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Darren.

Cranks: Rapala Best?

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Hey all-

I've never had a "lot" of success with cranks, traps, etc. Some, not a lot. Mainly a soft plastics guy, at times jigs, etc.

So... Both reading around online and having face-to-face chats with guys who recommend cranks all the time -- Rapala DT, Shad Raps get some big props for having best wiggle, higher catch rates.

I'd like to keep the discussion to "affordable" cranks. For me that means $5 and down. I'll never buy a megabass, a Lucky Craft, etc., as they're out of my price range. Rapala cranks are around $8, but are decent price-wise when on sale.

Brands I have/have used: Bomber, Bandits, Norman, BPS, Strike King

The Q: Those of you who have several brands of cranks, including Rapala, are they generally more productive for you than the others (I'm including deep divers, shallow, etc)?

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The Rapala Shad Rap is on darn near everyone's top five list for cold water cranks. Well worth the price, and if you can get them on sale it's a no-brainer. B)

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In short....for me, no, they are not more productive. Are they good baits? Sure, but there are just as good or better for less.

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Don't overthink it. I have had success with Bomber, Bandit, Norman and Strike King. My preference is Bomber but thats just my opinion and preference. Buy what you like and can afford...it's more important to choose the right depth, color etc... for the conditions and time of year you will be fishing.

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I think most of us would pick and choose models from among the different brands depending on running depth, action, etc. But JMHO, yes, if you look at their baits as a whole, I think Rapala is as good as any and better than most, even when compared to some of the Japanese brands. Few brands contain so many good/great crankbaits, especially good balsa crankbaits. I chalk that up to the Rapala DT series of crankbaits, with the addition of a few others like the Shad Rap, a classic favorite. BTW, you could do worse if you looked at the latest issue of Bassmaster magazine and bought the crankbaits mentioned in their article on the 10 most sought after crankbaits. Most of them are economical models costing less than $7.

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The rapala in blue/white thats 2'' long is one of my favorites that works too. Here's a list of my favorite cranks i'm old school and stick with what works for me. These are my first go to baits fishing from shore.

1. Rapala 2'' orginal floater in blue / white (nicknamed the "blue max")

2. Bomber Fat A size 05 in red apple craw

3. Manns baby 1 in brown crawdad

4. Norman Thin "N" in chartruce

5. Norman Thin "N" in redear

6. 1/8oz spinnerbait white w/colorado blade with a mister twister split double tail trailer (the trailer needs to be attached in the centerline of the spinnerbait so it runs perfect.)

7. 1/8oz spinnerbait chartruece w/colorado blade with a mister twister split double tail trailer

My presentations do vary too from a slow reel to even a top water reel / pause or a sit and shake it. Don't forget a shot of bass scent too.

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Hey all-

I've never had a "lot" of success with cranks, traps, etc. Some, not a lot. Mainly a soft plastics guy, at times jigs, etc.

So... Both reading around online and having face-to-face chats with guys who recommend cranks all the time -- Rapala DT, Shad Raps get some big props for having best wiggle, higher catch rates.

I'd like to keep the discussion to "affordable" cranks. For me that means $5 and down. I'll never buy a megabass, a Lucky Craft, etc., as they're out of my price range. Rapala cranks are around $8, but are decent price-wise when on sale.

Brands I have/have used: Bomber, Bandits, Norman, BPS, Strike King

The Q: Those of you who have several brands of cranks, including Rapala, are they generally more productive for you than the others (I'm including deep divers, shallow, etc)?

I have had some KILLER DAYS with Strike Kings Series 5 in an unpressured lake. However, Bandits reign supreme in pressured water. I have caught some PIGS on Bandits in cold, pressured water.

You may want to also consider H20 Xpress. Go to Academy Sports website and check out their house-brand. They are about $4 a piece (I've seen them for $.88 on sale :eyebrows: ), and they catch fish. FLAT OUT CATCH FISH!!!!!! They are about all I use anymore. I love their square bills, but their deep divers get all chewed up by the deep bass up here. Great finishes, too. Try them. They are awesome for the money!

