Not since the Shad Rap® has a single bait excelled so well at catching both bass and walleye. But Rapala®’s new Shad Dancer is another such multi-species star.
“I would liken it to having the possibility of having the long-term impact of the Shad Rap,” says Al Lindner, legendary co-founder of In-Fisherman and host of the influential Angling Edge and Fishing Edge TV shows. “Lots of fish like this thing. It has a touch of magic. We’ve had extremely good results with it.”
In filming TV shows last spring and summer, Lindner and his partners used Shad Dancers to load their boats with bass and walleye in both rivers and lakes, in North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Northwest Ontario. “It runs at a depth that a lot of fish are at all year long,” he says. “It’s pretty consistent in the high-percentage fish zone.”
Swimming with a silent but aggressive, hard-thumping and sweeping tail action, the Shad Dancer offers the excitement of a Rapala Tail Dancer® in a shad-profile bait. It features a tough balsa body that dives 7 to 10 feet whether cast or trolled. It’s available in 16 color patterns: Live Bluegill, Dark Brown Crawdad, Firetiger, Hot Steel, Helsinki Shad, Live Largemouth Bass, Purpledescent, Live Pumpkinseed, Live River Shad, Silver, Shad, Silver Fluorescent and Chartreuse. It measures 2 inches, weighs 1/4 oz. and comes armed with two No. 6 VMC Black Nickel Round Bend Hooks.
For bass last spring and summer, Lindner had success throwing Shad Dancers in six to eight feet on break-lines where flats transition to deep water – especially around rocks or new weed growth. Position your boat in 12 to 15 feet of water and target the weed edge with your cast. Experiment with quarter casts and parallel casts. Vary your retrieve speed until you find out how fast the fish want it.
“You can pump it with the rod, you can burn it steady, it walks through wood or bushes pretty good and rips off of weeds easy,” Linder says. “And your rod tip is jumping constantly. You can feel that the bait is always fishing – whether it’s super slow or super fast.”
Lindner put walleyes in the boat last season by trolling Shad Dancers in “fairly shallow water” – six to 12 feet. “It’s not what you’d term a ‘traditional walleye shape’ – like a distinct minnow or the standard shapes that everybody’s got in their tackle box,” Lindner says. “But that doesn’t matter, they like it. It’s been a hot walleye bait.”
For both bass and walleye, Lindner throws Shad Dancers on a 7-foot, medium-action spinning combo with 10-pound-test Sufix® fluorocarbon line.