How do you follow a legend? Be you an actor re-booting an iconic character, or a new bait launching in a classic lure line, the answer is the same – innovate, don’t imitate. Make the part your own. Starring now in such a role is Rapala’s new Jigging Shadow Rap®.
Stepping onstage after the famed original Jigging Rap® became a household name, Rapala’s new Jigging Shadow Rap weighs less than its legendary predecessor and glides more slowly on the fall. And the impressive newcomer’s subtle, nuanced performance as a distressed baitfish earns rave reviews from wary and pressured gamefish, inspiring them to bite.
“This is one of the craziest walleye bites I have ever been on in my life!” Minnesota angler Brett McComas exclaims in a video featured in the popular Target Walleye eNewsletter. “They are just going bonkers over it,” he said. “It’s just been a feeding frenzy.”
Designed to vertically target multiple freshwater gamefish species – whether they’re suspending high in the water column, or holding tight to the bottom – Rapala’s new Jigging Shadow Rap boasts a broader silhouette than its original Jigging Rap. Enhanced with belly-flashing action and modern, realistic baitfish finishes, the Jigging Shadow Rap falls seductively slower, triggering even the most finicky of gamefish to bite.
It’s worked like magic for McComas, he said, when early-season walleyes were in “negative or neutral” moods and “hard to get to bite” with other baits.
“This is something that I’m going to use all spring, until that water gets hot and those fish are out deeper and it’s [original] Jigging Rap time,” he said. “This bait is so cool.”
At 3-½ inches, the new Jigging Shadow Rap equals the length of a No. 9 original Jigging Rap but weighs only as much as a No. 7 original – 5/8 of an ounce. A 3-½ inch-long No. 9 original Jigging Rap, in comparison, weighs 7/8 of an ounce – a full ¼ oz. more than a Jigging Shadow Rap.
“It’s a lot lighter and fishes slower,” McComas explained. “On the drop, it falls with a really nice, slow, wide glide.”
McComas fishes a Jigging Shadow Rap in much the same way he fishes an original Jigging Rap – casting it horizontally about 40 to 50 feet out from his boat, waiting for it to fall to the bottom, then snapping it off the bottom with vertical rips of his rod tip. Each rip moves his bait about four to five feet, horizontally, back toward his boat. But you’ll catch more fish with a Jigging Shadow Rap if you throttle back a bit from the speed at which you would rip up an original Jigging Rap, McComas advised. Rip it “a little bit slower,” he said, but still with “decent” force.
“As far as cadence and how hard you snap,” McComas said, “it’s just like” snap-jigging a plastic boot-tail or paddle-tail bait. “It’s just a nice sweep,” he said. “And then let that thing just glide back down.”
Walleyes and other gamefish will strike a Jigging Shadow Rap on the fall “almost every time,” McComas said, citing his own exhilarating experiences. “I’m feeling a ‘Donk!’ and they’re getting it.”
If he doesn’t get bit in the glide down, McComas said, he’ll wait 4 to 5 seconds after his bait hits bottom before making another vertical rip with his rod tip. A follow-up rip often turns into a hook-set as he sticks a hungry walleye that pinned the bait to the bottom after the preceding drop.
Weighted with lead-free zinc, the Jigging Shadow Rap enables conservation-minded anglers to find bottom and get bites in a more environmentally friendly and sustainable way. Its durable, hard-plastic body comes armed with two super sharp VMC® hooks – a single hook protruding from its tail, and a No. 6 black-nickel, round-bend treble hanging from its belly.
When and Where to Throw a Jigging Shadow Rap®
Tie on a Jigging Shadow Rap as soon as your favorite lakes warm to about 60 degrees, which is generally the temp at which shiners and other baitfish migrate from deeper areas up to shallow, hard-bottom flats. As soon as those minnows move shallow, walleyes and other gamefish follow and feed on them. Target those fish with a Rapala Jigging Shadow Rap, and “Man, it is just gametime!” McComas said.
“Early-season walleyes love that shallow sand,” McComas said. “Those fish are cruising that shallow sand for one reason – to eat. They’re not just taking a nap or chilling with their homies up there – it is buffet time.”
When McComas filmed the hot Jigging Shadow Rap bite featured by Target Walleye, he was fishing in about 10 feet of water on a big sand flat near a drop-off into deeper water. “Just over my shoulder is where it dips off into that 20-foot of water,” he said.
To say the Jigging Shadow Rap quickly earned a top spot in McComas’s cohort of confidence baits would be an epic understatement.
“This is how confident I am I’m going to get bit,” McComas said in the Target Walleye video. “By the second rip of this bait, I’m going to get smoked. Like, I guarantee you!”
Sure enough, mere seconds after his second rip, a walleye bites – but he isn’t quick enough with his hook-set, and misses him. Seconds after that though, mid-way through his third rip, he hooks up.
“There he is!” McComas exclaimed, his rod bending about in half with the weight of another big walleye. “This is so ridiculous!”
“Crazy-realistic” Patterns and Profiles
Jigging Shadow Raps are available in 12 patterns and profiles that McComas described as “crazy-realistic.” In crystal-clear to lightly stained water, start with one the five more-natural-looking baitfish patterns:
Nordic Perch – Black back, Orange-red tail, realistic, Red-tinged gill plates, Yellow head, Red throat, and Gun-metal Gray sides dusted with Gold flecks and punctuated by six vertical, triangular, tiger-style stripes.
Live Smelt – Black-silver Metallic back, Metallic pink-silver tail and sides, Metallic-silver head and Red-pink throat.
Live Perch – Looks just like its name would suggest – Green, perch-scale detail on the back and sides, 4 wide, Black triangular tiger stripes and red tail.
Silver – Black-silver Metallic back, Metallic-silver sides and head, Red-tinged gill plates and Red throat.
Halloween – Black and Gun-metal back, Clear-translucent sides, Orange tail, belly and throat with Red-tinged gill plates.
In light- to-medium-stain water, try one of the three brighter natural-forage patterns:
Blue Silver – Blue-silver Metallic back and sides, Orange tail, belly and throat with Orange gill plates.
Black Yellow – Lime-green and black back, lime-green and chartreuse side, orange belly and throat with red-tinged gill plates.
Purpledescent – Black-purple back, Purple and White sides dusted with Black flecks, Purple tail, Red-tinged gill plates and throat, and a chartreuse head.
In medium-stained to muddy water, or while night fishing, your best bet will often be one of the four, bright Glow color patterns:
Glow – White Glow body and Chartreuse head.
Glow Pink Squirrel – Pink tail and head, White Glow body with four black baitfish spots along each side.
Glow Slimy Lime – Chartreuse Glow body punctuated by four black baitfish spots along each side and Lime-green head.
Glow Tiger – Lime-green Glow back, Orange Glow belly, realistic red-tinged gill plate and Chartreuse Glow sides punctuated by seven vertical, triangular Tiger-style stripes.
McComas prefers fishing a Jigging Shadow Rap with a 7-foot, 1-inch spinning rod paired with a reel spooled with 10-pound-test Sufix Advance Monofilament line, to get “a little stretch in the whole system.” He connects his main mono line to an 8-pound-test Sufix Advance Fluorocarbon leader by tying each to one end of a VMC® Rolling Swivel. At the end of his leader, he ties a No. 0 VMC Crankbait Snap, with which he connects to the Jigging Shadow Rap’s line tie.