View Full Version : The Rapala How-To

12-01-2008, 02:27 PM
A sniffer IM'd me recently asking about rapalas and how i use them, and i decided to just post it up here for whoever else is unfamiliar with the awesome power of the rapala :D...i'll try to keep it organized and understandable, and if anyone has anything to add, please feel free. I might not remember everything.

First of all i'm gonna cover the sizes...If you're fishing a small river or creek, it's always a good idea to downsize your lure. I use a 1 inch rapala 99 percent of the time while fishing small rivers or creeks. It outproduces anything else i've ever used, not counting jigs. If you're fishing lakes, it's a good idea to go one size bigger, into the 2-3 inch sizes. That is, of course, if you're targeting just all fish in general, and not going for trophy. If you're going deep (trolling with DR's) you might want to go even bigger, for higher visibility and appeal. Having said that, the biggest rapala i own is 6 inches, and the biggest i take trout or bass fishing is 4 inches, and i very very rarely come home without catching any fish. I've actually never got skunked yet when trout fishing...although striper fishing is a whole different story lol >:(

If i was going fishing, didn't know where i was going, and i could choose only one rapala, i would definitely, without a doubt, get a countdown. First of all, the countdown is named so because you can count down the seconds (feet) that it sinks. A countdown sinks exactly one foot per second, so you just count off the seconds til you get to the desired depth, and then retrieve. A countdown is pretty heavy, making even the smallest size very easy to cast, and it is a very versatile lure. You can retrieve it at any depth, and once you figure out what depth the fish are at, you can consistently bring them into shore ;) Now for color.....anytime you're fishing for any fish in waters that hold rainbow trout, i'd suggest to get the rainbow trout color. That is the color that has caught me thousands of fish over the years, and it'll catch any fish that comes near enough to see it. All fish prey on rainbow trout, and they rarely pass up the chance for a snack. If you're fishing stained water, i suggest to get yourself a few lures in the firetiger color. These are also very great and always seem to produce. Other than that, the only other color really worth getting (in my opinion of course) is the vampire minnow. That is a black and white minnow with a red lip, making it look like its bleeding. Probably the best color i've ever used for bass fishing. This lure can be retrieved at very high speeds. That pretty much takes care of the countdown category.

Next up is my favorite bass fishing lure. This is the rapala X-Rap. This is a suspending jerkbait type lure, with a feather on the back treble, which makes the fish go crazy for it. Suspending means when you stop pulling, its gonna neither sink nor float in the water. It's gonna come to a rest exactly where you stopped it. It comes in two sizes (that will actually work for trout and bass) i think the sizes are 2 1/2 and 4 inches. The smaller one is an awesome trout lure, particularly while trolling. The larger one is more of a bass lure, at least to me. I know some people use bigger lures for trout, but i've never had good results with that. Anyway, i'd suggest getting the smaller size xrap in both rainbow and black/white minnow colors. This lure can be retrieved at fairly high speeds. These will be a valuable part of your fishing arsenal.

Next up is the must have jointed rapala. You should get this in both rainbow and firetiger. Vampire minnow is also a great color. The size i'd recommend most is the j-7. It catches the largest amount of trout, and its easy to cast and retrieve. The jointed series is a floating, jointed, minnow shaped lure. This lure is perfect for both casting, and top-lining while trolling. I've caught some very very nice fish with it. It'll catch pretty much any species of predatory fish. These lures have to be retrieved at fairly low speeds, and will swim in circles if retrieved too fast. These are just awesome in the summer for bass, or in the winter for trout. Whenever the fish are on top, this is the go-to lure.

There is also a floating/original rapala. This lure is made out of balsa, and floats when not retrieved. I've caught many fish on it, but the lures above outproduce this lure consistently. Either way, this is still a very good lure that works very well. I'd suggest mainly the rainbow trout color for this lure. Brown trout has also worked for me in the past.

Now for bass or other species fishing, you might want to get into the fat raps, rattle traps, and other great lures that rapala offers, but i won't go into these on the trout board. There are many many colors that rapala sells, and i just listed the main ones. Once you get familiar with rapala, you might want to expand your selection to include colors like brown trout, shiner, hot chub, bluegill and so on. Some people swear by the black/gold color as well, but i've had limited results with that color. I guess in the end it all comes down to people's personal preferences, and their own results with these lures. For anyone starting out with rapalas, i strongly suggest to first buy the above mentioned lures, and once you get those figured out, only then should you expand to other things. Having said that, good luck to anyone and everyone fishing rapalas. You will love them.

P.S. The cheapest rapalas are sold at sportsman's warehouse and wal-mart, and can get costly at other places. Try finding the ones you need at those two places, and then if you don't find them there, get them elsewhere.

