It takes a lot to impress a legend. But the new Rapala® Shad Dancer® is not only an “eye opener” and a “homerun,” says Al Lindner, it might just be another bait for the ages, right up there with the Shad Rap® and Original Floating® Minnow.
“It has a touch of magic that is immediately apparent,” says Lindner, legendary angler and host of the influential television shows “Angling Edge” and “Fishing Edge.” “It’s that good. You see a lot of baits come on the scene, and many of them are okay fish catchers, but this one has got the makings to be the best yet.”
Swimming with a silent but aggressive, hard-thumping and sweeping tail action, the Shad Dancer offers the excitement of a Rapala Tail Dancer® in a shad-profile bait. It features a tough balsa body that dives 7-to-10 feet, whether it’s cast or trolled. The lure is available in 16 color patterns: Live Bluegill, Dark Brown Crawdad, Firetiger, Hot Steel, Helsinki Shad, Live Largemouth Bass, Perch, Purpledescent, Live Pumpkinseed, Red Crawdad, Live River Shad, Silver, Live Smallmouth Bass, Shad, Silver Fluorescent Chartreuse and Yellow Perch.
The lure’s unique features combine perfectly to comprise the world’s next great multi-species bait, Lindner explains. “With this bait, walleyes, smallmouth bass and even largemouth bass won’t be able to resist a strike,” he says. “The swimming action, vibration, size, hook-up ratio and the color make it an almost perfect bait. Fish like it. They really, really like it.”
When filming television shows this spring and summer, Lindner and his partners have used Shad Dancers to load the boat with fish, in both rivers and lakes, in North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Northwest Ontario.
“The Shad Dancer is a bait that will work all season,” Lindner says. “It’s one of those lures that runs at a depth a lot of fish are feeding at all year. Largemouth, smallmouth and walleyes, the depth that this bait runs, is pretty consistent in the high-percentage strike zone.”
That being said, he was surprised at first by how well it works for walleye.
“It’s not what you’d term a ‘traditional walleye shape’ — like a distinct minnow or the standard shapes that every angler has in their tackle box,” Lindner says. “But that doesn’t matter because it’s an eye-opener, causing walleye everywhere to strike hard. Our team has been extremely pleased with the results.”
In most cases, Lindner trolls Shad Dancers for walleye and casts them for bass. In both cases, he spools up a 7-foot, medium-action spinning combo with 10-pound test Sufix® fluorocarbon line. Fish tend to come off rocks or vegetation on a break line where a flat drops into deeper water.
“You can pump it with the rod or burn it steady, the lure simply walks through wood or bushes and rips off of weeds easy,” Lindner says. “And your rod tip is jumping constantly, allowing you to feel that the bait is always fishing — whether it’s moving slow or super fast.”
The Rapala Shad Dancer measures 2 inches, weighs 1/4 ounce and comes armed with two No. 6 VMC® Black Nickel Round Bend Hooks.