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Topic: The art of trolling Rapalas  (Read 5816 times)

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Offline Capt. Hook

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The art of trolling Rapalas
« on: June 04, 2018, 03:51:24 pm »
Rapala X Raps have been a long time favourite of mine and long before I was trolling Feathers or Konas I was trolling Rapalas, nowadays I only troll X Raps offshore which are ideal for trolling.

X Raps come in a wide variety of depths, sizes and colours.
Here I will discuss the following as these are what I troll the most

X Rap Saltwater – Code SXR – This is a shallow running lure with a small lip
Sizes 10, 12, 14 – These sizes are according to the length of the lure so 10cm, 12cm, 14cm

X Rap Magnums – Code XRMAG – These are deep running lures with large lips
Sizes 10, 15, 20, 30, 40 – These sizes according to the depth the lure runs 10ft, 15ft, 20ft, 30ft, 40ft
As the depth rating gets deeper the lures get larger

Whilst the SXR Rapalas can also be cast and are very effective, in this article I am going to discuss trolling these lures.

Leaders cannot be too heavy and the thicker the line the more it is going to effect the swimming action of the lure and for the deep runners it will also drastically reduce the depth that the lure swims at.
Whilst it is Ok to run a small lure like the SXR 10 with 10lb line, it is not suitable to run a large deep runner like the XRMAG 40 with such a light line and so each lure has its purpose and needs to be rigged according to its size.

Typically for offshore I troll with 2 different class lines with 2 different sets of rigs.
30lb main line with a 0,55-0,65mm leader, set at 5kg of drag
50lb main line with a 0,70-0,80mm leader,  set at 8kg of drag

Lures like the XRMAG 30 and 40 can only be pulled properly on 50lb rigs with 8kg of drag as when trolling faster they will start taking line on lighter drags.

As a general rule I use the following lures on each tackle class
30lb - SXR 10 & 12 and XRMAG 10 & 15
50lb – SXR 14 and XRMAG 15, 20, 30 & 40

When one is expecting toothy fish or even larger fish one can consider a wire leader, I usually use 0,5m of wire with a swivel to match the diameter of the leader to be used.
No. 5 wire – SXR 10 and XRMAG 10
No. 7 wire – SXR 12 and XRMAG 15 & 20
No. 9 wire – SXR 14 and XRMAG 30 & 40

One of the major differences between trolling Rapalas verses fathers and konas is the wide variety of trolling speeds that they can be effective, feathers and konas need higher speeds to work whereas Rapalas will work well at slower and at higher speeds. As the Rapalas get larger they can also be trolled faster so small Rapalas like the SXR 10 will max out at 9-10km/hr and will start spinning and popping whereas one can troll a large Rapala like the XRMAG 40 at 18-20km/hr.

Fast trolling is not always the solution to successful fishing and sometimes one needs to slow the trolling speeds right down to as low as 4km/hr and here is where you have a distinct advantage when trolling with Rapalas verses feathers and konas as even at these slow speeds they still move and shake very effectively and catch fish.

When trolling sometimes I only troll with Rapalas on all rods, especially when there are many birds around and I want to avoid them hitting my feathers and konas and other times I may mix it up and run Rapalas with feathers or konas.

Usually if trolling Rapalas only, I limit my spread to 4 Rapalas but can run up to 6 Rapalas if I go about things properly but I find 4 is sufficient. One does not want Rapalas to get tangled up because when they start popping and spinning they can make a real mess of all your lines and so one needs to think about what you are doing in order to avoid a nasty mess that wastes your line and loads of good fishing time trying to fix the mess up, so it is better that this never occurs and it can be avoided if you think about what you are doing.

The rule of thumb is the deepest lures go closest to the boat and the shallowest lures further back. Never run 2 lures in parallel as they may run wide on a turn or pop in a swell and catch each other so give them space to move without interfering with each other. Keep a good distance between your lures don’t run them too close to each other.

Once we have all our lures rigged and we know how to set our spread, we need to get out on the water and use our Rapalas to catch fish.

