Not only do Rapala’s “Wassup, dock?” billboards bring a smile to anglers driving by, they’re a reminder also that dock fishing is about as good as it gets this time of year. (#wassupdock) Across the Upper Midwest, more fish will be feeding near your dock now, or soon, than most any other time of year.
With water temps warming across the Upper Midwest, bass and crappie are heading shallow to spawn and many post-spawn walleyes remain shallow. Northern pike patrol the shallows too, seeking easy meals. All those fish are within a cast from your dock. And the very bait pictured on Rapala’s “Wassup, dock?” billboard is among your best bets to catch ‘em off your dock – an Original Floating® Rapala®.
“It’s got that classic baitfish profile with a built-in, erratic action that will look like a struggling baitfish and signal vulnerability,” says longtime professional angler Bernie Schultz. “Those are key components when you’re trying to fool fish — whether they’re in a feeding mood or not.”
If you pass a Rapala billboard en route to your cabin, cottage or lake home, chances are good that Original Floating Rapalas will be on hand when you get there – no tackle box or bait shop is complete without them. That’s because the lure that launched the Rapala revolution continues to catch fish of all species, no matter whether you’re a seasoned pro or making your first cast. It’s wounded-minnow action continues to be irresistible to fish of all species, including bass, walleye, pike and crappie.
When fishing from your dock, cast an Original Floating Rapala off to either side, twitching it on the surface near – or reeling it past – shoreline cover like laydowns, brush, reeds, rocks, lily pads and weed edges. Around dawn and dusk, this tactic can tempt both walleyes and smallmouth bass this time of year. Try it in the afternoon and you’re likely to scare up a big pike.
“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.”
If your lake map shows a significant drop-off to deep water within casting distance from the end of your dock, you can tempt clear-water smallmouth up from the depths by twitching an Original Floating Rapala on the surface. Cast past the drop-off and slowly work the bait back towards the edge, pausing between twitches. With even a light breeze to disrupt the water surface, this tactic can be effective any time of day. Vary the length of your pauses between twitches until you determine what will drive the bass to attack.
Docks near deep-water drop-offs offer additional opportunities to catch walleyes with an Original Floating Rapala. To reach medium -depth-dwelling fish, weight your line with a split shot about 12 inches ahead of your bait’s line-tie. To reach even deeper, bottom-walk an Original Floater with a three-way swivel and sinker.
Built from balsa wood for inimitable action, Original Floating Rapalas are 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. If you’ll be fishing mostly shallow, on the surface, spool up with 4 to 10lb Sufix® Elite™, depending on if you are targeting Panfish with the Floater size 3, or casting for shallow Bass or Pike then size up to 10lb Sufix Elite.