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Complete list of all current ICAST 2014 coverage
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Glide Week : Riding the S-Wave!
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First look inside the new Curado I baitcaster
 


 


Lure Review


Slash’em Farther Down with Rapala’s X-Rap Deep (continued)
 

Retrieve cont'd: The best way I can describe the lure is it picks up in between where the original left off, not where the lure leaves off, in other words it helps fill the gap between shallow and deep diving cranks. But wait, isn’t the lure supposed to get all the way down to 10 feet? Yes, but we were only able to hit the 10+ feet depth on a steady troll, on most cast and retrieves we found the lure to hover right around the 7-8 feet depth, we even duplicated this is a swimming pool to be sure. By driving the lure down with a pull of the rod and a brisk retrieve we were able to hit 9 feet but only with trolling were we able to sustain 10+ depths consistently. Trout anglers will find the trolling of this lure excellent for lake trout due to these attributes, but bass anglers thinking that this lure will get to the 10-15 feet depth will need to resort to trolling rather than standard retrieves.

 


A look at the underside

 

Another interesting aspect we found in the lure was a slightly off suspension. While moving the lure looks perfect but if you employ a more traditional pop, pop, stop jerkbait retrieve we found the lure doesn’t suspend evenly, and always seems in motion, in fact wait long enough and it will start to rise. This doesn’t seem to affect performance, but if you are looking for that lure that comes to a complete dead horizontal stop you may need to add some stuck on lead strips or discs to balance the lure out perfectly.

 


During our tests at Clear Lake we found deeper structure to put the lure right on top of fish, this proved especially effective in colder water

 

The X-Rap Deep proved effective at Clear Lake and on deeper structure it was the better choice. As long as you properly calculate the depth the bait will perform, and unlike the original you will likely be putting this lure closer to harms way. The shape of the lip and slender design of the profile allows the lure in most cases to simply bounce off woody structure, but put the lure too close to vegetation and you might just need to pull out that lure retriever.

 


A close up of the Perch pattern, notice the scales beneath the surface

 

Durability: When it comes to durability the Rapala X-Rap series shines. Unlike many competing baits the finish does not easily scratch as it is well protected beneath the lure’s hard transparent plastic body. While the lure may not look as realistic the lure does sport a unique finish, one that incorporated more foil and holographics allowing the lure to not only flash more than some competing baits, but look new for much longer as well.

 


The lure seems to float more than we would normally expect in a suspending lure, want to get it to suspend perfectly? Add some lead weight strips

 

The bill on the new X-Rap series is not as thick as some competing bills, and can be cracked if the lure is slammed into above water structure on a miss-cast, but for the most part we didn’t have any problems with the bill under normal fishing conditions. The hooks on the X-Rap are Pyramid point trebles, and are either No. 6 on the 3 1/8” size or No. 4 & 5 on the larger 4” lure. Even newer than the X-Rap deep is another variant which is called the X-Rap Sureset which is designed to operate at the largest range of depths (from 3-15) and comes in three patterns, which we think are well suited for stripers, and is armed with a dressed elongated VMC SureSet hook hung in the back.

 


A close up look at the gold pattern, notice the defined lateral line and holographic look of the skin. because all of this is under plastic the lure is among the most durable over the long term

 

Price & Applications: One reason why the Original Rapala X-Rap was so popular was the fact that it represented a great deal for anglers. At just 6.99-7.99 depending on size the X-Rap is priced in parity to most domestic jerkbaits and significantly cheaper than the popular Japanese jerkbaits. We expected that the X-Rap Deep would likely command a dollar more, as is common with larger deeper diving lures. To our surprise the X-Rap Deep can be had for only 7.29.

 


A bass is unable to resist the darting bait deep down

 

The X-Rap deep can be fished both at moderate and fast snap retrieve rates, and can even be trolled for maximum depth. The lure can be effective at targeting a wide range of species, especially those that are prone to reaction strikes. Good species for this lure include Bass, Pike, Large Trout and even Salmon, Snook, Redfish, and even Tarpon. If you want to target any bigger species like Musky, Tuna, or Wahoo then you will want to step up to the X-Rap Magnum series which is designed primarily for trolling applications.

 


The tail when wet, if under the water long enough the tail starts to fan out more evenly

 

For Rapala fans the X-Rap Deep is a boon, and is to them what the Pointer 100 DD (Deep Diver) is to Lucky Craft devotees, an evolution of an already winning formula to simply put….get where the fish are. 

 


There is no doubt this lure works, and it fills the gap nicely in between a shallow jerkbait and a deep diving crankbait, but cannot replace either completely

 

Ratings: (We've re-calibrated our ratings standard for 2008 and have included a key at the bottom of the following matrix as a guide)

Rapala (XRD10) X-Rap Deep Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality The X-Rap deep exhibits good overall build quality. The lip isn't that thick but is strong enough to deflect hits with subsurface structure, just don't accidentally cast this lure into rocks. The pattern under plastic design makes the lure more durable but reduces realism a bit. 6
Performance Overall performance of this lure was good, and actually at times bordering on great. This lure gets right in the faces of deeper holding fish. 7.8
Price For just a little more than the original the X-Rap Deep is a excellent deal, one that is able to compete with some premium lures without the heavy investment. 9
Features The X-Rap Deep exhibits all the basic features that made the original so popular. The main difference between the two is simply the addition of the deep diving lip. 7
Design (Ergonomics) The lure is a good caster and in terms of retrieves it is easy to control the cadence of the lure, though not quite as easy as the original to bring the erratic motion to life. We did have some difficulty driving the lure all the ay down to 10 feet, and required trolling to do so 6
Application This bait can be used on a wide range of species. We love this lure for stripers where the erratic action drives fish into a frenzy. If you are looking for a traditional jerkbait then this isn't it, but if you are willing to spend the time to master the side to side action then the lure can be fished effectively in both shallow and deeper water than the original 7

Total Score

7.13
Ratings Key: 1 = terrible : 2 = poor : 3 = lacking : 4 = sub par : 5 = mediocre : 6 = fair : 7 = good : 8 = great : 9 = excellent : 10 = unbelievable!
For More Details of the updated rating system visit our explanation here


Pluses and Minuses:

                 Plus                                    Minus

J Ability to get deeper L Need to troll to reach 10'+ depth
J Draws reaction strikes by cover L Not the most realistic finish
J Durability is fantastic  
J Angler truly defines the action  
J Still a very reasonable price  

 

Conclusion: At Clear Lake we fished both the original and new deep lures side by side and when fishing over deeper structure in cold water it was no contest, the X-Rap Deep more effectively enticed fish by getting right in there faces rather than forcing them to have to venture far from their cover. If you have fished the original there is absolutely no learning curve to effectively fish the new deeper version. While the lure may not exhibit as radical a motion as the original it is able to get further down than and into deeper holding fish. One lure cannot replace the other, nor can the X-Rap deep replace a deep diving crankbait, but fished properly the new deeper version can successfully fill the void between the two types of lures. The X-Rap series of lures continues to expand and with good reason, Rapala has a winner with the basic design, and the new X-Rap Deep provides anglers yet another tool to effectively target fish in a wider range of situations. 

                                      


 

 

 

 

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