1. VMC® Gliding Jig
Seen it all when it comes to finesse baits? Take a closer look at VMC’s Gliding Jig.
“You need to see it in the water to see the action that it has,” says Randall Tharp, a three-time Bassmaster Classic qualifier and the 2013 Forrest Wood Cup champion. “Fish have never seen anything like it.”
Available in Oklahoma and Willow styles, Gliding Jigs are finesse baits for both deep and shallow water. The Oklahoma and Willow models feature slow and fast side-to-side fluttering action, respectively. Rig them with soft-plastic trailers like straight-tail worms, ribbon-tail worms and minnow-shape baits.
“It’s part jig, it’s part spoon,” says Rapala® Director of Field Promotions Mark Fisher, who designed the Gliding Jig. “Fish it wherever you would fish a small jig, shaky head or mushroom head.”
Gliding Jigs feature a 1/0 extra-wide-gap VMC hook, a fine-wire double-hook bait keeper and come two per-pack in two sizes, 1/8 oz. and 3/16 oz. Each is available in seven colors: Antique Copper, Antique Gold, Antique White, Candy Black, Candy Red, Gold and Silver.
2. Rapala® crank baits in Custom HD colors
For better multi-species success in clear to lightly-stained water, throw Rapala baits in the new Custom HD color patterns. Available in the DT® series, Scatter Rap Shads, Scatter Rap® Minnows, Shad Rap®s and Original Floating® Minnows, Custom HD finishes feature ultra-realistic color and scale details printed on classic Rapala foil.
“Printing on foil gives the HD finishes that reflective quality fish have in nature,” says Ott DeFoe, a 5-time Bassmaster Classic qualifier.
Angling legend Al Lindner catches North Country walleyes, smallmouth and largemouth on Rapala baits in Custom HD colors. “These finishes look as live as can be, perfectly mimicking real-live forage,” he says.
Custom HD finishes are especially effective on fisheries that sustain heavy pressure. “Once you figure out the forage those fish are keyed in on and tie on the matching pattern, it’s going to be a big difference-maker in those situations,” DeFoe says.
Shad Raps, DTs and Scatter Rap Shads are available in five Custom HD color patterns: Live Bluegill, Live Smallmouth Bass, Live Pumpkinseed, Live River Shad and Live Largemouth Bass.
Scatter Rap Minnows and Original Floating Rapalas are available in four Custom HD patterns: Live Smelt, Live Walleye, Live Rainbow Trout and Live Pike.
3. Rapala® Jigging Rap®s new open-water colors
Jigging Raps, among Rapala’s predominant ice-fishing lures, are now available in six color patterns designed for open water — Pearl White, Bluegill, Regal Shad, Helsinki Shad, Redfire Crawdad and Purpledescent.
Featuring a balanced, weighted minnow profile, Jigging Raps swim in tantalizing circles on the fall. Fishing them successfully in open water requires aggressive rod snaps throughout a horizontal retrieve.
“When you snap the rod, it will dart a foot or two off to the right, and then it falls super fast,” says Brandon Palaniuk, a five-time Bassmaster Classic qualifier. “And then you snap it again and it might dart two feet back over to the left — or forwards, or backwards. It’s a constant change of direction.”
The new colors are available in five sizes — 02, 03, 05, 07 and 09.
Featuring what’s best described as evasive action, a Scatter Rap perfectly mimics a spooked baitfish fleeing attack, moving from one side to the next, triggering reactive bites. Built on classic Rapala balsa body shapes, Scatter Raps derive their name and signature sweeping action from an innovative, patent-pending, curved Scatter Lip.
Measuring 2 3/4 inches and weighing 9/16th of an ounce, the Scatter Rap Crank 07 runs 8 to 13 feet deep. The Scatter Rap Crank Shallow 07 measures 2 3/4 inches, weighs 1/2 an ounce and runs 5 to 8 feet deep.
5. Scatter Rap® Tail Dancer®
Combining the wild, wide-tail action of a banana-shaped, balsa body with the erratic action of a Scatter Lip, Rapala’s Scatter Rap Tail Dancer is the ultimate deep-diving multi-species trolling lure.
“If you troll, it’s one of the most exciting baits to come out in a long time,” says James Holst, host of “In Depth Outdoors” on the Fox Sports North channel. “For trolling, that banana profile is just so productive.”
