ICAST P R O D U C TT P R E V I E W
ICAST Preview : Rapala's New Offerings for 2010/11
Terminator Trends: When Terminator spinnerbaits came onto the market a little over a decade ago, it was perceived as one of the most meaningful blade bait innovations in years – a spinnerbait that could survive a hundred ferocious smallmouths or the rigors of toothy critter country and live on to fish another day.
Terminator expands their popular spinnerbait line with two new offerings.
Terminator has continued to make both their Original Titanium Spinnerbait and stainless steel models, along with buzzbaits and jigs, and they remain popular among some anglers, but some of the initial buzz seems to have worn off as time has gone by. Some of that may be due to their parting ways with Skeet Reese right before he developed into either the best or second-best angler in the world, depending on who you talk to. Another contributing factor might be the fact that relatively few major tournaments have been won on spinnerbaits in recent years.
The Short Arm Thump'r features a flat, triangular head...
Whatever the reason, they haven’t gone away, but their product development seems to have turned to slightly offbeat baits, perhaps in search of the “next big thing.” Remember their “hybrid” blade, which seemed like a shoehorn at the end of a spinnerbait? This year’s offerings are more traditional, but still seem aimed at attracting a niche crowd.
... and a huge, oversized Oklahoma or Mag Willow Blade.
The first is the Short Arm Thump’r, which features an oversized Oklahoma blade (sometimes referred to as a mag willow), a 5/8 or 7/8 ounce head and of course the company’s signature titanium snapback frame. This one looks like it’ll rattle your fillings out on a straight retrieve. There are eight different skirt patterns and depending on which one you order the blade will be either gold, copper, nickel or black nickel. The lure looks like it might be most useful slow-rolled in the prespawn or allowed to flutter down bluff banks.
The Twin Spin features dual Oklahoma blades.
The second new spinnerbait is a Twin Spin, a design that seems to be making a comeback among several manufacturers including War Eagle and Hildebrandt. While the heads are fairly heavy, ½ and ¾ ounce, the two Oklahoma blades are diminutive. The company says that it is best used when “retrieved like a spinnerbait and dropped like a jig.” In addition to having more color combinations than the Thump’R, 12 in all, the Twin Spin has two additional blade colors, solid white (paired with a white skirt) and solid chartreuse (wit a chartreuse skirt).
Can Terminator regain the dominance they had ten years ago in the spinnerbait market with these new niche offerings?
Sufix (by Cal): In addition to the new lures, Rapala sent us some of the newest braided line from Sufix. Apparently it wasn't good enough that their Performance Braid took Shootout Champ Awards in our February 2010 Premium Braided Line Showdown. They must have taken to heart our comment that the downside to Performance Braid is the number of carriers in the line is dependent upon what pound test you purchase because this new Sufix 832 Advanced Superline features eight carriers throughout the lineup.
Sufix goes JDM with the look and feel of their new 832 Advanced Superline packaging.
Not only does this line feature 8 strands throughout, Sufix is touting what they refer to as 32 picks or weaves per inch (hence "832"). You see, the number of weaves determines how tightly wound your line is and is directly attributable to the roundness and smoothness of any superline. We're told that it's not uncommon for some lower cost lines to feature weave counts in the teens.
Finally a true 8 braid from Sufix.
Finally Sufix 832 benefits from the company's new partnership with Gore and features a proprietary Gore performance fiber as one of the eight strands. This fiber is incorporated in the line to increase impact and abrasion performance. Final pricing of this new 832 Advanced Superline will be determined at ICAST 2010.
The secret to this new line? How about a proprietary fiber from Gore?
Conclusion: Rapala hasn’t provided anything earth-shattering this year. Instead, they’ve followed their proven strategy of adding onto winning teams. Just as the floating minnow family eventually added the jointed and the countdown versions, and the Shad Rap family added multiple cousins, they continue to expand cautiously. The result is that there are very few “one year and done” products in their lineups and anglers can know that new lures and lines have been thought out and fully tested before they’re brought to market.