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I mainly use Rapala, BPS, Bandit and Bomber. Out of those four, I can't say that Rapala's cranks are any better than the rest of them.

Just like so many others have mentioned, I fish what I can afford.

I think if I had to pick one, it would definitely be BOMBER. Love those cranks!! To me, those are affordable as well as dependable!!

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H20 Express cranks are one of my go to baits. The fish like them, and my wallet loves them. Megastrike is season with what he said about them.

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As much as I hate to say it the Rapala's just seem to work too well for me! (The reason I hate saying it, kind of feels like the Curado vs. Revo discussion.) I have had good success with Bandits, great crank. Also, the BPS Nitro series I have done well on. Those brands, and what "Bait Monkey," has told me to get, haha!

I use to STINK at crankbait fishing! I mean, I might as well been using a Flying lure to catch an Alien. Then, the DT's hit, I tried them and knocked them out.

For me, it seems to be the color patterns are what pull me to one brand over the other. I really like the Rapala colors, they seem to be a little "Sharper," then other brands. My two favorite colors are the yellow perch and more importantly Helsinki shad are just DYNAMITE! The darker back of the HS with a tint of purple almost at 4 plus feet on a fast retrieve! (Oops, I mean dont pay attention to that last sentence.)

Funny store real fast, i was fishing a tournament with a DT6 Helsinki shad, I was committed to that lure for the day. First cast, 5lb bass, my boater was shocked with I yelled for the net right away. Caught a couple more bass on the HS DT6, and I knew I needed one more good 3+lb. Well, as I finished that thought a good size shadow came up close to the boat and took the HS DT6. I was soo exicted because that was the size fish I was looking for. Well, it ended up being a catfish, I could not believe he chased it that far.

I have faith in the Rapalas and their colors, that's why I like them. A lot of fishing is being confident in what you are using.

I think BPS has the DT's during their Spring Fishing classic for $5, if I remember correctly.

Wdy

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Don't overthink it.

Good advice. I've been using crankbaits for 40+ years and I've used many brands, almost all of which catch fish. It's extremely difficult to say some are better than others because it would take a huge amount of fish caught, over a long period of time, under controlled conditions, to really make a valid determination.

Having said that, I have more confidence in the Shad Rap than any other crankbait, but that's probably more of a mental thing. Of course, it catches fish, but I can't have a way of knowing how other baits would've done if I were using them instead.

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H20 Express cranks are one of my go to baits. The fish like them, and my wallet loves them. Megastrike is season with what he said about them.

Yep the H2O xpress cranks are the front runners in my tackle box these days.

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As much as I hate to say it the Rapala's just seem to work too well for me! (The reason I hate saying it, kind of feels like the Curado vs. Revo discussion.) I have had good success with Bandits, great crank. Also, the BPS Nitro series I have done well on. Those brands, and what "Bait Monkey," has told me to get, haha!

I use to STINK at crankbait fishing! I mean, I might as well been using a Flying lure to catch an Alien. Then, the DT's hit, I tried them and knocked them out.

For me, it seems to be the color patterns are what pull me to one brand over the other. I really like the Rapala colors, they seem to be a little "Sharper," then other brands. My two favorite colors are the yellow perch and more importantly Helsinki shad are just DYNAMITE! The darker back of the HS with a tint of purple almost at 4 plus feet on a fast retrieve! (Oops, I mean dont pay attention to that last sentence.)

Funny store real fast, i was fishing a tournament with a DT6 Helsinki shad, I was committed to that lure for the day. First cast, 5lb bass, my boater was shocked with I yelled for the net right away. Caught a couple more bass on the HS DT6, and I knew I needed one more good 3+lb. Well, as I finished that thought a good size shadow came up close to the boat and took the HS DT6. I was soo exicted because that was the size fish I was looking for. Well, it ended up being a catfish, I could not believe he chased it that far.

I have faith in the Rapalas and their colors, that's why I like them. A lot of fishing is being confident in what you are using.

I think BPS has the DT's during their Spring Fishing classic for $5, if I remember correctly.

