On the surface, the lure looks like a typical jerkbait, but it’s the way the Shadow Rap and the Shadow Rap Deep replicate the struggling dart-and-fade action of a baitfish in trouble that makes the difference, according to the luremaker. Fixed internal weights keep the lure in a head-down attitude as it sinks slowly. Then, a sharp snap of the rodtip accompanied by generous slack like allows the lure to do a near about-face without much forward travel.
All the Rapala pro staff anglers anticipate cold weather and low water temps during the Classic, predicting that numbers of bass will be suspended and keying on Hartwell’s rich populations of blueback herring and shad. And because they expect the gamefish to be lethargic and in no mood to chase, they want to make an in-your-face presentation with a lure that refuses to exit the strike zone. Because weather conditions can change, altering the fish’s mood and behavior, each fisherman will have more than one game plan ready, and be armed with other types of baits. Check out their pre-tournament preparations in the videos below.
Though the 5-time Classic qualifier says Hartwell is set up for a jerkbait bite, he’ll be prepared to fish jigs, cranks and what he calls a “squirrel” bait.
Ike says the key will be to imitate shad with slow-, medium- and fast-moving lures.
Wheeler has fished in 4 Forrest Wood Cup events on the FLW circuit, but makes his first appearance in the Classic this year. He’s got a cold-water plan, and a strategy in case the weather warms.
In his fourth Classic appearance, DeFoe expects Hartwell to be the perfect place for the Shadow Rap to shine. But he does have a secret weapon in case water temps rise.
Tharp has a lot of experience on Hartwell and knows how well a jerkbait like the Shadow Rap can perform. Still, he’s got alternative strategies lined up.