For inshore fishing (shallower water) we would look for ledges, reefs, pinnacles, bait spots, drop offs, colour lines, fish surface activity, dolphins, bait fish, temperature change and even patchy water to troll our lures and as we go over these areas we would be watching our finder to see what it tells us and so in essence we are searching until we see some showings and then we can start working an area if it has positive showings.
Sometimes one has to work a positive area several times to raise the fish to get them to come and inspect the lures.

For offshore fishing (deeper water) we would look for colour lines, a thermocline, deep reefs, drop offs, ledges, fish surface activity, dolphins, bait fish and temperature change and once we find these areas and get positive showings we start to work them to raise the fish.

If you come across a school of fish do not plough through them, go past and then turn in allowing your lures to go through the school.

Sometime when you find a shoal and they not interested in your offerings you need to give them more time and what we do here is what I call a slide. To do a slide is very simple as once you get to the shoal you simply cut your speed and disengage your motors and let the boat slide and slow down, as the boats starts coming to a standstill the lures will start coming to the surface and before all your lines cross each other you engage gear and go again which will send all the lures diving and shaking and this often gets the attention of many fish and you may suddenly find all your reels screaming.

Fast running lures do not always get the attention of fish; there are days you need to slow right down, especially when the water gets colder and when you find an area with showing slow right up to give the time to come see your lures. Some days I will slow right down to about 4km and hour.
It may seem like you not covering any area but on these days work areas you know and run slow it can make the difference between skunking and getting a fish on.

Another thing I have discovered is when you trolling your Rapalas (We call them Rappies) and you keep on getting Bonnies, you must know that there will normally be Yellowfin Tuna swimming with them. To changes Bonnie hits into Tuna hits slow down about 2km per hour from whatever speed you were doing.

On days I want to cover a lot of water and search I will run a mixed spread with 2 – 4 Rapalas and then open up my riggers and run some Bullets, Feather or Kona’s, if you run deep runners with these you can achieve really good speeds.

Over the years I have caught many species trolling Rapalas and often bring back fish when other boats not running Rapalas come back empty
Yellowfin Tuna, Eastern Little Tuna (Skipjack / Kawa Kawa), Oceanic Bonito, Dorado, Sailfish, Garrick, GT’s, King Fish, King Mackerel (Couta), Wahoo, Queen Mackerel (Natal Snoek), Sea Pike, Rockod, Daga Salmon, Queen Fish, Tropical Yellow Tails and Black Tip Sharks really love Rapalas.
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Offline REEFMAN

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Re: The art of trolling Rapalas
« Reply #1 on: June 05, 2018, 07:47:28 am »
Great article!  :+ cred:

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Offline fishing mike

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Re: The art of trolling Rapalas
« Reply #2 on: June 05, 2018, 08:54:57 pm »
 :tkx:
great info
thanks

Offline Vos

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Re: The art of trolling Rapalas
« Reply #3 on: June 07, 2018, 10:37:01 am »
Great stuff. Please can you give some advise on colors

Offline Capt. Hook

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Re: The art of trolling Rapalas
« Reply #4 on: June 07, 2018, 10:45:02 am »
Great stuff. Please can you give some advise on colors

Personally I think colours is secondary to getting the lures swimming properly and in the right place.
I fish Durban so can only suggest my favourites for my waters
- Blue Mackerel
- Ghost
- Orange/Yellow
- Blue/White
- Black/Silver
- Pink
- Blue/Pink
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Offline La Niña

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Re: The art of trolling Rapalas
« Reply #5 on: July 23, 2018, 01:43:45 pm »
Awesome post!!


One more thing to add, we will always troll Rappies on "flat" rod holders and never on a "upright" holder as you want your rod tip as close to the water as possible for the smallest angle between rod tip and lure which will also minimise the lure jumping out the water, especially in bumpy conditions!

Online John F

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Re: The art of trolling Rapalas
« Reply #6 on: July 23, 2018, 03:45:00 pm »
Awesome post!!

One more thing to add, we will always troll Rappies on "flat" rod holders and never on a "upright" holder as you want your rod tip as close to the water as possible for the smallest angle between rod tip and lure which will also minimise the lure jumping out the water, especially in bumpy conditions!

I'm glad you raised this issue. "Flat" rod holders is something I've only seen in SA boats. Nowhere else in the world (as far as youtube fishing vids have shown) these things are used (please let me know if I'm wrong!).

