Lure fads come and go, but fish still fall for the Original Floating Rapala. And they always will.
“To me, it’s the purest form of an artificial lure that there is,” says Bassmaster Elite Series pro Bernie Schultz. “It’s got that classic baitfish profile with a built-in, erratic action that will look like a struggling baitfish and signal vulnerability. Those are key components when you’re trying to fool fish — whether they’re in a feeding mood or not.
Bass and other gamefish have fallen for Original Floating Rapalas since they burst onto the American fishing scene in the early 1960s through an article in the famous Marilyn Monroe issue of Life magazine. And the lures that launched the Rapala revolution remain productive, especially in clear water in spring and early summer. Remembering that gives Schultz an advantage over anglers, he says.
“This time of year, I’ve always got one tied on any time I’m fishing clear water,” he says. “I’m throwing something that most anglers aren’t throwing. So by the time six or eight anglers go down the same shoreline, those fish have repeatedly seen the same lures. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone behind those guys with an Original Floater and cleaned up.”
Whether twitched on top as a surface bait, retrieved as a shallow runner, weighted with a split shot for medium depth or bottom-walked off a three-way swivel or bottom bouncer, the Original Floating Rapala’s wounded-minnow action continues to be irresistible to fish of all species, including bass, walleye, pike and crappie.
In the spring, Schultz often targets bass spawning beds with an Original Floater. “Bass are very territorial and they’re very protective against panfish — trying to keep them from interfering with their spawning activity,” he explains. Cast the Floater beyond the bed and work it slowly through the area, imparting subtle action.
“Throw it out there and wait for the impact rings to dissipate,” Schultz instructs. “Then twitch it a couple times and then let it float back up and sit. The idea is to get movement without the bait moving forward, and keep it in the strike zone. That’s the key — 90 percent of the strikes happen when the bait’s sitting almost still on the surface, or when you first move it after it’s been paused.”
Outside of the spawning season, target shallow cover near current, either wind-induced or natural. Shallow rock, wood and vegetation will all hold fish looking to ambush prey.
“If I’m working specific targets — like stumps or beds, lily pad stems or cypress knees or something — I’m going to reel in once I’m past the target and throw it again, either at that same target, or to another one,” Schultz says. “But if I can’t really see the cover and the fish could be anywhere — in submerged grass, scattered pads, eel grass — I’ll work it back closer to the boat before I reel in and make another cast.”
All Original Floating Rapalas are constructed of balsa wood and hand-tuned and tank-tested to ensure their world-renowned action, straight from the box. They feature premium black-nickel VMC treble hooks.
For the best results, fish an Original Floating Rapala on a 6-foot, 10-inch to 7-foot, 2-inch medium to medium-light action spinning rod spooled with 8- to 12-pound-test monofilament line. Schultz favors Sufix Superior mono. Fluorocarbon line is not advised for most floating lures, because it sinks. And if you start downsizing lures, “you gotta lighten up on the line to make the lure act right,” Schultz advises. “You can restrict the mobility the lure has using heavier line with smaller baits.”
If the #14, pike pattern is not the best ever, then I’m very lucky. 3 years ago, it landed my wife and I back to back 44 & 48 inch Tiger Muskies. Since then, a few more including a 25 pounder as well as some awesome Walleyes. Casting, trolling or just playing around, the original is incredible! Please offer it in an X-Rap…I promise, I’m a catch & release guy, I’ll leave some fish for everybody else-
how do one get a rapala shirt like the one in the pitcher above.
Thanks for the question Robert! This is Tournament Jersey specifically made for Bernie. Unfortunately it is not sold separately.
You can Go to the Ranger boats website and “build” and buy a tournament shirt with Your name. Its not the Rapala shirt but they are nice tournament shirts. Same style….
I quit buying rapalas , I can no linger find the fluorescent orange countdowns and floating. unfortunately I buy storms because they have a color that is close to the fluorescent orange I can no longer find in rapalas. very disappointed , the countdown is my all time favorite the color selection available does not seem to work where I fish. if I am wrong about the availability of this color please tell me how to find it.
I’ve been a die hard fisherman for over 30 years now, starting to fish over 100 days a year when I was 11 or 12. I’ve always had great success with the original Rapala as well as the countdown series.
There is one thing changing that though…. it seems to be almost impossible to find the “original” colors I want. I pretty much throw the original blue/silver, black/gold & perch colors. Last few time I went to buy some replacements I was shocked that those colors are either changed, discontinued or not in stock. I am not a fan of the newer color combinations and have not had anywhere near the catch rate with them as I do with the original color combos.
I still fish every chance I get and though I am no longer physically able to fish 12-24 tournaments per year I still fish between 2-6. I have my youngest son addicted to bass fishing and take out a lot of kids who I either coach or have coached in the past. I’ve been a youth football & wrestling coach for 15 years now even though I am not able to physically participate in any sport due to a few nasty medical issues.
I forgot to mention one other issue I have been having with all floating Rapalas…. the plastic lip seems to be nowhere near as durable as they used to be. I must have a dozen Rapala original floaters that have broken lips. Some have broken for no reason, others have broken after an overshot cast when they hit the bank and bounced off of a rock. I still have a few that are well over 20 years old and they never have exhibited this issue.
We suggest contacting Rapala Consumer Service in regards to this concern. Thanks!
I am very disapointed that I can no longer find the MAX RAP in the Canadian market. Are we as fishermen being manipulated in favour of other Rapala products or is this a genuine shortage?
Jim, Thanks for the question. Unfortunately the Max Rap has been discontinued. You may have some luck searching online auctions sites however. They can be great places to locate hard to find or discontinued lures.
Thank you for the email. Unfortunately the Max Rap has been discontinued.
the gold fluorescent red countdown was changed to the scatter rap a few years ago BIG mistake doesn’t work nearly as well Rapala should know by now When somethings already perfect it’s impossible to make it better