Thursday, April 19, 2012

Shad Rappin'

Undeniably my favorite place to shop these days is Fleet Farm.  Everything from grass seed, ATV batteries, to sporting goods my motto is "if Fleet Farm doesn't have it, you don't need it!".  On Sunday I was helping out my brother-in-law, Walter and we needed some parts to fix a water line to the garden.  He lives in Hudson Wisconsin and the local Fleet Farm is only 10 minutes away.  After a few minutes trying to figure out all the parts needed to repair the water line, we headed for a tour of their sporting goods area.  They have a real good selection of fishing tackle and often put their obsolete lures and overstock on sale.   No real review of the current lure's available would not be complete without a pass down the Rapala Shad Rap aisle.  Of course something caught my eye, an exclusive  Fleet Farm color, Hot Pink Clown.  Man, I just had to have that color as it should be as good as Hot Steel for deep trolling this summer.  The come in various sizes, #5, #7, and #9 are the most popular. #5 is my favorite size as I do a lot of shallow water trolling as well, it is beginning to be my go to bait for deep water lead lining in the summer.  They run about 5 feet deep and offer a good consistent feel when  trolling the reefs and shorelines, especially in the spring.  This size definitely is deadly on all sizes of walleyes as it's not too big to scare away a 15 incher yet a 28 inch fish will slam it just the same.  If I am fishing 7 feet of water the #7 works well and of course 9 feet of water, the #9 is my choice.  So I get my newly found prize home, unboxed it, and as it was being placed in the appropriate tackle box I couldn't help but smile at my colorful collection of these deadly crankbaits.  Managing to lay them out on the floor of my boat, here are 21 different color patterns that were in my Shad Rap box.   This doesn't count the few that are stuffed somewhere in my collection which were simply camera shy.  The colors are as follows starting from the top left and going down then back up: Pink Pearl*, Pearl, Blue/Silver, Sunset Tiger*, Blue/White, Perch, Yellow Perch, Crawdad, Helsinki Shad, Dark Brown Crawdad, Silver, Clown, Hot Pink Clown#, Hot Steel, Red Tiger, Fire Tiger, Chartreuse, Shad, Lambeau Field#, Fire Tiger Bleed, Purple Pearl*.  The colors with the * are exclusive to Gander Mountain and the # are Fleet Farm's colors.  Truth be told there are 28 official Rapala colors and I estimate at least another 10 that are private labeled for stores however I not a big fan of those you don't see.  So why have so many..............well why not, after all they are awfully pretty!  Actually each has a purpose and I have fished with everyone except the Lambeau Field pattern (I'd hate to simply fish out a lake).  The brighter patterns like the Clown and Hot Steel work very well for lead lining.  The lighter colored ones are great for Leech Lake or fishing right at dusk.  The darker patterns can work very well at night, especially if there is a full moon.  Crawdad colors are deadly for smallmouth bass and walleyes, and if I were limited to just 1 color it would be this one.  The Dark Brown Crawdad is new color pattern for this year so my experience is yet to be discovered.  The other aspect of the Shad Rap is that it was one of the first "shad" type crankbaits that worked extremely well for walleyes.  With their balsa wood body and plastic bill, for the most part they simply slide off rocks and snags, although I have left quite a few on the bottom of Mille Lacs.  I would guess they were introduced in the early 1980's and remain my #1 confidence bait for trolling and casting for walleyes.  In fishing it is the confidence that can really make the difference.  Heck, I even landed a 12 pound Silver Salmon at the Homer Fishing Hole in 2000 with a #5 Fire Tiger pattern.

I spent a few days in Chicago and Detroit this week.  Having never been through Michigan, I found it quite interesting as there were a number of wineries and fruit orchards along the way.  On of my stops was at our manufacturers representatives office which was located on the southwest corner of Midway Airport.  Midway was the major airport serving Chicago until 1955 when O'hare opened.  With it's short runways and being surrounded by residential as well as commercial buildings, the airplanes come pretty low as they approach the runways.  Midway's runways are pretty short for today's standards and if you have ever landed there, you'll see what I mean.  The pilots really pour the coals to the braking systems on the planes.  It has become a major hub for Southwest Airlines and it was fun sitting in the upstairs offices watching the planes come in about every 5 minutes.  Besides fishing, I could watch aircraft, trains, an large ships all day long.  Something about them fascinates me and I just had to take a picture.

I am getting the urge to try the boat out and may just do that for a few hours this weekend.  Monday she goes into the dealer while I make my way to Nashville for a conference.  Opener is 3 weeks away and by the looks of the trees, it should be very good.  Onions got planted last weekend and I am going to put my potatoes in on Saturday.  They always say that Good Friday is the best day to plant potatoes but that just seems too early to me.  Radishes and lettuce also got planted and I wouldn't be surprised if they will be up by the weekend.

1 comment:

Duane said...

The nice thing about flying into Midway is that you can peek into people's windows and not get arrested....