Two weeks after I started this website, I received an email. It was from a guy I had never heard of, never met, with a company I knew nothing about. He did, however, say that he represented Rapala baits. He wanted to know if I would be willing to feature some articles and events, and possibly test out some baits. I of course agreed, still thinking in my mind that this was a scam. There’s no way I could be fortunate enough to start a website, and get an offer to write and review baits for the most well known company in hard baits.
Well, I was.
Around the middle of March, I received a box in the mail. Not uncommon, I order things and forget all the time. What caught my attention was the address, Minnesota. The same area where my contact at Rapala worked. In a matter of 4 days, I had went from thinking everything was still a scam, to having a box of 10 baits to work and fish with. So, I set out to review.
There was an unboxing video posted on our Facebook page, taken live. The problem is, Missouri weather has been terrible. Only a couple of days have seen the 70s, and all of our water is still icy cold. Nonetheless, baits need to be thrown, and fish caught.
First up, the jerkbaits. Rapala makes a few in their Shadow Rap series, and they sent me both the Shadow Rap and the Shadow Rap deep. Due to the cold water temperatures, they have been the only baits that are producing fish. The rip-stop motion, with the long floating pause have been huge strike producers, even though the fish have been small.
Let’s start with the Shadow Rap. It’s about 4 1/2″ long, and the Albino Shiner color is awesome. Bright on an overcast day, the rattles inside trigger violent strikes, even from smaller fish. As shown in the picture above, this fish is just under twice the length of the bait, and it hit like a 14lb bowling ball.
Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty. The actual review, and results of this stellar bait.
This bait swims flawlessly. Every cast, every rip, the bait swims in a very erratic pattern, and the slow sinking motion holds the bait suspended very nicely. The bait is very smooth as well, making every motion in a very deliberate manner without looking unnatural.
The strikes. The lifelike colors on the body, and the rattles inside create a sound that is irresistible to bass, even when the water is cold. Every fish felt like it had come straight out of a refrigerator, but hit the bait like it had never eaten before.
Inevitably, all baits have something lacking. In a company like Rapala, there are engineers and pro staff far more knowledgeable and skilled that I. No matter what, there will always be some issues. I wish this bait dove more. When it says “Slow Sinking”, it truly means it. When left to sit on the water, it moves about an inch a minute. This is awesome for triggering strikes, but not so great when the fish are cold and deep.
Rapala fixed this problem by creating the Shadow Rap Deep. (Notice the flawless transition there? I did.)
Where the Shadow Rap Succeeds, the Deep also succeeds. Mostly.
Unlike the shallow version of this bait, it has a very high sink rate. Being the same length, this is awesome for creating versatility in a tackle box without sacrificing the specifics that you need. All too often baits get bigger as they get deeper, and that’s not always what you need.
Again, the strikes on this bait are second to none. Hit hard, hit fast, and never missing a hook-up. The triple treble hooks mean that no matter where the fish strikes, there’s suer to be something razor sharp waiting to grab on and hold tight.
Not mentioned above, but present in both models of Shadow Rap are the three treble hooks. While marvelous for hook ups, they can be a nightmare for anglers and fish alike. Call me picky, but I prefer to miss one fish a day than get stabbed by a hook, or have a rear hook flip around and accidentally find the eye or dorsal of the fish. In the past I have fished the Shadow Rap Shad, and the two hooks present are more than enough to hold any strike to the body, head and tail of the bait.
This bait will never leave my box. Great on rivers, great on lakes, and absolutely killer on the ponds I tested these baits. Between the shallow running Shadow Rap, and the further sinking Deep, this bait covers the entire water column and then some, triggering strikes all across the country. If you find yourself fishing early spring or any time post summer, do yourself a favor and put a couple of these into your box.