P.S.S If you're going stream or small river fishing, pick up some trout magnets at your local wal-mart. These are small little grub looking jigs that catch more stream and small river fish than any other lure or bait that i've ever used. The white/green color is the best, and if not that, then the solid green. All fish seem to love trout magnets, from bluegill, to bass, to trout, to anything else that swims in streams. I've caught stripers, bass, trout, bluegill, squawfish, crappies, catfish, and even carp on them. They're great ;) Oh, and these aren't rapalas. I don't want people going to look for rapala trout magnets lol. Anyway, like i said, if anyone has anything to add, please do.

12-01-2008, 02:36 PM

Hey, thanks man. *

One thing,,,,,,,,not enough to choose from..... * *:D :D :D

Just kidding. Dang, there are tons of rapalas.

12-01-2008, 02:37 PM
i love fishing w/ rapalas.

i recommend this one :) :


12-01-2008, 02:43 PM
Oh, one thing i forgot to mention, for lakes that have high quantities of shad, and where shad is the main food source for fish, a great lure to have is the rapala shad rap, and especially the rapala x-rap shad rap. These should be used pretty much in realistic shad colors, with shiner being my top producer. Very great lure to keep with you at all times on big lakes.

12-01-2008, 03:01 PM
I love to fish Rapalas. Do you use the Rapala knot?

12-01-2008, 03:01 PM
I also use about them selection as you..do you ever apply Pro Cure scent?

12-01-2008, 03:16 PM
i love fishing w/ rapalas.

i recommend this one :) :


Shoot. I'd hollow that bad boy out and use it as a kayak!!! :o

12-01-2008, 03:30 PM
No, i don't use the rapala knot. If i buy a rapala without a ring to attach the line to, i just put my own ring on it that i buy seperately. Most rapalas come with the ring already on the lure, but some are still sold without it. I have my own personal favorite knot that i use for every lure, and it's usually the only one i use. If you buy a rapala without a ring on it, you MUST either put a ring on to tie the line to, or use a rapala knot. Otherwise the action of the lure is gonna be all wrong, and your success will be very limited.

For the pro cure question, i posted a topic on the trout board earlier about using scents on lures. I tried it once, the anise flavor from pro cure, and it completely didn't work. In fact, i couldn't catch a single fish on it. Had to spend a few hours cleaning up all my lures after that to get rid of the smell. Oh, i also tried the rainbow trout flavor, also from pro cure, and it didn't work at all either. Gonna try the trophy trout now, and if that doesn't work, ima give up on scents.

12-01-2008, 03:35 PM
Even with a ring already on the Rapala I either use a rapala knot, or more often I tie a small clip (not a snap swivel, just a clip) on the end of my line and use that to attach my lure. I can change lures more easily this way, and the clip allows that extra bit of action for the lure.

12-01-2008, 03:49 PM
Here is the answer to the next question. The link on how to tie the Rapala Loop



12-01-2008, 03:57 PM
the best pro cure scents are the threadfin shad and shad gels for trout, IMO. Trophy trout is made from tui chubs, so check the area you are going to fish for the predominant forage. Most lakes around here(nor cal)have threadfin shad as bait fish, so I'd reckon those scents that match whatever the trout are chasing after naturally will work best. Ive never had any luck with rainbow trout pro cure either. Anise worked well for the kokes in Berryessa, but not so much for trolling for trouters. Dont give up on the pro cure. as for cleaning the lures, just put the scent on the hooks and youll be watching football and drinking beer after fishing, instead of washing lures. :D

12-01-2008, 04:01 PM
Here is the answer to the next question. The link on how to tie the Rapala Loop


Learn something everyday Thanks .............. ;)


12-01-2008, 04:04 PM
Great info and intro for Rap fishing!

I'd lose the Rapala knot and use Duolock Snaps to connect my leader to the Rapala. Makes changing out lures much easier and you still get great action.

I always change out the split rings and hooks for better quality hardware.

My best lures are the Floating and Jointed. I only use Count Downs for casting.

Best Colors in Order: Black/Gold, Black/Silver, Rainbow, and then the rest. *;)

Best Scent is Trophy Trout and we don't have any Tui Chub and it still works great in all Western Waters!

dinos marine
12-01-2008, 04:12 PM
now thats a great howto ;D i use em too, and have caught many fish. i agree the vampire minnow is a hot color [smiley=thumbsup.gif].
the only thing i may say/add, make sure you use a small clip, or use he rapala knot. i like to use the clips, so i can change colors faster.

