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Rapala Shadow Rap Review

Rapala Shadow Rap Review

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The Shadow Rap series are among the latest in a long heritage of hard-bodied jerkbaits from Rapala. Featuring a unique hard turning and slow sinking (or slow rising) body that mimics the dying struggle of a baitfish.

Is this aggressive, erratic action a true fish catcher or more hype to catch fishermen’s wallets? In this Shadow Rap review, we explore all the aspects of this new jerkbait series to see if it should be in your boat and the key to catching your next limit.

5 Styles of Shadow Raps

At first glance, the Shadow Raps look nearly identical, but there are some key differences you should know when choosing the size for your target species.

  • Compared to the regular Shadow Rap, the Shadow Rap Deep has the same body shape, but a longer bill to achieve the greater diving depth.
  • Compared to the original model, the Shadow Rap Shad is shorter and fatter in shape, and the jerkbait rises slowly rather than sinks.
  • The Super Shadow Rap is two inches longer and two ounces heavier compared to the regular models. It is targeted more to the European pike market but has become a favorite among North American Muskie fishermen.
Rapala Shadow Rap 11 Ghost Lure
Rapala Shadow Rap Deep 11 SDRD11HLW: Shadow Rap...
Rapala SDRS09 Shadow Rap Shad Lure (3.5-Inch,...
Rapala Shadow Rap Shad Deep Hard Bait Lure,...
Model:
SDR11
SDRD11
SDRS09
SDRSD09
Length:
4-3/8 in
4-3/8 in
3-1/2 in
3-1/2 in
Weight:
7/16 oz
7/16 oz
3/8 oz
3/8 oz
Hooks:
3x #6
3x #6
2x #6
2x #6
Depth:
2-4 ft
4-8 ft
3-4 ft
5-6 ft
Action:
Slow Sink
Slow Sink
Slow Rise
Slow Rise
Check Price at:
Rapala Shadow Rap 11 Ghost Lure
Version:
Model:
SDR11
Length:
4-3/8 in
Weight:
7/16 oz
Hooks:
3x #6
Depth:
2-4 ft
Action:
Slow Sink
Check Price at:
Compare at:
Rapala Shadow Rap Deep 11 SDRD11HLW: Shadow Rap...
Version:
Model:
SDRD11
Length:
4-3/8 in
Weight:
7/16 oz
Hooks:
3x #6
Depth:
4-8 ft
Action:
Slow Sink
Check Price at:
Compare at:
Rapala SDRS09 Shadow Rap Shad Lure (3.5-Inch,...
Version:
Model:
SDRS09
Length:
3-1/2 in
Weight:
3/8 oz
Hooks:
2x #6
Depth:
3-4 ft
Action:
Slow Rise
Check Price at:
Compare at:
Rapala Shadow Rap Shad Deep Hard Bait Lure,...
Model:
SDRSD09
Length:
3-1/2 in
Weight:
3/8 oz
Hooks:
2x #6
Depth:
5-6 ft
Action:
Slow Rise
Check Price at:
Compare at:

Last updated 2021-01-20 at 07:57 / Affiliate Links & Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Rapala Shadow Rap Review

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Unique and aggressive 180° side to side darting action, like a hard bodied fluke.
  • The regular model has a great slow-sinking action for that “death quiver” on the pause.
  • The Shad model had a seductive slow-rising action for a totally different look to fish.
  • Lifelike transparent and baitfish color schemes with textured scales and 3D eyes.
  • Sticky stock treble hooks (#6 VMC).
  • Affordable alternative to similar Megabass and Lucky Craft jerkbaits.

Cons

  • Flat sides and broad side profile make it challenging to cast far into a headwind, especially the taller Shad versions.
  • The plastic body is fragile and can crack if cast landed onto rocks, docks, or seawalls.
  • The most common complaint is bent hooks. The stock hooks are light wire and tend to bend out occasionally if you put too much pressure on a fish.

When to Fish a Shadow Rap

Rapala Shadow Rap Shad - Moss Back Shiner
Moss Back Shiner

Jerkbaits are traditionally spring and fall baits that shine in colder water temps. This is true for the Rapala Shadow Rap as well, but with the addition of the Shadow Rap Shad version bass anglers now have good options for year-round jerk bait fishing.

When to Fish the Shadow Rap vs Shadow Rap Shad

The difference in body shape and action are the key ingredients to deciding when to fish the slow sinking or slow rising version of the bait. Then all you need to do is pair that with the time of year and water temperature to choose which jerkbait to fish.

Shadow Rap Selection Chart

PhaseWater TempsFish This Bait
Winter30-50°FShadow Rap
Pre-Spawn50-60°FShadow Rap
Spawn50-65°FEither
Post-Spawn65-75°FShadow Rap Shad
Summer75°F +Shadow Rap Shad
Fall55-75°FEither

Original Shadow Rap: This jerkbait is long, slender, and features a nose down with a slow sink that can be worked as slowly as needed.

This action is great for lethargic and neutral largemouth and smallmouth bass when the water temp is at its coldest.

Having three treble hooks helps stick fish that are not feeding aggressively and tend to nip and swipe at baits rather than suck it in.

Shadow Rap Shad: This bait is shorter with a broader profile and mimics shad more than minnow type baitfish. The action here is nose up and can be fished much faster than the original.

As a faster-moving bait that rises on the pause, you will trigger more aggressive fish to bite. You now have a great summertime jerkbait option in the Shad model.

The Shad has only 2 hooks because of the shorter body but most fish are engulfing the bait when you start seeing the warmer water temps you get into the Post-Spawn season and beyond.

How to Fish a Shadow Rap

Fishing the Shadow Rap is all about getting the bait to dart erratically with that side to side flutter on the fall that mimics the fading baitfish. Here are some tips for catching more fish with this lure.

