It was two winters ago down at the St Paul Ice Fishing Show, when I really started to pay attention to the Jigging Rapala as an open water lure. I mentioned to some of the top pros down there about watching friend Al Lindner catching all kinds of fish on this lure during the summer months on his television program, “The Angling Edge”.
Jeff Gustafson mentioned that the top pros had been using this lure on the walleye circuit for years when nothing else would catch fish. Since that time lots of videos and articles have been written on the subject but I don’t think a lot of anglers in this part of the world have bought in yet. My friends in Saskatchewan have been using a similar lure, the Shiver Minnow, on Last Mountain Lake in the summer and fall to catch big walleye and lots of them.
Last Mountain Lake happens to be the perfect body of water for this kind of presentation. Here is the simple reason: These types of lures work best on sand or gravel bottom which Last Mountain has in spades. This means you won’t be snagging them in rocky boulders all the time.
OTHER KEY POINTS In the summer using these lures most of the fish will be in the 18 to 28 foot mark. This also allows you to watch your lure on the depthfinder. It won’t take long to determine if those fish will bite or not. • Fish the bait away from the boat at a 60 degree angle • Sweep the bait forward two to four feet at a time, then let it nosedive down to the bottom • You can cast and retrieve up and down drop-offs as long as there aren’t too many snags • It is a reaction bite and fish won’t hit them all the time but when they do you better hold on Speaking of reaction bites, if you watched 49 hours at all with Aaron Wiebe, you would have seen him catch a couple of jumbo walleye on a jigging rap in Episode 7. These fish were in deep water and by sitting on top of them with his boat, Aaron was able to trigger a reaction bite with this presentation.
EQUIPMENT SETUP Use monofilament line, the stretch factor is needed so the fish don’t shake the hook. Also must have an in-line barrel swivel a couple of feet up from the lure to prevent line twist. Lures come in various sizes but a size #7 will get you down to the bottom pretty quick. I must mention though, that the right rod is critical in using these type of lures. You want a longer rod, maybe seven feet in length with a soft tip and a medium action. This allows you to keep the fish on once hooked. While the hooks on these lures are super sharp, fish have a tendency to throw the hooks if you put too much pressure on them. Lindner likes to back reel larger fish when using jigging raps because of that tendency. Some people will also modify the hooks on these lures but spreading out the middle treble with a pair of pliers to improve the hook gap will work.
NOT JUST A WALLEYE LURE: Many of our other species of fish in Canada like to bite these lures. Sometimes the mighty northern pike will get in the action which can be expensive. Smallmouth, lake trout and whitefish will all bite these hooks, so keep a supply with you at all times no matter the time of the year. While it is a fun way to fish, it can also be hard on the body. Ripping a heavy lure for an hour straight will plain wear you out!