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Perch Tackle Talk, Rapala Shadow Rap

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If you take the time to watch a dying or wounded bait fish, you will notice the distinct pauses it makes before its next surge of energy. The Shadow Rap series perfectly mimics this action that prove irresistible to predators, that suspended pause which so often triggers the strike the Rapala factory hand tune every bait to ensure out of the box performance however dependant on where you are in the world and the species you target there are elements that you need to take into account to ensure you get the most out of these unique baits. In this article I am going to look into those subtle changes, the tackle you need to fish the baits effectively and the techniques to get the results you want.

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Lures: the shadow rap family contains 5 members 

 

These delicate looking twitch baits (jerk baits if you’re from across “the pond”) are slim in profile constructed from a plastic body containing tungsten and steel weights to aid both casting and balance, the whole range is finished in a variety of translucent and holographic finishes that when combined with that twitch and tight turn provide that flash of a bait fish eluding a predator.

The critical factor, or should I say trigger, with these baits is that pause when the bait briefly suspends motionless in the water enticing that following predator to seize the opportunity and strike, however to get to this stage you need to have balanced tackle so let’s work from the lure back.

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Pause/suspension, sink/rise rates can be exacerbated with subtle changes to your gear. if you need to add a wire trace to your bait due to the presence of toothy critters such as pike in you chosen venue, it will dramatically affect the lures action - it will instantly sit nose down and it`s rise/suspension will change into a slow sink just from the weight of the clip and swivels. To combat this, I firstly remove the split ring from the eye of the lure. The difference this small change makes is instantly noticeable. Next, I use 30cm of knotable nylon coated stainless steel leader with a loop in each end and a small clip. In turn this is connected via a loop to loop connection to 6ft of fluorocarbon leader which is connected to my braid via the FG knot, this knot minimises resistance and allows smooth casting through the rod rings. Braid-wise I personally use a rounder braid as I like how it sits on my bait caster reel, which incidentally is a Shimano Aldebaran combined with a Shimano Expride 166 rated 7-21g. I prefer a reel with a quicker ratio as it picks up the slack line between the jerk and pause allowing you to be in contact with the lure for the majority of the retrieve. The rod is chosen for two reasons - it is stiff enough to impart the action into the lure whilst sensitive enough to enjoy smaller perch and not pull hooks; the second factor is length as I don’t want the tip of the rod to be slapping the water with every sweeping motion.

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Imparting the correct action into the bait is essential as you are imitating that wounded or dying baitfish we spoke of earlier. Using the above combination of tackle I make a long cast to the area I have located the fish and with the rod at 90 degrees to my body, and I make two to three downward sweeps of the rod picking up the slack line created between each sweep whist returning the rod to the 90 degree point. After these twitches, vary your pause times to allow the bait to rise and try to make your final twitch more aggressive as this will cause the bait to glide to one side presenting the predator with a nice irresistible side on target. The takes most commonly come on these pauses and you need to concentrate watching the line ready to sweep that rod down and past your body to set the hooks.

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All the best,

Matt Boast