#Fishsmart A campaign launched by one of our key partners, Bassmaster and supported by the Rapala® Pro Staff, is a campaign message that is important to keep in mind. Rapala is going to continue to bring timely and relevant content, but please continue to fish smart. Until travel is advised, the tactics and techniques in the article apply on your local waters as well. Rapala takes pride in continuing to build products that work all over the country, for multi-species and allowing everyone to fish smart.
To catch big walleyes now on Sturgeon Bay – and lots of them – throw Rapala Rippin’ Raps on rock-to-sand transitions on the deep side of breaklines where shallow flats plunge to 25 to 35 feet. In-demand guide Bret Alexander, who loads his boat with big fish through mid-May with this tactic, recommends Rippin’ Raps in the new color patterns inspired by current trends in custom bait painting – Fruit Bowl, Leprechaun, Bad Lipstick and Road Trip.
“They’re definitely some home-run colors,” says Alexander, founder of Alexander’s Sport Fishing Guide Service. “At lot of times, it’s critical to show fish something different, so it’s good to mix it up with colors. So I was happy when Rapala added the new colors to the arsenal. We did really good on them last year up at Sturgeon Bay and Upper Door County.”
How good is “really good,” you ask?
“A really good day would be like 40 to 60 fish,” Alexander says. “And Sturgeon Bay has a lot of big fish. We’ll see a lot of six- to 12- and 13-pounders, throwing those Rippin’ Raps.”
Featuring flat, skinny sides and a deep-belly profile, Rippin’ Raps flutter on the drop and pop off the bottom with a hard-vibrating action accented by a loud, distinctive rattle system. Textured scales, gills with deep-set 3D holographic eyes and fast-piercing VMC® Black Nickel hooks seal the deal.
In deep, clear water on Sturgeon Bay, Alexander catches big walleyes on size 7 Rippin’ Raps. Of the new “custom” colors now available, he’s caught the most fish there on the Bad Lipstick and Road Trip patterns. “In several trips on different days, those two colors were just on fire,” he says.
The Bad Lipstick color pattern features a metallic gold back and sides, metallic purple belly, red-orange throat, black gill dot and red throat. Road Trip features a blackish-purple back and sides, yellow belly, metallic green tiger stripes, black gill dot and red gills and throat.
Alexander catches walleyes with the brighter new “custom” Rippin’ Rap color patterns – Fruit Bowl and Leprechaun – on five- to 12-foot-deep flats in Green Bay, near the west shore by Oconto, WI, where the water is more stained. In that area, he targets zebra mussel beds on sand flats with size 6 Rippin’ Raps. Each of the new color patterns is available in three sizes: 5, 6 and 7.
The Fruit Bowl pattern features a green back and sides, orange-yellow belly, chrome tiger stripes, black gill dot and red throat. Leprechaun features a metallic green back and sides, black tiger stripes, a chartreuse belly, black gill dot and orange throat.
“Those work well down in the lower bay by Oconto, where the water’s a little dirtier,” Alexander says. “Some days, you’ll get a lot of 20- to 25-, 26-inch fish. Other days, you’ll get into a lot of bigger fish too over there.”
Alexander throws a Rippin’ Rap® on a main line of 10- to 10-15-pound-test Sufix 832 Advanced braid with a 12-pound-test Sufix Advance Fluorocarbon leader. He slings them on a 7-foot, 2-inch medium-action spinning rod with a fast tip.
Alexander’s Sturgeon Bay and Green Bay Rippin’ Rap bites start in late March, “really start firing” in early April, and usually remain hot through the first two or three weeks of May.
About Bret Alexander
Alexander has 40 years of fishing experience on Green Bay and 15 years of guiding experience. He has been featured in a variety of articles and publications, including Wisconsin Sportsman Magazine, In Fisherman, and Midwest Outdoors.
Alexander’s Fishing Guide and Charter Service offers the opportunity to fish with professionals with more than 25 years of experience. Their knowledge of Lake Michigan, Green Bay, Sturgeon Bay, and the Fox and Menominee Rivers, allows them to provide exceptional fishing excursions.