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The Mayor – Rapala CrushCity Review

Allow me the pleasure of introducing you to The Mayor of CrushCity. Less than a year ago, in the summer of 2023, Rapala introduced a five bait lineup of soft plastics under the name CrushCity. This was a collaboration between the famed lure company and one of the more deadly bass anglers on the water today, Jacob Wheeler. Rapala hit it out of the park with all of these baits. They “crushed” it, if you will…and I will.

In addition to their new swimbait, the CrushCity lineup includes a Ned bait (the Ned BLT), a flipping bait (the Bronco Bug), a creature bait (the Cleanup Craw) and a minnow style bait (the Freeloader). The swimbait, in the opinion of the company and Wheeler, is the most versatile of all and reigns above the rest. Thus, it’s named The Mayor. With introductions and obligatory puns out of the way, let’s take a closer look at The Mayor.

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MATERIALS USED

If you’ve messed around at all with the CrushCity baits, you may have noticed that the same material isn’t used across the whole lineup. It also may be important to point that out so that you don’t simply assume that it is. The Ned BLT (that I reviewed last fall) is actually made of a different material than the other four baits—a Thermoplastic Elastomer (TPE) material, to be exact. TPE is super durable, stretchy and buoyant, similar to Z-Man’s ElaZtech baits.

The point being, that’s not what The Mayor is made of. It’s composed of a more traditional soft plastic material. Rapala uses “Smart Injection Technology” to combine color, flake, salt, and scent into precise mixtures. It’s not exactly a basic, old school soft plastic. However, not all of the CrushCity baits are made with TPE either (which I had just assumed after testing the Ned BLT first.)

These swimbaits are still fairly durable, but soft enough to have a good action as well. You will go through a pack of them in due time, but they’re not as soft as hand-poured baits, landing in the sweet spot somewhere in the middle.

DESIGN

There are many small swimbaits on the market now. The meteoric rise in popularity of the Keitech Swing Impact swimbaits in effect spawned a whole genre of baits. Several soft plastic companies brought out their own takes on small swimbaits, some coming close in quality to the Keitech, others failing to reach the bar that was set long ago, and many being near direct knockoffs of the most popular bait in this spectrum.

I like what Rapala/Wheeler did with The Mayor. They made an effort not to simply reinvent the wheel, but to improve upon it and, at minimum, offer something different. The Mayor has a taller, thinner profile than the Keitech. This profile is actually more similar to that of threadfin shad and some other baitfish, and it creates more of a top to bottom flash as opposed to the rolling wobble of a Keitech.

Don’t misunderstand me, the Keitech is still a great bait and one I’ll likely have on deck intermittently until the end of time. I’m just saying The Mayor is a different bait, and sets up better in certain situations, whereas the Keitech still reigns supreme in others.

COLOR CHOICES

When looking at the numerous 16 different color choices, you can see evidence that the top-to-bottom flash of The Mayor was again by design. Twelve of the 16 options have differing colors, compositions and tones from top to bottom.

This two-tone approach creates a flash of contrasting colors in the water, a characteristic that has proven itself to be effective in triggering strikes for decades. Look no further than a black back/chartreuse squarebill for a good example of this.

Whether looking to mimic smelt, shad, herring, bluegill, goby or golden shiners, there’s a color for it all in The Mayor. The options don’t even stop there, as the Red Craw color pairs extremely well with a ChatterBait to mimic a crawfish along the bottom. The colors also cover the whole gamut of water clarity. With bright, solid colors for muddy water, translucents for clear and even a black/blue flake for night fishing on the back of a spinnerbait.

SIZE AND VERSATILITY

The Mayor is essentially two baits in one, with a 3-inch and a 4-inch version. These two sizes, in addition to the 16 color choices, exaggerate The Mayor’s ability to mimic a wide range of different forage.

You can throw a 3-inch Mayor in Sexy Shad on the back of a 3/16-ounce jighead and catch bass relating to shad in open water from 2 to 20 feet. You can rig the 4-inch Mayor up on an EWG hook with a belly weight and braided line and throw it in thick vegetation for a big bite. Or you can slap one of these on the back of a spinnerbait, buzzbait, vibrating jig or swim jig and catch fish in an entirely different way.

The point is, small swimbaits are some of the more versatile bait categories already. Take one that’s available in two sizes and 16 different colors and you have an extremely versatile bait that can catch fish in almost any situation.

the mayer

IN CONCLUSION

The Mayor gets my vote. It’s an easy bait to recommend. On top of everything I’ve already pointed out, the baits also come in a clam-shell package, which helps keep them straight until they’re ready to be used.

The 3-inch baits come 8 in a pack for $6.49 and the 4-inch baits come 6 in a pack for $6.99. At that price, you can’t go wrong trying a pack of these for yourself. Congrats to Rapala and Wheeler on setting up The Mayor of CrushCity for such great success, job well done.

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