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Autopsy Article


TackleTour Autopsy: A Brat to the Balsa Core, the new Rapala BX Squarebill


Date: 12/13/17
Tackle type: Lures
Manufacturer: Rapala
Reviewer: Zander

Introduction: With the cold weather upon us we spend more time in the lab at this time of year and take a closer look at some of the most interesting new products in our ongoing autopsy series. The next product to go under the blade is an interesting new squarebill from Rapala called the BX Brat, and what makes this bait so interesting is the hybrid design which incorporates a balsa wood core and a plastic outer shell.


Let's take a closer look at the hybrid copolymer and balsa based Rapala BX Brat crankbait

Why Balsa? Our first impressions of the Rapala BX Brat is that this is a really slick looking lure and it is hard to believe that it is a balsa wood bait at all. Balsa is a popular material to use for crankbaits because it is so easy to work with and offers excellent buoyancy. For example a comparably weighted balsa bait is going to be more buoyant than the same bait made of plastic.


The BX Brat features some excellent finishes, and at first glance you would never know that these baits make use of balsa at all


This is also why the material is so popular for shallow cranks which need to be effective close to cover and not snag up. Balsa also tends to deflect well and anglers love knocking these baits on wood, and unlike plastic they will bounce right off and float quickly to avoid those annoying hang ups.


In the water the bait floats perfectly and tracks widely as it wiggles enticingly during retrieves


If you spend enough time fishing balsa baits you start to realize how consistent they are, and in general their swimming action is also unaffected by cold water temperatures, unlike plastic where the action can become more muted.

All sounds great right? So why arenít all squarebills made out of balsa? Letís start with the economics of the baits themselves. It is easier to mass produce plastic baits which makes them cheaper to pound out in large numbers. It isnít all about the numbers though.


The BX Brat weighs only .4oz.


Plastic baits are typically more durable than wood ones and can take greater abuse, everything from smacking against rocks or just getting stepped on the boat deck.


Plastic baits also can be transparent and the finishes on these molded baits can be more textured or painted in greater detail, or even under the plastic shell for greater durability and a layered appearance.


The BX Brat comes armed with VMC black nickel round bend trebles

Rapala, along with brands like Bagley and other custom lure manufacturers like PH, are some of the companies that continue to embrace balsa. Rapalaís approach with the Balsa Xtreme Brat is to create a hybrid bait, one that leverages both balsa and plastic in the lureís construction. To take a closer look at this implementation we put the BX Brat under the knife.


Parts of the bait are painted while other parts like the foil are under the copolymer skin

Next Section: Time to Crack that Brat









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