The hottest, hush-hush bait last year will benefit in 2016 from six cool new color patterns. Rapala® Jigging Rap®s are now available in Pearl White, Bluegill, Regal Shad, Helsinki Shad, Redfire Crawdad and Purpledescent.
“You’ve got some shad colors in there, you’ve got some bluegill colors and you even have some crawdad colors,” says Jacob Wheeler. The 2012 winner of the FLW Tour’s championship, Wheeler fished Jigging Raps en route to a top-15 finish in the 2015 Bassmaster Classic.
Long predominant as ice-fishing lures, Jigging Raps were proven equally productive as open-water baits in the last few years after Wheeler and others won or placed high with them in tournaments. After that, this once-secret tactic went public.
“They’ll catch bass all over the country,” Wheeler says. But that’s not all. “It works for walleye, it works for multiple species,” he says. Indeed, Rapala pros like Chris Gilman and others have won or placed high with Jigging Raps in national walleye tournaments.
Featuring a balanced, weighted minnow profile, Jigging Raps swim in tantalizing circles on the fall. With single reversed hooks on the nose and posterior, and a center treble hook hung from a belly eyelet, they don’t allow for missed bites — regardless of how a fish attacks, it’s running smack dab into a hook.
“When you’re hopping it, and it’s darting left and right, if a fish just snaps at it, he’s hooked,” Wheeler says. “It’s a mousetrap waiting to happen!”
The new color patterns are available in all five Jigging Rap sizes — 02, 03, 05, 07 and 09. Following are descriptions of the new colors:
Bluegill — Realistic bluegill coloring and scaling with a black gill plate, red gill flash and orange throat.
“Natural-looking minnow-style baits are great in clear water, especially with the addition of an orange or red throat or belly,” Wheeler says.
Pearl White — Shiny white body, sides, belly and throat.
Helsinki Shad — Metallic blue back, horizontal chartreuse and gray side stripes and a white belly.
“This color will be great down south on those big reservoirs like on the Tennessee River and places like that,” Wheeler says.
Regal Shad — Pinkish-purple back, horizontal chartreuse side stripe and a white belly.
“This color will be great for moderately stained water, especially where threadfin shad or smelt is the main forage,” Wheeler says.
Purpledescent — Black- and white-speckled purple back, chartreuse/black nose, pink throat, and a white belly
This color, too, will be great in moderately stained water, especially where smelt is a main forage species.
Redfire Crawdad — Dark-red back overlaid with a craw-shell pattern and gray specks, with a yellow belly.
“When your fish are feeding on crawdad, this color’s going to be the deal,” Wheeler says. “When you pop it off the bottom, it’ll look just like a little crawdad scooting away.”
When fished through the ice as they were designed for, Jigging Raps work best with a vertical pump-and-swim action. A successful open-water presentation, however, requires aggressive rod snaps throughout a horizontal retrieve.
One of the reasons the Jigging Rap is so effective, Wheeler says, is because it’s so erratic. “It constantly moving and it shows those fish out there in that open water something they haven’t seen before,” he explains.
Watch Wheeler demonstrate how he fishes a Jigging Rap in this video.