A proven Rapala crankbait moved to the forefront of bass fishing on the biggest stage when it helped produce the 2014 Bassmaster Classic champion three months ago in Alabama.
Ott DeFoe, who finished a strong fourth in this year’s Bassmaster Classic, won’t be surprised if either the Rapala Scatter Rap Shallow or the Rapala Scatter Rap Deep, two new models to go along with the original line of four introduced at the 2013 Bassmaster Classic, does it again in 2015.
But the Scatter Rap Shallow and Scatter Rap Deep should make noise before the next Bassmaster Classic, DeFoe said from his home a few days after his showing on Lake Guntersville.
“I see events where one or both those baits will be a key this year, no doubt. I’ve caught a few on them,” DeFoe said.
Both balsa wood crankbait models measure 2 inches long and weigh 5/16-ounce. They move silently through the water, float when paused and, most importantly, feature the signature, innovative, patent-pending, curved Scatter Lip that produces an evasive action.
They have teeth, too, as in a pair of No. 5 Black Nickel Round-Bend VMC hooks.
“I’ve fished them both, and they are incredible. I like the originals, but these two new ones are very exciting. The actions are just out of this world. It’ll be great to get that action throughout the entire water column,” said DeFoe, the 28-year-old former trucking company worker who burst on the pro bass fishing scene as the 2011 Bassmaster Rookie of the Year.
DeFoe had both new models in his boat for the recent Bassmaster Classic. However, conditions weren’t right to use them, he said, noting he was hopeful water temperatures would be between 52 and 55 degrees, with bass holding on shallow flats in 4-foot depths and less.
“It was close to (using) one or the other of those (baits) — so close to being really right for either. This certainly will be their year, though,” he said, noting he had one tied on a fishing rod and on the deck of his boat each practice day, just in case.
The Rapala name stood proud during and after the event, nevertheless, said Minneapolis’ Mark Fisher, Rapala’s director of field promotions the past 14 years.
The 60-year-old angler fished regionally around Minnesota and Canada for 15 years before joining his sponsor, Rapala.
Fisher pointed out Bassmaster Classic winner Randy Howell relied heavily on the Rapala DT-6 crankbait to win this year’s Classic at Lake Guntersville. Rapala introduced that crankbait nine years ago, Fisher said, calling it a “workhorse” ever since.
“DT set the tone for what we can do with Scatter,” he said, noting that line was introduced as the artificial lure manufacturer moved to return to its heritage, which started with quality balsa wood products.
That’s what it’s all about, said the man who helped design the Scatter Rap Shallow and Scatter Rap Deep crankbaits with his counterparts in Finland. Rapala has set the standard over the years as an artificial lure manufacturer.
“The unique part of it, at a company the size of Rapala, you have an opportunity different than other manufacturers, where you’re playing on a world market,” Fisher said. “We’ve got a big responsibility to come up with lures that cross over to different markets.”
With only so many projects a year, artificial lures must be designed that are both meaningful and keep the respect of the consumer, he said.
The Scatter Rap line fits the bill, he said, because it can be effective on species all over the world, such as largemouth and smallmouth bass in the U.S. of A., the jumbo perch in Finland and the barramundi in Australia.
The first four crankbaits in the line splashed on the market last year at the Bassmaster Classic. This year’s world championship of bass fishing was the launching pad for the next two crankbaits in the line — Rapala Scatter Rap Shallow and Rapala Scatter Rap Deep, which Classic qualifiers DeFoe, Mike Iaconelli and Brandon Palaniuk had with them on Lake Guntersville.
Those three pros were the only anglers in the field with the new crankbaits in their arsenal.
DeFoe likes the new lures for several reasons, including the fact that he can retrieve them at a faster pace than the first Scatter Raps.
“You still get the Scatter action, and it’s definitely more user friendly,” he said. “You can reel them faster. That’s really nice on that shallow one. The deep one really surprised me how deep it can get. It can get 10 to 12 feet deep, easily.”
The lures’ distinct offcenter and backtracking is appealing to bass, as it erratically sweeps wide left and wide right, then back to center again, a definite trigger to a strike, he said.
“It’s the way the bill’s shaped,” Defoe said. “It kind of catches water on one side and makes the bait go one way. It kind of swims in a zigzag pattern.”
Iaconelli, a well-known pro angler who won the 2003 Bassmaster Classic, called the crankbait’s movement evasive action, adding Scatter Raps “perfectly mimic a spooked baitfish fleeing attack, moving from one side to the next, triggering reactive bites.”
Fisher called what the designers were able to put into the finished product “phenomenal.”
“We have a heckuva group of engineers at our factory in Finland — like Swiss clock makers,” he said. “Our engineers went painstakingly through trial and error, playing with the angles (of the curved clear plastic bill). What’s interesting over the years is the focus has been on getting the baits to have the right action, wobble and depth. We were able to achieve that range to go so far to the left or so far to the right.”
Both Scatter Raps that were introduced at the recent Bassmaster Classic are available in 18 color patterns, including four new “Ike’s Custom Ink” hues — bruise, girlfriend, mule and rasta.
For more information on Rapala Scatter Rap Shallow and Rapala Scatter Rap Deep crankbaits and other Rapala products, call 612-375-8548 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.