Gerald Swindle considers the Rapala Shad Rap the #1 go-to bait when chasing southern bass during the winter months. GMAN explains why this is the case, emphasizing its tight and subtle wiggle (made from balsa wood), which closely matches the movement of shad in cold water.
It's a light finesse crankbait but casts reasonably well when fished on appropriate tackle. Swindle advises switching from fluorocarbon to a more manageable monofilament during the winter months. Mono is softer and more supple in cold water; greater stretch also translates into muted deflections when contacting cover -- a plus when bass are sluggish and less likely to chase down a bait.
Size is also an important consideration. The Shad Rap comes in a variety of sizes ranging from 1-1/2 to 3-1/2 inches. Swindle's recommendation is to match bait size to that of the shad, with his all-around favorites being the size 07 and 08 (2-3/4 & 3-1/8 inches respectively).