Ponder this for a moment: There are anglers today – some of the top pros in the country – who weren’t born when Rapala® introduced a fishing lure that would revolutionize modern fishing.
Thirty-five years after the introduction of the hugely popular size Shad Rap® No. 9, 38 years after its initial launch and the introduction of Shad Rap® size No. 7 and 42 years after the first sketches of the new lure were penciled on paper in Finland, Rapala once again saw the Shad Rap as one of its top manufactured lures in 2019. Over 1 million units shipped in the US and Canada.
The balsa lure, featuring the shape and light fluttering action of a shad (a bait fish that’s the mainstay of predator fish worldwide) is still manufactured by Rapala in Finland. Each lure still hand tuned and tank tested to ensure quality.
Over the years, the introduction of the Shad Rap has spawned many imitators, but none have equaled the legendary performance of the Shad Rap, which continues to this day to be one of the best-selling fishing lures in the industry. Truly, a lure that has stood the test of time.
Why, after all these years is the Shad Rap as popular as it was when it was introduced? It comes down to one word: consistency.
“What’s old has become new again,” said legendary angler Al Lindner. “We have a whole new generation rediscovering the Shad Rap. I think the reason why is time. It’s a huge factor. When you have only so much time to spend on the water, you want to maximize every moment. You want to fish a lure you can count on. This is true of even the top fishing pros who all have a stash of Shad Raps in their boats for those moments when the fish aren’t cooperating. Simply put, the Shad Rap is one of the most consistent producers in the history of fishing. Period.”
For those who forgot or weren’t around when the Shad Rap was introduced, the lure became so popular that fishing resorts and independent tackle dealers rented the lure out by the hour and demanded a hefty deposit. When it first came out, Rapala only made 350,000 lures at a time when there were 30 million licensed anglers in the U.S. When word spread about its ability to catch fish, the lure quickly sold out.
“It was a miracle bait,” said Lindner. “I remember resorts renting out a lure for $25 a day. It was unbelievable. I’ve never seen anything like it in my career.”
If you’ve fished for any amount of time, you know that new lures come and go. But the Shad Rap proved it was no flash in the pan. Fish by fish, the Shad Rap has earned its legendary reputation to catch fish everywhere in the world. Based on the more than 48 million Shad Raps sold in the U.S. and Canada since its launch, anglers worldwide have caught anywhere from 50 to 500 million fish with Shad Raps on just about any type of water imaginable — lakes, ponds, reservoirs, rivers, streams, seas, and oceans.
The Shad Rap has caught fish on every continent except Antarctica, according to the International Game Fish Association (IGFA). Equally impressive, the Shad Rap holds numerous world records for a multitude of species, including: splake, snook, pike, peacock bass, black crappie, freshwater drum, Nile perch, bull trout and African red snapper.
And maybe that’s why the Shad Rap continues to be ranked among the best fishing lures of all time — #27 on Field & Stream’s list of the “50 Greatest Lures of All Time (2006),” #16 by Wired2Fish on its list of the “Top 25 Bass Fishing Lures of All Time (2019),” Midwest Outdoors’ “Top 50 Lures of All Time, (2017)” #2 on TripSavvy’s “8 Best Walleye Lures of 2020,” #6 on Outdoor Life’s “The 15 Best Walleye Jigs and Lures (2013), #2 on Field & Stream’s list of “The 20 Best Walleye Lures for Spring (2019).”
“It’s one of the all-time great lures; one of the best ones ever made to be blunt about it,” said Rapala pro and Bass Tournament Champion Mike Iaconelli.