Whether your treasure on the water is colored gold, bronze or silver, the X-Rap by Rapala (www.rapala.com) marks the spot for great fishing.
My experience with crankbaits has been limited; being predominately a river angler has restricted my usual arsenal to jigs and soft plastics which are comparatively inexpensive to most other lures. Crankbaits, for my style of fishing, have typically been reserved for those times that I'm trolling for walleyes on a summer breakline or working an area that is relatively snag-free.
This spring, like last year, I vowed to add a few new lures to my arsenal, and use those underutilized ones collecting dust in my tacklebox. The X-Rap -"the extreme-action slashbait"- was one such lure. Why I waited until now to employ it as a standard is beyond me.
In the past I had caught several nice largemouth bass on it at a local reservoir two years ago and a number of pike last season. The X-Rap cranked well, responded to each snap of the rod and gave a good performance in the role of a stunned and dying baitfish.
Making good on my promise for this season, the first night we trolled the Grumman into position for some April smallmouth bass fishing, I flung out my offering - a large silver-black X-Rap - into the creek mouth and waited for the splashdown circles to subside.
One turn of the reel handle to gather up the slack and a jerk-jerk-pause got the night started. A 16-inch smallmouth had struck the moment the lure stopped and suspended in the water column. I leaned back on the rod and felt the hook hit jaw - the battle was on. It was a duel that would repeat itself a dozen times in the following hour. That night was only the beginning
While at Devils Lake for some late April pike fishing, I had wandered away from the group looking for active fish on the windward side of the highway. Casting the silver-blue X-Rap out from the rocks, I managed several pike around two pounds, but nothing to get excited about. A few minutes later the report came from across the road, my brother had hooked into a fat 21-inch walleye.
"It just hammered it, right before I started to twitch it toward shore," my brother recounted of the violent strike; "I was sure it was a pike," he continued. Though it was the only walleye of the trip, we were all convinced of the X-Rap's capabilities as a multi-species trigger.
That triggering power lies in the presentation of the lure. It doesn't boast the obvious wiggle of Rapala's other lures such as the Original Floater or the Shad Rap. What it does have is an action that mimics a spastic baitfish either fleeing from predators or dying in front of them. The action comes from a combination of the angler's will and the body of the bait. It is meant to be worked in an erratic fashion, manipulated like a puppet with the angler as the puppeteer. A jerk-pause retrieve triggers bites, and can be sped up or slowed down or adjusted in length to the preference of the fish.
Coming in a multitude of patterns, the X-Rap can match most any forage species such as minnows, perch and shiners, or draw strikes with attractor hues of orange, pink and blue.
The elongated profile is perfect for setting off big game fish that feed on baitfish of similar size and shape. In sizes ranging from three-and-one-eighth, to almost six inches in standard, jointed, topwater and deep models, there is a size and a style for every species of fish from white bass to northern pike. The X-Rap is now a "must-have" in my tacklebox
Give one a try this season; it just might be the key to unlocking a treasure trove of success…in our outdoors.