Rapala, one of the most-recognizable and respected brands in the artificial lure manufacturing business, introduced a jerkbait at the 2015 Bassmaster Classiic.
This spring, the company followed up with another jerkbait in the series that stands out from any others: Bass haven’t seen an artificial lure move like the Shadow Rap Shad.
The lure triggers strikes instinctively, according to well-known television fishing show host and angler Al Lindner.
“It’s got an action that’s unique for a jerkbait,” Lindner said. “Fish haven’t seen this before. That’s why it’s so deadly.
“It’s a brilliant piece of work. It’s the bait you’ve got to have in your tacklebox if you want to catch more and bigger bass this season.”
Rapala’s Mark Fisher also shared his insight, which is considerable because he designed the newest addition to the Shadow Rap family.
Fisher has been with Rapala for 31 years, the past 16 as director of field promotions after a 15-year stint as a pro staffer.
The Shadow Rap Shad is effective in all water temperatures, but particularly so in cold water, the designer and others agreed.
“You know how finicky fish become in cold-water periods,” Fisher said.
He said the Shadow Rap Shad features a shad-shaped body with textured scales, and is available in models that target different depths: 3 to 4 feet and 5 to 6 feet. The latter version is called the Shadow Rap Shad Deep.
Both models measure 3½ inches long, weigh 3/8 ounce and brandish two No. 6 VMC black nickel, thin-wired, round-bend hooks.
The artificial lure combines a horizontal wavering and a slight wobble with a slow vertical rise on the pause to imitate an injured baitfish, Fisher said.
“It’s all about where you put the weight and where you ballast it for it to work,” he explained.
The Shadow Shad Rap was three years in the making, with beau coup prototypes and just as many fishing trips to test each one, he said about his pet project.
There was a reason the artificial lure manufacturer went in that direction, producing a lure the rises on the pause.
The Shadow Rap Shad’s predecessor, the Shadow Rap Minnow, was designed to slowly sink on a pause.
“(The Shadow Shad Rap) can stop on a dime and lift its head, and it’s not by accident,” Fisher said. “The Minnow’s just the opposite: It stopped on a dime, and its head went down.
“Both baits follow their head. It was extremely impressive when we finally put it together and saw how fish were attracted to it.”
The key was finding out what movements make fish bite in warm water or extremely cold water.
“It’s not color; it’s movement,” Fisher said. “We found that rising (Shadow Rap Shad) and sinking (Shadow Rap Minnow) is what they wanted.”
Throw in the flash for the newest product and the complete package is there for a bass to hone in on.
It also features wider, flatter sides for that purpose.
“It wobbles slightly because of its flat side,” Fisher said. “We make them with a flat side so it’s flash versus roll.
The Shad Rap is designed to carry you through the cold water of the spring period, extending through the summer months and into the cooler waters of the fall.”
Some world class bass fishermen weighed in on the Shadow Rap Shad.
“It does something that no other bait out there does,” 2003 Bassmaster Classic champion Mike Iaconelli said in a Rapala news release. “It mimics forage species so perfectly that it is going to put a ton of fish in the boat for you.
“I haven’t been this excited about a brand-new bait for a long time.”
Brandon Palaniuk, 2013 Classic runner-up and a six-time qualifier for the world championship, agreed.
“Not going to lie: I’m pretty pumped about this bait,” Palaniuk said. “It’s a little bit wider than the original Shad Rap, a little bit shorter, a little bit fatter and has a two-hook design rather than a three-hook design.”
Another Bassmaster Classic winner also gushed about the new jerkbait’s features.
“I love the wider, flat sides,” 1999 Bassmaster Classic champ Davy Hite. “Seems like everywhere there are threadfin and gizzard shad, and they’re all this wider profile. And that’s what we’re mimicking.
“The cool thing is you can stop this bait, and it tilts and has this slow rise that no other jerkbait I’ve ever seen does.”
Shadow Rap Shads are available in the 14 original minnow colors, as well as these 10 new combinations:
Crush — dark brown back, light brown sides
Elite blue — dark blue-gray back, light gray-white sides, light orange belly
Haymaker — olive green back, light olive-white sides, light orange gill plates
Olive drab — dark olive back and head, light green-white sides, light yellow gill plates
Purple haze — dark purple back and head, light purple-white sides, pink gill plates
Gone — dark purple back, light yellow sides, darker yellow/orange head
Halloween — black back, pewter sides, full orange belly
Imposter — light orange back and head, light yellow sides, white belly
Molten copper — black back, dark copper sides and head, light copper belly
Tropic ice — black back, metallic blue sides, metallic green head, light yellow gill plates
Original colors were albino shiner, blue back herring, blue ghost, bone, bud, carbon, clown, ghost, ghost shiner, moss back shiner, olive green, purpledescent, dilver and yellow perch.
Go to www.Rapala.com for more information on the Shadow Rap Shad, others in the Shadow Rap Series and Rapala products.