Unless the conditions in the Cape people are trolling are really bumpy (10' swells, etc.), and rappies jump like flippy floppy things, I really wonder if the horizontal rod thing is just an urban myth....

KZN guys also use them... I don't think their seas are much bigger than what we have here in Southern Moz (at least fishable seas!)... I have never used these flat horizontal lines and don't think my catch rates are lower that other chaps that use them (e.g. peterblace).... also, my rappies don't jump! I launched last weekend and with swells up to 8-9' only when doing 7-8 knots I had one or two short ones jump.... gave them a bit more line and all sorted....

Another thing is... how tall are the rods being used? If a normal tuna rod is used vertically, I honestly don't think the angle of the line changes that significantly  :dunno:
So, unless these are used to add up on the number of lines in the water, I don't believe 99% of the fishermen in the world are wrong! Numbers don't lie....

Basically, what I'm saying is... if it works for you, by all means... I still need to be convinced!

Or am I missing something? let's discuss...
   

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Offline La Niña

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Re: The art of trolling Rapalas
« Reply #7 on: July 23, 2018, 04:22:41 pm »
I hear you here but we generally troll ours very short at 10 to 15m and if you do the math between a flat mounted rod holder and a upright with the angles and that distance then you will have a lot more chances of pulling the lure to the surface at the greater angle.

Offline Capt. Hook

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Re: The art of trolling Rapalas
« Reply #8 on: July 23, 2018, 05:10:04 pm »
I run them flat and from the gunnels, if they running right then it does not matter what the sea is doing, even when they close
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Online John F

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Re: The art of trolling Rapalas
« Reply #9 on: July 23, 2018, 05:13:35 pm »
I hear you here but we generally troll ours very short at 10 to 15m and if you do the math between a flat mounted rod holder and a upright with the angles and that distance then you will have a lot more chances of pulling the lure to the surface at the greater angle.

Ah ok... makes sense.... why do you run them so close to the boat?

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Offline La Niña

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Re: The art of trolling Rapalas
« Reply #10 on: July 24, 2018, 01:14:39 pm »
I hear you here but we generally troll ours very short at 10 to 15m and if you do the math between a flat mounted rod holder and a upright with the angles and that distance then you will have a lot more chances of pulling the lure to the surface at the greater angle.

Ah ok... makes sense.... why do you run them so close to the boat?


We run them short for a couple reasons, firstly if you turn when they are long then they will turn slower and they then are more prone to tangle each other, we also find that they work better closer to the prop wash, we also generally troll them on the outside edge rods of the trolling board, so basically on the edge of the wake port and staboard

Offline Rory mundy

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Re: The art of trolling Rapalas
« Reply #11 on: July 24, 2018, 04:09:30 pm »
I hear you here but we generally troll ours very short at 10 to 15m and if you do the math between a flat mounted rod holder and a upright with the angles and that distance then you will have a lot more chances of pulling the lure to the surface at the greater angle.

Ah ok... makes sense.... why do you run them so close to the boat?


We run them short for a couple reasons, firstly if you turn when they are long then they will turn slower and they then are more prone to tangle each other, we also find that they work better closer to the prop wash, we also generally troll them on the outside edge rods of the trolling board, so basically on the edge of the wake port and staboard


what rapalas are you talking about if a x rap 20 jumps out the water its buggered

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Offline Capt. Hook

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Re: The art of trolling Rapalas
« Reply #12 on: July 26, 2018, 09:18:29 am »
Rapala X-Rap Magnum Xtreme 160 – First Impressions

I had the privilege of testing these new lures yesterday, I must say that I am very excited with this new development from Rapala as I believe this will fill a much needed gap of a shallow running lure for trolling.
On the box it states a 2.5m running depth and it says that it can be trolled up to 20 knots.

20 knots, really, is this possible. There was no ways I was going to test this lure without checking if it could run true at 20 knots (37km/hr) as stated. So I put 2 out and ran just past 20 knots at 40km/hr, the boat was on the plane and sure enough the lure was running true and did not jump, they did not even indicate that they were about to jump, they just ran so well.

