Mikko Seppänen on new predator lures
As a Swedish citizen with rich Finnish roots, I found myself in the homeland of Rapala quite often visiting my grandparents. From casting Original Floaters upstream with my grandfather at a young age, I went on to tease slow pike with Jointeds and getting to the pike in heavy cover with Weedless Minnow Spoons. My love for the brand that was a big contributor to my grandfather’s fishing success was also a big influence on my growth as a tournament pike angler.
Early in 2016, Rapala approached me for my opinion on three new predator lures that they had in development – what a dream come true! To be able to affect design and action to suite my style of fishing and what I need from a pike lure to succeed in different conditions in my hunt for big fish is like tailoring my own lures for my very own hunt. The versatility, action and colors of the new trio is spot on and I long to finally see these lures hit the market for everyone to enjoy. So the big question on your lips now is probably… what are they?
The all new Super Shadow Rap is a true jerkbait; but with the inclusion of a tiny lip, the lure can also serve you as an easy to retrieve crankbait. At 16cm it imitates a large, high profile baitfish like a big roach or a small bream which makes the Super Shadow Rap a given target for big pike. When cranking I mainly use a slow presentation with pauses in shallow to medium deep water as if it were a cruising baitfish. This gives a highly visible silhouette from a side view. In warm water or to trigger passive pike into striking, I occasionally burn it fast. Where the SSDR really stands out is when twitching like you would a jerkbait. It’s easy to get an erratic movement, but with practice you can master it by making the lure complete 180 degree turns, or dance it from side to side on the spot like you can with the smaller Shadow Raps. It’s a super effective and very fun lure to fish for both beginners and advanced anglers all year around by adapting the technique to suit the conditions.
The second fits into the X-Rap family. The X-Rap Peto is a hybrid swimbait with a hard body and a soft tail kept in place by a strong stainless plate. The plate design prevents the tail from rotating and holds it firmly in place. Besides fishing it in skinny waters, I love to use the Peto for dropping in deeper pockets and pelagic fishing over deep water. It’s even great at night time due to its fish-pulling silhouette visible when fish are looking up towards the sky. The smooth rolling belly flash and wide kicking tail is a proven pattern for big pike. The design and balance of the X-Rap Peto allows you to fish it super slow in cold water without losing action, but you can also burn it really fast as a reaction bait in warm conditions without it losing stability. Slowly sinking at first makes it ideal for shallow water. With a longer pause it starts diving down, making it also a great lure for deeper water. With much greater durability and better hookset due to the hard body, the X-Rap Peto is a great alternative to soft plastic shads.
That brings me to the third, and possibly most unique of them all.
Every pike angler needs a lure with great castability to cover waste areas of water when searching for fish; a tournament bait with a superior hookset for occasions where every fish counts, and a versatile “do-anything” lure for multiple depths or various wind conditions – introducing the X-Rap Scoop. Featuring dual hooks for a high percentage hookset with a slow, wide rolling action. This bait gives the impression that it’s bigger than it is, which is great for attracting big pike, but yet in a compact and easy to cast design. I’ve had great success with steady retrieve over shallow bays with an occasional sweep of the rod to make the Scoop dart to the side. I really love to use it in deeper water with a stop-and-go method, or count it down to the desired depth. Often the strikes comes while it’s sinking, as the X-Rap Scoop falls with a sexy waft as it descends.
The period of testing has been intense with focus on a variety of waters and conditions. Warm, cold, shallow and deep waters have been covered. Rivers, lakes and the archipelago has been targeted. Even pelagic and night fishing for pike has been tested with great success. A couple of catches worth mentioning is a beautiful 119cm 11,8kg pike on the SSDR from a heavily pressured water. These seasoned pike have seen them all and a slowly cranked SSDR tricked her with its subtle swimming action fished close to a school of bream.
On a warm summer night I was pelagic fishing the X-Rap Peto sub-surface as a silhouette bait, successfully pulling several big pike from the depths with a 9kg+ as the top fish. Another evening I was fishing the Scoop over 10m of water with stop and go method when something hit it hard on the drop. Shortly after a new personal best Zander at 87cm 6,8kg was in the net opening my mind to explore the Scoop even as a Zander lure.
During the test period I realized how versatile these three new lures are combined. A lure for any situation and water with capabilities to hit both numbers and size. Now I look forward to next season when all the testing is done and it’s time to really put the new Rapala goodies to work!