First, make long casts to keep that bait in the water and in front of fish longer. Then wait for a second or two before giving it a few good jerks to get the bait diving to its running depth.

Next, you can start by making short twitches of the rod to make the Shadow Rap dart back and forth in that erratic way that makes the bass commit to biting.

Pro Tip: Make sure to give the bait some slack after each twitch. Do this by moving the rod tip back towards the lure a little after every jerk and twitch. Slack in your line allows the jerkbait to show off its unique shimmy on the slack pause. Many times this is the moment a fish will come up and eat the bait!

Experiment with your retrieves and cadence until you find the combination that gets bites. This is very important to pay attention to and can be the difference between a slow day or one you’ll look back on fondly.

Remember also, the colder the water, the shorter the twitches and longer the pauses. Likewise, with the warmer water the faster and more erratic your retrieve can be.

Pro Tip: Take your time and care while fighting bigger bass. The VMC stock hooks are light wire, designed to penetrate easily. Putting too much pressure on the fish will cause the hooks to bend. If you have very large bass around, swap out the hooks with #6 Mustad Short Shank Triple Grips.

Can you Troll with a Shadow Rap?

While this lure was never intended for trolling, the Shadow Rap Deep can be very effective trolling for walleye and pike. Passively trolling this lure won’t get the best results. You’ll have more success by occasionally pulling your rod forward then dropping it to get the most of the fluttering Shadow Rap action.

Rod, Reel, and Line Considerations

Rod: Any 6′-6″ to 7″ Medium power baitcasting rod with a moderate tip action should do well with the Shadow Rap.

A shorter rod will make jerking with the rod tip down easier. The soft tip lets the jerkbait go farther side to side on each pull.

This combination also makes casting easier. You can use a Medium-Heavy of course, but you risk pulling the hooks from fishes mouths.

Reel: Any smooth casting baitcaster in a 6.3:1 or higher gear ratio will do nicely.

The faster line pickup is helpful in reeling up the slack line and not missing fish that are only swiping at the bait.

A faster reel is also more efficient, reducing wasted casts, and giving you more casts over the course of a day.

Line: Mono or Fluorocarbon. Even though it sinks, fluorocarbon lines are great for jerkbaits.

Go with 10lb test for normal use in open water, and bump it up to 12-14lb when fishing the Shadow Rap around cover like rocks, trees, and boat docks.

You can try 20-30lb braid on a spinning combo, but you might find it fouls up on the hooks too easily. Braid also risks bending the hooks out with the fish under more pressure.

Best Shadow Rap Colors

Rapala Shadow Rap Review

Jerkbaits are primarily a sight feeding presentation. Bass fishermen, you should be choosing colors based on water clarity and the forage in your local lakes.

Colors for Clear Water (>3ft)

In clear water and most natural lakes, your color selection should stay within the more natural colors and patterns. Try to match your local forage, whether it’s bluegill, perch, tullibee, cisco, or shiners.

The exception here would be smallmouth bass. Even in clear water, jerkbaits with some pink, yellow, or orange can be killer colors.

  • Ghost Shiner
  • Blue Back Herring
  • Bone
  • Carbon – Good Bluegill imitation
  • Yellow Perch
  • Live Perch
  • Moss Back Shiner
  • Bud

Colors for Stained Water (<3ft)

Stained waters give anglers the opportunity to experiment with the flashier color patterns. Start with your base forage and choose some patterns that accentuate the bait such as chartreuse, orange, pink, and blue.

  • Blue Ghost
  • Purple Haze
  • Clown
  • Gone
  • Molten Copper
  • Purpledescent

Shadow Rap vs X-Rap

The X-rap is a more traditional jerkbait with a neutrally buoyant suspending nature, compared to the slow falling Shadow Rap.

With a more slender profile and internal weight system for longer casts, the X-Rap could be considered the more versatile bait. X-Raps also feature a feathered rear hook for extra bulk and flash.

Some people prefer the Shadow Raps in cold water fishing because you can work it slower while still imparting a ton of action into the bait.

Rapala X-Rap
  • The adrenaline-pumping X-rap slashbait has Xtreme attitude with its hard-cutting, aggressive darting...
  • Running depth: 3-8 feet
  • Weighs .4375 Oz

Shadow Rap vs Husky Jerk

The Husky Jerk is an all-time Rapala classic. The Husky Jerk likes to sit almost perfectly horizontal in the water and has more swimming action.

Walleye anglers love trolling with Husky Jerks, but it can be cast as well. Instead of doing a jerk twitch pause program, Husky Jerks like to be pulled in short bursts.

Rapala Husky Jerk
  • Suspending/Neutral Buoyancy
  • Long-Casting
  • Loud Rattles

Fishing a Super Shadow Rap for Musky

At 6-1/2″ long and 2.8 ounces, this is no doubt a big fish bait. While it has been marketed towards the European pike market, North American fishermen have discovered this magnum jerkbait is awesome for chasing big muskie and pike.

The Super Shadow Rap rolls and dart hard on the initial kick with a vertical fade, nose down in a death rattle. It can also be effective when trolled with a pull and stop presentation.

Final Thoughts

Rapala Shadow Rap Review
  • Action
  • Colors
  • Durability
  • Value
4.1

Summary

Overall, the Rapala Shadow Raps are worthy baits to add to your jerkbait box. While the durability of the plastic bodies and hardware leaves something to be desired, the fantastic slow-twitch plus fall/rise action, solid color selection, and competitive price earns our recommendation.

Buy at: Amazon | Cabela’s

Last updated 2021-01-20 at 07:57 / Affiliate Links & Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


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