Rapala’s tournament-winning, bait-designing bass pro has really Ott-done himself with his newest creation: the OG Tiny 4, a flat-sided, finesse crankbait with a tight balsa-wood wobble and subtle action.
“My desire with that bait is to get an action very similar to that of a Shad Rap® but have it in a different profile — a little different package,” said Ott DeFoe, a three-time Major League Fishing Bass Pro Tour winner and 2019 Bassmaster Classic Champ. “And that’s what that flat-sided bait does so very well – you get a little bit of a roll and a little bit of wiggle. You’re able to get them to bite on that finesse crankbait.”
DeFoe has now designed two baits for Rapala’s OG lineup. OG stands for “Ott’s Garage,” the location of the workbench on which he carved and sanded prototypes of the new OG Tiny 4 and, previously, the OG Slim 6, a bigger, flat-sided, balsa crankbait.
“I’ve had the good fortune of getting to work with Rapala® on the OG series,” DeFoe said. “It really does blow me away, because I look at the history, coming from where it did, from Lauri Rapala carving out that original minnow.”
Finnish lumberjack and commercial fisherman Lauri Rapala hand-carved the first Rapala bait from balsa wood in 1936, launching an artificial lure revolution and laying the foundation for craftsmanship and quality that would follow in the creation of every bait made by the company that carries his name.
“Nobody matches the quality Rapala does, day in and day out,” DeFoe said. “I’m very fortunate to be on the point of the spear, making the very best bass baits with Rapala for you all to go out and catch more fish with.”
Diving to four feet, the Rapala OG Tiny 4 features a thin balsa body, flat sides and a lightweight circuit-board lip. It moves less water than more-aggressive, bigger-profile baits, while offering a sensitive feel of bottom structure.
“It just has a nice little quiver to it,” DeFoe said. “It’s very similar to the OG Slim 6 in a lot of ways, including the line-tie being in the nose of the bait. It makes the bait more natural, more subtle and keeps the action tight.
“With a bait that has as natural of an action as this one does,” DeFoe continues, “you’re able to catch those really aggressive fish, as well as the ones that are really hard to catch.”
Because the Major League Fishing Bass Pro Tour carries him to tournaments all across the country, DeFoe’s goal was to create a bait that would work all the time, from coast to coast, north to south. He succeeded, he said, with the OG Tiny 4.
“I’m able to put this bait in my boat and use it in so many different situations,” DeFoe said.
When fishing an OG Tiny 4, DeFoe instructed, “don’t just throw the bait out and just reel it straight back in.” Instead, pause your retrieve occasionally, giving your rod tip “just a little twitch here and there” – especially if you feel the bait hit sizable bottom cover or structure.
“Making contact with wood, making contact with rock – whether that’s big rock or gravel – that’s definitely what you want to do with this bait,” DeFoe explains. “Not only do those fish feel that vibration, but it also makes just a little bit of sound and I think that they definitely key in on that. I really feel the OG Tiny’s circuit-board lip makes a different sound ticking those rocks.”
The Rapala OG Tiny 4 comes armed with two No. 5 VMC black-nickel 1X-strong hybrid treble hooks. It measures 2-¼ inches and weighs 5/16th-oz.
“It’s really lightweight, so it doesn’t give the fish a lot of leverage to throw it,” DeFoe said. “That’s one of the benefits of this bait.”
OG Tiny 4 lures are available in 19 color patterns, including five pro-inspired patterns new to Rapala last year (Citrus Shad, Rootbeer Crawdad, Chartreuse Rootbeer Crawdad, Green Gizzard Shad and Big Shad), and five more new for this year (Bream, Copper Green Shad, Hot Copper Green Shad, Classic Craw, Coosa Special).
“It’s honestly a star-studded mix,” DeFoe said. “There’s a lot of colors to choose from. The great thing about that is everyone’s going to find something in there that they like.”
In East Tennessee, where DeFoe calls home, bass eat shad, bluegills and crawdads. All that forage is represented in the color-pattern options available.
“Throw something that looks like one of those three, and there’s probably a good chance you’re going to be able to catch fish on it,” he said.
In clear water, the “Live River Shad” color pattern is an excellent choice. Crawfish-patterns are most productive early in the year. “They feed on shad all the time, but once those crawdads start coming out in the spring, a crawdad-color crankbait is definitely hard to beat,” DeFoe added.