Wdy

Helsinki shad is just another in the long line of Sexy Shad imitations. I have the exact opposite opinion when it comes to Rapala colors, and I think that they are a little primitive in most of their color selections. Admittedly, I don't use many Rapalas because I think that I can get a better bang for my buck with Bomber, Strike King and BPS baits. I buy Lucky Craft and Xcalibur as well, but I've found great value in the KVD 1.5, Red Eye Shad, Fat Free Shad, Fat Free Fry and various series of the BPS brands.

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Wow, guys, some really good answers here. Thanks, and keep 'em coming. Plenty for me to chew on.

I realize this isn't a scientific question, it's all subjective. I've just been picking up the "Rapala Vibe" from a lot of sources lately and wanted to submit it to the broader selection of anglers here. The experience on these boards is very impressive!

The H20 Xpress cranks have me interested. They look really nice on the web site.

I use to STINK at crankbait fishing! I mean, I might as well been using a Flying lure to catch an Alien. Then, the DT's hit, I tried them and knocked them out.

That pretty much sums me up, although I wouldn't say I stink at it...LOL, but I definitely need some cologne to make me better.

And I'm still wrestling with the "confidence" thing. I understand it in my heart, but my head says its a bunch of hooey that if I have confidence in a bait, I'll catch fish. Does my confidence somehow ooze or reverberate through my rod into my line, into the lure, to the fish and the fish says, "well doggone, that boy done gots confeedence in this here lure, so I'ma just gonna bite it for 'im".... Know what I mean, Vern?

Guess it's the magic of bass fishing. 'Nother topic, I suppose.

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I have caught a lot of fish on Rapala Shad Rap's. But I am not going to say that they are the best.

I have caught more fish on them then any other crankbait but that is because I had only used Rapala and a few other low quality brands and always reached for the Rapala b/c the other brands were not very good. Since I have ventured into Lucky Craft and several other high quality (and money) crankbaits I have done as good if not better then when I used Rapala.

In the last couple years the price of Rapala's has gone up and the newer versions rival Spro and Lucky Craft in price so its hard to label Rapala's as a low cost crankbait but when you can pick them up in the Spring Fishing Classic for $5 or so then they are pretty hard to beat.

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Helsinki shad is just another in the long line of Sexy Shad imitations. I have the exact opposite opinion when it comes to Rapala colors, and I think that they are a little primitive in most of their color selections. and Xcalibur as well,

Yeah, I do have to agree the color selection on some Rapala lines leaves something to be desired. Xcalibur, I cant believe I forgot that line of cranks. The blue back w/ chartreuse side, a real killer in VA.

Well, I stunk with cranks, as in never catching a bass on a crankbait. I needed a cologne shower!!! hahah! Mr. DT fixed that problem. After I caught some fish on them, I was able to piece together rights and wrongs fishing a crank to become better.

It also seems to me, everyone "learns," a crankbait. Meaning, we get better at fishing with it and become efficient/productive with working the lure and know how the lure will behave.

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Yeah, I do have to agree the color selection on some Rapala lines leaves something to be desired. Xcalibur, I cant believe I forgot that line of cranks. The blue back w/ chartreuse side, a real killer in VA.

Well, I stunk with cranks, as in never catching a bass on a crankbait. I needed a cologne shower!!! hahah! Mr. DT fixed that problem. After I caught some fish on them, I was able to piece together rights and wrongs fishing a crank to become better.

It also seems to me, everyone "learns," a crankbait. Meaning, we get better at fishing with it and become efficient/productive with working the lure and know how the lure will behave.

I can appreciate this. I would love to find the lure that "fixes" the problem for me. Or at least gets me started in the confident in crankbaits direction. I've caught some bass, plenty of chain pickerel on cranks, but not enough to become confident to tie one on regularly. I don't have great expectations tying on a Bandit, a Bomber, etc. I know I'll throw it, retrieve it, throw it again "knowing" there are fish looking at it.