So not only a shallow runner, but also a high speed lure which can be run easily with bullets and used when running out to your grounds for faster fish.

When running at 8 knots I reeled in one of these lures and it was easy with no pressure on the tackle, this got me thinking that just maybe I could run this lure from the out-riggers and so we dropped the riggers and clipped the line on with a rubber band. At 6 knots no problem, I pushed to 8 knots and no problem, 10 knots, then 12 knots and no stress on the rubber band, so I pushed past 20 knots on the plane and still no problem, the lure ran true and the rubber band held it there. This is going to open up a whole new way to set up a spread when I can now run Rapalas in the clean water from my riggers. I will be playing with this over the next few months.

I noticed that the side body is flat and that there are 2 side keels on the lure which are probably big factors in why it can run so fast. The wire inside runs through the entire lure.

The lure is fitted with 2 x VMC 3X strong Perma Steel hooks on heavy duty split rings.

I am already imagining all the species we can catch with these and they will be a part of my regular arsenal over this next season.

It will be in the stores within the next few months
« Last Edit: July 26, 2018, 09:20:04 am by Capt. Hook »
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Offline dugong

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Re: The art of trolling Rapalas
« Reply #13 on: July 26, 2018, 09:35:05 am »
Interesting, so at my normal running at 16kts I can pull that thing, and you say the pressure is not too great that I have to use the 30lb?? Impressive  :wahoo: :wahoo: :wahoo: :rck"
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Offline Capt. Hook

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Re: The art of trolling Rapalas
« Reply #14 on: July 26, 2018, 09:39:50 am »
Interesting, so at my normal running at 16kts I can pull that thing, and you say the pressure is not too great that I have to use the 30lb?? Impressive  :wahoo: :wahoo: :wahoo: :rck"
Yes it will be fine on 30lb for sure, I tested on 50lb gear but ran the drags at half strike and no pull. I recon they can even be pulled on 20lb gear.
I will be testing and playing and trying all sorts over the next few months. When I have done a good few 1000km I will post a report.

I reckon great for Wahoo and many other species too. We ran one very close to see how it swims, very good action.
The range of colours also is amazing, there is a colour called sailfish which will make a superb squid imitation :)
« Last Edit: July 26, 2018, 09:42:07 am by Capt. Hook »
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Offline Capt. Hook

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Re: The art of trolling Rapalas
« Reply #15 on: July 26, 2018, 09:50:25 am »
Some of the colours I have to test
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Online John F

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Re: The art of trolling Rapalas
« Reply #16 on: July 26, 2018, 10:12:04 am »
Woa!!!! That's really impressive, Mike! Price?

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Offline Capt. Hook

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Re: The art of trolling Rapalas
« Reply #17 on: July 26, 2018, 10:14:36 am »
Woa!!!! That's really impressive, Mike! Price?

I don't know, Rapala just released it 2 days ago so its not even available in the country yet. I would guess it would be in the same price range as the existing X Rap range
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Re: The art of trolling Rapalas
« Reply #18 on: July 26, 2018, 10:31:48 am »
Ok... did you tried them at regular speed (5-7 knots). How was the action? If this lure performs well from 5-20 knots, it will kill the competition!

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Re: The art of trolling Rapalas
« Reply #19 on: July 26, 2018, 10:39:13 am »
Ok... did you tried them at regular speed (5-7 knots). How was the action? If this lure performs well from 5-20 knots, it will kill the competition!

I tried from 3 knots to 20 knots and at my regular 6-8knots that I normally do. Its a wide range performer and I am extremely excited about this lure, I have been hearing about it for quite a while and yesterday got my paws on it :)

I actually did not believe the 20 knots claim, but it is true and it can actually do more than that so it is not out of its comfort zone at 20 knots.
The best part is the light pull it has and to me being able to run it from the riggers has huge significance as this is unknown territory and in my mind it is results waiting to happen. Lets see how the next few months go. Season is around the corner

At the slower speeds it has a fantastic action :)

It makes it very easy to obey fishing rule number 1. You can't catch a fish if your line is not in the water as now even when running out you can run a lure.
« Last Edit: July 26, 2018, 10:39:57 am by Capt. Hook »
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