Featuring a tapered tail, internal rattle and two No. 4 VMC® black-nickel, round-bend hooks, the Scatter Rap Tail Dancer runs 11 to 19 feet, depending on line size and boat speed.
“When trolled, it will move five, six, seven feet to either side, off the center line, without changing depth or the quality of the action of the bait — just like baitfish do,” Holst explains. “Baitfish don’t just monotonously, endlessly swim in a straight line.”
Measuring 3 1/2 inches and weighing 7/16th of an ounce, the Scatter Rap Tail Dancer is available in 16 color patterns: Blue Flash, Perch, Flash Perch, Firetiger, Gold, Golden Alburnus, Red Tiger, Clown, Bleak, Yellow Perch, Rainbow Trout, Purpledescent, Pink Tiger UV, Green Tiger UV, Orange Tiger UV and Silver.
“Many of the color patterns imitate forage species found in larger water bodies like Lake of the Woods, Green Bay and the Great Lakes,” Holst says. “It’s quite a game-changing bait for these areas.”
6. Scatter Rap® Shad Deep
Combining a deep-diving Scatter Lip with the inimitable balsa buoyancy and baitfish profile of the best multi-species, all-season crankbait body of all time, the Scatter Rap Shad Deep brings evasive action to strike zones in 9 to 12 feet.
“It’s really the best of both worlds now in one bait,” says DeFoe, an avowed Shad Rap fanatic. “In shape and swimming motion, nothing imitates a shad better than a Shad Rap — and now that comes with the addition of erratic ‘hunting’ action in deeper water. I couldn’t have asked for a better combination.”
Measuring 2 2/4 inches and weighing 1/4 ounce, the Scatter Rap Shad Deep features two No. 6 VMC black-nickel treble hooks. It runs silently, floats when paused and comes in 16 color patterns: Firetiger, Helsinki Shad, Yellow Perch, Bleak, Dark Brown Crawdad, Perch, Shad, Bluegill, Hot Steel, Mardi Gras, Silver, Demon, Golden Alburnus, Purpledescent, Blue Back Herring and Caribbean Shad.
7. Terminator® Walking Frog
Terminator’s Walking Frog was designed tip to tail to convert blow-ups into hook-ups.
“A good frog needs more than just a fancy paint job,” says DeFoe. “It needs to walk right on every cast and its hooks and weight need to stay out of each other’s way.”
Designed for both heavy cover and open water, the Terminator Walking Frog features lifelike detail from nose to skirt. Tail-weighted to increase casting distance and stability on the retrieve, it features a custom VMC frog-gap hook.
An ability to shed water in between casts is another feature that sets apart the Walking Frog. A water-logged frog is hobbled by added weight and unbalanced action, throwing off its cadence and causing big bass to take a pass.
Measuring three inches long, the Terminator Walking Frog weighs 11/16 oz. It comes in eight color patterns: White Camo, Cocoa Camo, Black Camo, Hot Mud Camo, Brown Leopard, Yellow Leopard, Lime Leopard and Green Leopard.
8. Arashi® Top Walker
A long-glide walk-the-dog action, a powerful wake and a multiple-rattle sound combine to help the Arashi Top Walker call in the biggest bass from the farthest distances.
“It’s the best walk-the-dog bait, by far,” says Brandon Palaniuk, a five-time Bassmaster Classic qualifier. “It’s going to up my odds of putting more fish in the boat.”
Available in both a 4 1/4- and 5 1/8-inch size, the Top Walker strides true even when retrieved fast, having been purpose-built to eliminate the missed opportunities all too common with lesser top-water options. Rotated hook hangers, a feature of all baits in the Arashi line-up, ensure that all of the Top Walker’s three sticky-sharp VMC trebles will grab fish and not let go.
The 4 1/4-inch Top Walker weighs 3/4 of an ounce. The 5 1/8-inch model weighs 1 1/8th ounces. Both models come in ten color patterns, most of them slightly translucent: Green Gold Shad, Hot Blue Shad, Pearl Ayu, Bluegill, Blue Back Herring, Wakasagi, Ghost Hitch, Pro Blue, Ghost Pearl Shad and Black Silver Shad.