Maybe Mr. DT will be an answer for me to become a better cranker. In the mean time, toss me a GYCB Senko, or a Zoom finesse worm and I'll show ya confidence! :eyebrows:

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I like Xraps, and the DT Fat's...............are they the best?? IDK...I don't like the Xraps for a cold water, long pausing jerkbait, but as an aggressive bait they are very very good. The DT fats are one of the best "grass" square bills I have used, but they are not immune to bill issues like the deep diving DT's. One of the reasons I tend to keep them out of hard cover like wood/rock/docks. I used to use the deep DT's, and they all caught fish too, but I never had one that didn't end up with a broken bill. Personally I like Strike King stuff....not too expensive, there is not a bait they make that has not caught me both numbers and size, and, if I can keep the pike off them, they last forever. There stock hooks on the XD's, KVD's, and RES's are "good enough", for a few fish at least, and get changed when needed. The stock hooks on the rest of there baits stink and get changed ASAP.

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I wouldn't say Rapalas are better than the others, but they have some great cranks in models others just don't have. The shad rap, taildancer, crankin' rap, fat rap, and DT are some great lures. I say carry them all, because they all catch fish and they all work better than others in certain conditions. The rapala colors are awesome as well.

I really miss the rattlin' fat rap and wish they would bring it back.

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One thing I like to do with cranks when fishing them is to use a Rapala knot. It is a loop knot tied on about 2-4 inches up from the lure, frees up the lure to a more realistic action.

Ok, with all this talk about fishing, where is my rod and reel? Let's go catch something boys!!

Wdy

PS Darren, I sent you a PM.

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One thing I like to do with cranks when fishing them is to use a Rapala knot. It is a loop knot tied on about 2-4 inches up from the lure, frees up the lure to a more realistic action.

I use a duo lock style snap, no swivel. Or Norman Lures Speed Clips. I realize there are purists who say never use a snap. I've read even KVD uses snaps at times with his cranks. I've tried the Rapala knot. That's all I can say, no opinion really, other than with a snap I can change out styles, types, colors of hard plastics w/o retying.

PM'd you back, Wdy.

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For me, the thing about the Rapalas that keep me coming is the quality. I never have to change the hooks with regularity, and they have almost always ran true out of the box for me. Sure, I have caught fish on other cranks, but I usualy have to tune the other cranks just to get them to run correct and I have to change the hooks after 10-15 fish. Doing that gets old and it has gotten to the point where I abhore the thought of having to tune the crank right out of the box so I stick with Rapala when selecting lures in the <$8 dollar range.

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Good cranks under $5? That's easy. Rapala Crankin' Rap #5, #10 & #14 in Helsinki shad and a Norman DD22 in chartreuse shad. Where I fish those 4 cover the water column well, are under $5 each and will catch fish.

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This thread has nearly convinced me to go to the BPS sale and throw money on some $5 Rapala DT cranks. I don't know, we'll see. Lifetime, I've only had modest success with crankbaits with a couple of notable exceptions.

I think the Shad Rap should be put in its own category of "finesse cranking". I've never had any luck on a Shad Rap unless I used 8 lb line on spinning gear and a 6 1/2 or 7 foot medium light graphite rod.

I've caught a number of big (6 lb +) fish on crankbaits in and around standing timber and trees in 14 to 25 feet of water. All of these fish have happened using heavier line, generally some 14 lb abrasion resistant mono or fluorocarbon and all of them using a Timber Tiger DC 13 or 16. The ability of this crankbait to smack into trees and then bounce over or around them and not get stuck is amazing.

Another subset of cranking is throwing 1/2 ounce or larger square bills in 7' or less water around cover or weeds using 17 or 20 lb line. There are lots of different square bills out there for this application that all work good. My current fave is a Timber Tiger DC8.

Anyway, I think when the subject of "best crankbait" comes up, the very next question has to be "Best at what?"

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Rapala makes some good baits, no doubt about it. Just about every one I know has an old blue/silver rapala floating minnow stashed away somewhere in their tackle box. When the fishing gets tough, break out one of those on a medium action spinning rod and you WILL get bit. That old floating minnow and a senko are about as close to "money" as you can get, when the bite gets tough

However, more often than not, the castability of the Rapala balsa baits has pushed them to the backburner for me. If I'm fishing vast, open water the casting distance on those baits is prohibitive for me.

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