Rip. Rip. Rip. “There’s one.”
That’s a familiar cadence and call in fishing. Sure chunking and winding works with baits made to be chunked and winded. But often lures are made to do a lot more than folks realize. One of those particular baits is the lipless crankbait. The Rat-L-Trap and Cordell Rattlin’ Spot put the lipless crankbait craze into motion, but there have been a lot of good lipless crankbaits come to market since then.
The time on the water always confirms our hunches with fishing tackle. Usually we see a product the week or two leading up to ICAST, then we get samples sometime in the fall or winter and take them to the water sometime after that. But generally when we first inspect the product, we know if it’s going to be good before we head to the water.
That’s the feeling we had with the new Rapala Rippin Rap. Yep, it’s another lipless crankbait. We’re pretty content with the ones we have but there was something we liked about this one. The profile, the color patterns, the sounds of it, the hooks. It was a total package we could be excited about for lipless crankbaits.
We’ve tested it some over the winter, but really tested it in the last few weeks. The bait comes in three sizes — the 05, 06 and 07. The smallest is 5/16 ounce, has size No. 8 and No. 10 hooks and is just barely 2 inches. The 06 is 1/2 ounce, has No. 6 and 8 hooks and is just over 2 1/2 inches long. The 07 is 7/8 ounce, has No. 4 and 6 hooks and is just shy of 3 inches. The baits are currently offered in 12 colors. We’re particularly partial to Gold Chrome, Dark Brown Crawdad, Olive Green Craw, and Helsinki Shad.
The Rippin’ Rap casts like a rocket. In fact that’s one of our favorite attributes about the bait. Surprisingly, distance can be a big deal when fishing lipless crankbaits. We often catch fish in very shallow water in the prespawn sunning in the warmest water on the lake and we often can’t get our boats back to where we need to cast and more importantly where the bass are. The 05 and 06 sizes have been great for those shallow fish.
The 07 has been very fun for ripping off the bottom on points, around deep structure and just fishing steeper 45 degree banks. We caught several nice fish on a recent outing on the 06 and 07 fishing them with a combination of steady retrieves and pumping retrieves working it down slowing banks off the edges of shallow flats. The bait has a nice tight shimmy on the drop. We think that appeals to the fish on those pumping retrieves. It will probably also make it very effective fishing in the grass.
We’ve fished the baits on heavy braid and purposely hung the baits in cover to see if we could pull the baits apart with abusive use. We’ve cast the baits on rock rip rap, against docks, onto the bank and more and are very pleased with how well the paint jobs have resisted chipping. You never want the finishes on your hard baits to break off in big chunks. These paint jobs will scratch up on heavy use. But they don’t chip. They are very durable which is always a plus in hard baits.
The VMC hooks are small but we’ve stuck some 5-pound fish without worry of the hooks bending out. Their tacky sharpness has made hookups easily. We’ve hooked a few fish on the outside of the mouth and were able to land them. A testament to good hooks.
Lipless crankbait fishing calls for several sizes, shapes, colors and weights to be successful. The mood of the fish can change from day to day or hour by hour. Sometimes one color or pitch is hot and then when it seems to cool another bait gets hot. When this happens it seems the bass are getting conditioned like Pavlov’s dog. Not sure if the bass read any Pavlov discussions, but we can assure you this dog will hunt.