The Rapala X-Rap

Do-everything hardbaits are rare, but Rapala’s venerable X-Rap fits the bill for wildly animated slashing retrieves, finesse pull-pause presentations—and just about everything in between.

I’ve been an X-Rap fan since my first cast, when I fell in love with the bait’s unique “slashbait” action. Toss it out, reel down to the desired depth, give it a jumpstart with a sharp pull of your rodtip and you’ll see what I mean. The slender body darts ahead like an injured baitfish making one last desperate lunge, while the flash-feather teaser tail adds a splash of color and extra action.

Available in lengths of 1-1/2 to 4-3/4 inches and weights from 1/16- to 3/4-ounce, X-Raps are killers on everything from panfish to striped bass. Over the past few seasons, I’ve found the 4-inch XR10 version, tethered to 6- to 10-pound monofilament mainline via an 18-inch, 10- to 14-pound fluorocarbon leader, is deadly on freshwater predators such as walleyes, large- and smallmouth bass, northern pike and various types of trout.

As mentioned above, versatility is certainly one of the X-Rap’s strong suits. You’re not limited to aggressive slash-and-burn tactics. For example, I’ve done well targeting tight-lipped bass hunkered along weed edges and over shallow flats by employing a subtle pull-pause approach. X-Raps aren’t limited to still waters, either. Longtime North American Fisherman friend Scott Glorvigen showed me their merits when fancasting eddies and tailouts in small rivers, for example, and the options don’t end there.

Along with action and versatility, I like the X-Rap’s 23 eye-catching finishes, along with its textured, translucent body, internal holographic foil and three-dimensional holographic eyes. The combination of such special effects yields a strike-triggering blend of flash and color easily tailored to any lighting conditions and gamefish color preferences.

Other appreciated amenities include the bait’s sturdy, stainless steel wire underpinnings and fiendishly sharp VMC black-nickel trebles. And of course, each one is hand-tuned and tank-tested in true Rapala tradition before ever leaving the factory, allowing you to enjoy the bait’s theatrics the second it hits the water.


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