Since Lauri Rapala crafted the very first Original Floating Rapala in 1936, classic Rapala lures have become synonymous with that signature Rapala wounded-minnow action – made only possible from premium balsa wood that give them their responsive, life-like action.
It is no surprise therefore when Rapala introduced the Scatter Rap series in 2013, balsa wood was the material of choice. When fitted with newly designed swimming lips that somewhat resembled Pringle potato-chips, classic balsa wood shads and minnows were transformed into entirely different baits.
Scattering, Evasive Action
Conventional ‘wounded-baitfish’ lures swim in a linear fashion and present themselves as easy meals for predators. On the other hand, lures that are capable of sudden movements and directional changes often trigger reaction strikes from predatory species. In fact, many experienced anglers know that one of the key techniques to trigger bites from predatory fish is to work a lure in such a way that it darts about, suddenly changing directions, as if it’s a baitfish in panic mode. Very often this involves some fancy rod tip work and wrist-snapping that beginners may find rather difficult to immediately pick up.
To catch fish with a Rapala Scatter Rap, there’s no need for elaborate rod-tip maneuvers or wrist motions. The Scatter Rap’s Scatter Lip creates an erratic and evasive sweeping action with directional changes that imitates a spooked baitfish trying to escape a predator’s attack. All that is needed is a steady retrieve with minor changes in the retrieve speed and the Scatter Rap will weave side to side attractively. Experienced anglers will need to resist the temptation of twitching or jerking the Scatter Rap lures as they work best with a straight retrieve and have the built-in ability to change directions on their own.
Scatter Rap Series
The Rapala Scatter Rap series of lures are built upon classic Rapala body shapes. The Scatter Rap Minnow resembles an Original Floating Rapala. The Scatter Rap CountDown is almost identical to the evergreen Rapala CountDown. The Scatter Rap Shad takes on the classic Shad Rap’s tried-and-true shad shape while the Scatter Rap Crank looks similar to a DT series crankbait. Each lure has a uniquely-designed Scatter Lip to match their application.
I had the privilege of fishing with the Rapala Scatter Rap series for a few outings in dams and land-based arenas and have found the Scatter Rap CountDown to be my firm favourite, followed by the Scatter Rap Crank and Scatter Rap Shad.
The 7-gram Scatter Rap CountDown casts well on a light setup and mirrors the classic CountDown’s ability to sink to the desired depth where the fish are holding. The evasive action of the Scatter Rap CountDown is perfect for fishing rocky ground or rock bunds where baitfish often hide among the crevices (hint: reservoir rock bunds!). Retrieve at moderate speed and the Scatter Rap CountDown will weave left and right among the rocks, just like a panicky baitfish darting for cover among the rocks. I was actually surprised how deadly this natural-looking, evasive action with a simple, straight retrieve (without any twitching or jerking) was able to fool wary Peacock Bass and even several nice-sized Haruan from heavily-fished waters.
The Scatter Rap Crank comes in two versions: The standard Scatter Rap Crank which has a listed swimming depth of between 1.8 to 2.4 metres and the Scatter Rap Crank Deep, with a listed swimming depth of 3 to 3.6 metres. This scattering crankbait is a great searching lure for deeper waters. ‘Lombong’ (mining pond) Haruan hunters will love this crankbait for its ability to cover a relatively larger area by its evasive action. The deep version is also ideal for gregarious Toman, such as those Air Ganda ‘gangsters’ – as the erratic, evasive action adds another dimension to trigger their predatory instincts. A note of caution though; since the Scatter Rap Crank is only 5cm in length, the possibility of the whole lure being engulfed and bitten off by a Toman is highly possible!
The Scatter Rap Shad responds to different retrieval speeds. A slower retrieve speed creates subtle side sweeps while a faster retrieve amplifies the evasive action with aggressive direction changes and tighter kicking action. The first few fishes I caught on the Scatter Rap Shad were Sebarau from a running stream flushing into an area full of aquatic plants sitting just about two to three feet under water. The depth was just nice to swim the Scatter Rap Shad close to the plants, making it look like some forage fish darting about the shallows. As the shad zig-zagged back to the boat, a dark shadow shot out from the depths to snatch the bait. Gotcha! It was definitely no coincidence as two more Sebarau were landed in similar fashion thereafter!
Light Tackle For Optimum Performance
Scatter Rap CountDown and Shad cast best with light tackle. I personally enjoy casting them on a 3-8lb outfit such as the Rapala RFS Zephyr 3-8lb paired with Daiwa SS Air with Sufix Nanobraid or Daiwa Pixy SPR and Sufix 832 6lb. The thinner diameter line not only allows the Scatter Raps to cast a little further but also makes the lures livelier and more responsive. On the other hand, Scatter Rap Crank Deep can be cast with relatively heavier tackle of 4-10lb or 6-12lb equivalents.
At a glance, Rapala Scatter Raps look like their classic counterparts but in reality, their actions in the water are far from the same. Their evasive, baitfish-fleeing action perfectly complement existing Rapala lures that swim with a wounded baitfish action. When fish have become accustomed to the linear swimming action of conventional swimming lures, the sweeping, evasive action of Scatter Raps can possibly turn the tables of fortune for the angler. Remember, don’t twitch or jerk. Just retrieve steadily and let the Scatter Rap do the fish catching!