Seems sometimes dock bass have seen all that falls, making them finicky feeders. But Seth Feider says they ain’t seen nothin’ yet. Show ‘em a Shadow Rap® Shad, he says, and watch out!
“There’s just something about that bait – it’s a fish catcher,” says the 2nd-year Bassmaster Elite pro from Minnesota. “They’ve never seen anything like it – nothing else that does what it does.”
Rather than slowly sinking on the pause — as do Rapala®’s original Shadow Rap®s — Shadow Rap Shads slowly rise on the pause, slightly wobbling. It’s that action that drives bass batty under floating docks, Feider says, explaining that fish can grow wary of baits that fall often in front of their faces – jigs, soft stick baits, big worms, etc. But baits that float up and away from bass are less common around docks.
“Where the fish sit and suspend about four or five feet down under the floats, nothing ever moves the way a Shadow Rap Shad does,” Feider says. “You can throw a spinnerbait down the side of a float and slow-roll it horizontally, but pretty much anything else you throw falls vertically. So when they see that thing starting to raise up towards the floats, it’s like they know there’s no way for it to escape. I think what those fish do is pin shad right up underneath the floats.”
Similar to original Shadow Raps, which came out in 2015, Shadow Rap Shads are taller, but not as long. “It’s definitely got a different profile than your typical jerkbait,” Feider says. “Being taller, it looks more like a shad or bluegill.”
Shadow Rap Shads come in models that target two different depth ranges — three to four feet and five to six feet. It’s the deeper-running model – the Shadow Rap Shad Deep, that Feider says is “killer” on floating boat docks. Cast it as close as you can to the back of a boat slip, he instructs, then immediately give it three or four quick, hard snaps with your rod tip to pull it down into the strike zone, “where the fish can see it good.” Then kill it. That’s when the magic happens.
“When it starts rising up, it’s like they know they’ve got it cornered,” Feider explains. “It’s headed up toward the floats and there’s nowhere for it to go. They come up and just crush it.”
Dock bass bit Feider’s Shadow Rap Shad Deep with abandon in a recent tournament on Lake Texoma, on the Texas-Oklahoma border. “They just choked it,” he says. “Almost every one of them had it down its throat or sideways in its mouth. I didn’t lose a single fish on those docks. That’s pretty rare, using treble hooks.”
As other anglers struggled for a handful of bites in the first day of competition on Texoma, Feider was enjoying a field day with a Shadow Rap Shad Deep – often fishing docks other anglers came away from empty handed.
“I was fishing behind people all day and a lot of guys were talking in practice that they were only getting a few bites a day,” he recalls. “But that first day, I caught probably 25 keepers on that thing. Catching that many allowed me to cull through ‘em and end up with a pretty decent bag.”
An all-season jerkbait, the Shadow Rap Shad triggers fish in three ways — with its wobbling slow rise, on the kick and with a snap back to life. Both Shadow Rap Shads and Shadow Rap Shad Deeps measure 3-1/2 inches, weigh 3/8 of an ounce, and come armed with two No. 6 VMC® black-nickel, round-bend hooks.
“Those hooks are sticky sharp and light wire, which is nice for jerk-baiting,” Feider says. “It’s not a jig bite – you’re not winding down and jerking on it. Half the time, I just go to make my next twitch and he’s there. And I just keep tension on him the whole time. I’m never really hitting that fish that hard.”
Great Over Grass and Rocks
Feider will throw a Shadow Rap Shad over submerged vegetation as well. “Tick the top of that grass and let it float up and then pull it back down,” he instructs. “Any other bait, your next move, you’re just going to get balled up in the grass.” That bite is good up through water temps of about 75 degrees, he says.
And a Shadow Rap Shad Deep is a “killer smallie bait” over isolated boulders and rockpiles, Feider says. “Crank it down to the rocks and then kill it and let it float up. Big smallies will chase it up off the rock and eat it. It’s pretty cool.”
Feider throws Shadow Rap Shads with a 6-foot, 9-inch medium-light, moderate-action baitcasting rod and a 6:3-gear-ratio baitcasting reel spooled with 10-pound-test Sufix® 100% Fluorocarbon line. “It’s really strong line,” he says. “I don’t have to worry about breaking them off.”