12-01-2008, 04:16 PM
Very good. One day I was at amador and messing around. First cast with a little rapala bam.
The rainbow trout supergel isnt meant for trout. Use it on swimbaits for bass. ;)

Also dont forget(if you bass it) about the stacee 90 by lucky craft. I know its pricey but it will catch trout and bass. At the american river ive caught stripers and steelies on the same day, and kokes at folsom. Good read. ;D

12-01-2008, 06:06 PM
I also prefer the Duralock snap. Not only easier to change lures but the Rapala knot can ware out after a while and should be retied more often.
One think I noticed about using CD Raps in streams is that the sink rate seems to change a bunch. For some reason something about the dynamics of the moving water causes them to sink much slower at times then in still water or even suspend. Id guess closer to 2 seconds per foot in moving water.

12-01-2008, 06:55 PM
Ya good observation. Same results, but mostly in streams i don't target quick moving water. I target pools, and slow moving water, normally around some kind of cover.

12-01-2008, 07:43 PM
Ya, loose the rapala knot. It gets weak real fast. Use a duolock snap. No swivel. I use a swivel(spro#10) to attach the leader(P-line floroclear) to the main line(fire line crystal).

Orange and gold, gold and black, silver and black, and rainbow are my favorites to troll with. I have others.

Floaters for shallow water. CDs and BBs for deeper water. I usually run 13's or 18's. Occasionally 9's and 11's.

I usually troll at approx. 3mph, sometimes a little faster or slower depending. Sometimes ripping them or varying boat speed. Making wide or sharp turns.

I like to run two different colored raps, one at approx. 250' and one at 350'. Sometimes 250' and 300'...... :)

12-01-2008, 08:29 PM
Lose the Rapala Knot! Are you serious? I use the Rapala Knot religiously. Yo-zuri 8lb. line with Rapala Knot. I have counted the trout I caught on one rod testing the yo-zuri line w/ the Rapala Knot. 174 trout, 3- hook change outs later, I decided to retie only because the line above the knot was frayed. As for the Rapala, We swear by it. My family and I have caught and released thousands of trout on them. There aren't to many lures that will troll fast or slow like a Rapala.

12-01-2008, 09:16 PM
The Rapala knot is great. Just have to keep an eye on it. It does get some where. That's why i also use the duolock snaps. Makes for easier changes. I have caught trout up at Camanche with f-5's all the way to F-13's. My go to colors are Black / Gold and Orange / Gold in the morning when no sun light. Then Firetiger and Hot Steel are my sun light colors. But i have caught a lot of fish with other colors. Just what ever they want that day. As for Scent. Nothing but Pro-cure Shad Gel or Krill Gel. Just remember to clean them off before putting away.

Robbie (Koke Machine)...

12-02-2008, 10:35 AM
i love fishing w/ rapalas.

i recommend this one :) :


LOL we use that one trolling behind our houseboat at the end of a 10 ft super heavy surf rod. Spend most of the time reeling in just to get the looks. It's quite humorous. A great buy for $20


12-02-2008, 11:16 AM
Even with a ring already on the Rapala I either use a rapala knot, or more often I tie a small clip (not a snap swivel, just a clip) on the end of my line and use that to attach my lure. I can change lures more easily this way, and the clip allows that extra bit of action for the lure.

I dislike this idea for only one reason. The knot to the clip will weaken with every fish caught and will need to be retied. With a lure change you are forced to re-tie then, with a clip I think you may not re-tie enough through the day, just clipping and un-clipping lures all day. *Just *thought.

Oh and I dont feel the rapala knot is always necessary. Different knots just effect the swim pattern, some times different(smaller side to side with a clinch knot) is better. I usually run one rap with a rapala knot and one with an improved clinch.

12-02-2008, 11:22 AM
glad you guys liked that......a driller/buddy gave it to me a couple years ago as a fun gift for some work i got for him, its about 3 ft long and actually built for use ( i was thinking of trying pyramid w/ it *;) )

re: line connections........little red duolocks for me, i dont think they hurt the action at all, and changeouts are a snap :) * i put a 6 to 7 wrap modified clinch knot to the duolock and never had a problem w/ the knot breaking. always check the knot and nearby line after every fish of course.....

dinos marine
12-02-2008, 09:20 PM
ok, so i take a handful of rapalas up to the counter of my goto tackle shop, the guy asks where i am fishing. i tell him amador! the guy tells me i must be old school, and need to try the new lures, diawa, some poink lure (supposed to be the hottest lure), and a couple of other japanese plugs. to make it short, what plug catches the fish? why the rapala of course!!! i spent alot of money on some lures that look pretty, but dont catch trout for sh*t.
motto of the story? rapalas rule!