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Early Winter Fishing with X-Rap Otus

“Sometimes there’s a thin line between insanity and success. This is MY, story about those cold, icy November days, when fishing over deep water. Hours and hours of waiting, hours of struggle. But in the end, it is all worth it.”

Preparation is the key

The snow squeaks under my boots as I’m loading our gear into the boat. It’s November. Am I crazy?

The temperature is minus 2 degrees Celsius and the cold air makes my breath visible. To squeeze in the last fishing before the winter comes, I have gathered the most crazy and dedicated fishermen for this.

-Hey man! Did you pack that mechanic spray oil? We’ll be needing it for our rods and reels today.

With a smile I’ve got a short answer back. -Of course, mate…Of course…

When fishing in these hard conditions, it is good to spray your rods and reels with some mechanics lube, since it prevents most of the ice from stacking up and freezing your reel or the tips of your rods.

Our bags are filled with warm spare clothing, some hot drinks and, of course, sweets. The heaviest rods and most reliable reels are laying on the side of the boat. And there, tucked away in the back, couple of boxes with the X-Rap® Otus from Rapala. Leader, tools and a small plastic bag filled with first aid stuff – with everything in order, we are on our way!

It’s been snowing all night and piles of snow is already stacked up on the side of the roads as we are passing by. We are hitting a special distance of our home river today - deeper and darker parts with a depth down to 25 meters. Tomorrow there is an even deeper, darker and more exciting lake! So will our third day be, as we are looking into a system of three smaller lakes with running water in between.

But they all have a couple of crucial things in common: high amounts of stacked up baitfish, covered by great depth, along with breams, whitefish and big predators!

Fishing with the X-Rap Otus

Why and when to fish with the X-Rap® Otus?

We all know that the lure selection is incredible various and big out there and there’s so many different baits and lures to choose from, that you can easily lose your mind. Everyone has their own favorite - a this has always worked -kind of lure.

Maybe you haven’t tried out the X-Rap Otus from Rapala yet. What if you suddenly got yourself a new favorite and could catch even more fish?

The X-Rap® Otus is a hybrid bait, which means that the body is made from ABS and the tail from soft PVC materials. It comes in two sizes: 25cm and 90 gram that is perfect when you are chasing bigger predators, and the (new for 2019) 17 cm and 40 grams version for downsizing or chasing multi species.

Both models have a 6-point stainless plate tail locking system and the system secures the tail in a way that works great. The X-Rap Otus comes with a Replacement Tail and is fitted with the VMC Coastal black treble hooks.

The Otus is a slow sink hybrid with a wide tail, and it has a side-to-side body roll. One of its greatness in my opinion, is when the X-Rap Otus is being fished pelagically over great depth: the body sinks totally horizontally and the tail pulses and dances its way down in the water-columns.

If this has caught your interest, I would definitely recommend you take a look at this link... X-Rap® Otus.

The color range will make your decision hard, because they are all so freaking cool! But we all got our own favorites for different situations.

Even though I prefer fishing with my Otus in colder conditions over deeper areas, there is nothing stopping you from using it in shallow areas during spring, summer and autumn. Cast the Otus over those grassy areas in your favorite shallow bay, and with the RIP adapter and the weights from the RIP system you can easily weigh your Otus down to the depth of your choice.

The Chase

-Anyone else freezing?

All three of us nod quietly. I’ve lost track of time - are we still at the river and what day is it?

The fishing has been slow, like really slow. We have been fighting our ways through the snow and ice in our rods and from fast melting to more rainy conditions. Then, somebody panics and cries out loud: -FISH! Or… No, I got stuck.

We have already lost count on those endless casts, but I guess that’s the life of a November angler, right?

There´s those thoughts again... A thin line between success or insanity.

A short moment later, we made a quick move to our next place. -There use to be a lot of breams in this area, hope they are here today.

We’re checking the sonar closely to see if something turns up. There is a turnaround in the current on this spot, and it usually gathers all sorts of baitfish and foods in the water. Closer to shore we managed to spot a bigger group of breams on the side-image view. The drop-off is severe and goes down to 22 meters.

-There must be some pikes standing around here! Let’s give it some hours.

X-Rap® Otus Scaled Roach (SCRR) is one of many favorite colors when fishing with the X-Rap Otus and its orange belly is a bit extra triggering on those slow days. Rigged with the Rip-adapter and a 25 grammer I was ready to go. To fish this particular spot, we placed us just one cast-length away from the drop-off and tried to fish our baits just above the swimming breams. Fishing the Otus with extreme slow retrieve and long pauses gave it as much time as possible in the strike zone.

A couple of casts later I felt it! -Yes, fish! I´m hooked up mate! Get the net, just in case.

Here she comes. Are you ready buddy?

Seconds later the pike was safely laying in the net.

-Jesus, this fish has her weight in hours and days, that’s for sure.

It wasn’t the biggest fish, but at that point it didn’t matter. The pelagic strike she gave was like an explosion through my cold and chilled body. I was warm again as the adrenalin was pumping.

-She has quite a big head mate, look at that Otus! Ha ha, she has inhaled it whole.

The slow retrieve and the pelagic fishing in November with a tail-bait such as the X-Rap® Otus tends to give the predator some time to follow the lure. Otus has barbells inside of the ABS-body that sometimes can be that little extra for the pike to advance and just inhale the bait totally in their strike!

-Well, I’m diving in buddy! Can you pass me the long pliers please?

Let’s give this lady a quick picture and let her get back in.

Her head was definitely bigger than her body, maybe she was a slow eater or something else that may have disturbed her metabolism. Usually this time of year they tend to be much fatter than this.

-Back she goes! Whew, that’s was nice.

The sun was about to go down soon, and we had to wrap it up. It had been some cold, long, tired, and exhausted days. Fun days for sure. A lot of crazy conversations, laughter and jokes. I took a last look at my phone.

-Well it seems like we are in for some ice and winter next week, guys!

In the back of the mirrors, we left the open water behind us as the car drove away. Until next spring…