.


Try flashy silver finishes on sunny days, gold finishes when overcast.


UV colours and baits with chartreuse are good in low light and at night.


Final thoughts

Something to remember on the water is if you’ve been fishing a lure for a while but the fish aren’t biting, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re not fishing the bait properly. What’s more likely to be the case is the fish aren’t interested in that specific presentation at the moment. Embrace change, switch to another bait and keep trying until you catch ‘em. Carry the above 8 baits and you’ll have plenty of options for making them bite.


Join the tradition by getting new anglers out this week/weekend. It is Canada's National Fishing Week June 29 - July 7! What that means is that anybody can fish without a license. It is the perfect time to get 'newbies' out on the water. Click here for more details on events and other info regarding this traditional week: Canada's National Fishing Week