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Rapala Shad Rap RS04 Review


Product Review: Rapala Shad Rap RS04

By Nathan Parker

Craw Shad Rap RSShad raps are no secret. They’ve been around for decades. People were catching fish of all species on them when I was in diapers. I LOVE those original balsa Shad Raps in the spring, especially the #5 in a craw pattern. But recently, I was introduced to the Shad Rap’s shiny, high-tech baby brother, and I discovered that he’s a pretty good year-round multi-species bet.

First, the differences. This newer, littler Shad Rap RS isn’t made of balsa, so purists should go elsewhere. It’s plastic. It also doesn’t float– it is a suspending model, and that got my wheels spinning all kinds of ways about next winter, but I’ll update on its effectiveness in cold water when we get some around here. It rattles. It’s smaller, in length, than an original shad rap of the same series, but heavier in weight, which makes it a great casting plug for a small crankbait. For example, the #4 RS is only 1 7/8 inches long, weighs 3/16 of an ounce, and I was getting 60-70 foot casts with it with the wind at my back (more on wind in a minute). They’re also a little cheaper than the balsa variety (about a buck per), for what that’s worth (also, about a buck).

Like it’s big wooden brother, the RS dives deeper than you would expect from such a diminutive bait. I was getting it down between 7-9 feet on six-pound Yo Zuri hybrid. Its plastic construction allows for some pretty spectacular color patterns too, though I’ve only used the basic “silver shad” and “natural craw” patterns so far. But enough with the data, Parker you sound like a statistics professor. How’s it fish, you ask?

I put the thing through its paces a week ago on a deep, clear, rocky lake near my home. That lake is home to about 20 species of fish, and I caught almost ½ of them on this bait that day. It caught crappie, catfish, drum, smallmouth, largemouth, and spotted bass, sunfish, and white bass in the three hours I chunked it. If you think it won’t catch big fish because its so darned little, think again– one of the largemouth I caught weighed almost five pounds and I had two white bass over two pounds each. It’s a dynamite fish catcher and the little VMC hooks hold fish pretty good. I had one feisty smallmouth throw the hooks right in front of me, but the 30-some fish I landed on it suggest that was more of a symptom of brown-bass craziness than the fault of the hooks.

Both specimens I threw last week ran straight right out of the box, and while no shad rap thumps hard, I could feel it working and could feel when it changed, usually because a fish had engulfed it. I threw it on a seven-foot medium spinning rod, and that worked fine. I was glad for the extra power when I hooked an eight-pound drum on it, but truthfully, this bait would probably throw better on a seven foot medium light, and that’s what I’ll be using for it from here on out. Six-pound line was perfect, and if you really want to launch it, throw it on a thin superline like Sufix 832 six-pound test with a fluoro leader. It will dig a foot or two deeper that way, too. Casting distance should be improved by throwing with the wind, and that’s where I most suggest fishing this little guy. It’s great for combing rock flats and 45 degree banks that are getting pounded by wind, a typical shad-feeding situation for most game fish, as evidenced by the multi-species bonanza I encountered.

When I first started throwing it and catching lots of fish, it immediately went on the short list of baits I’ll have youngsters who are just learning to fish throw. But when I caught a five-pound bass on it on the first day, it moved to the short list of baits I’ll be tying on my own rods when the wind is blowing. Try one out, and I think you’ll find the same thing.

The Rapala Shad Rap RS can be purchase through the Felixfishing.com link at https://www.tacklewarehouse.com/?from=felix


Nathan Parker is a school teacher with a passion for fishing. He resides in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

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