Rapala lures is doubling down on research and development in saltwater lures, bringing brand new styles of hard baits, soft baits and jigs to the Florida market this year. We had a sneak peek at some of the new gear at the Florida Sportsman offices this week, and put the lures to the test on local waters. As always, the Rapala brand delivers quality baits at an affordable price that catch fish.
Rapala has a lot of tried-and-true snook baits, like the X-Rap and the Skitter Walk. Add a new one to the list, the soft bait Storm 360 GT Searchbait Series, which is brand new this year. This weekend Rhett Nelson of Florida Sportsman tested the 360 GT out on local waters near the St. Lucie Inlet and found it to be a snook killer.
“The bait was the brand new Rapala Storm 360 GT Coastal 4” Largo Shad in Silver Mullet. The rod was a medium light G. Loomis 7-foot, 6-inch popping rod with a 2500 series reel, 20-pound braid and 30-pound fluorocarbon. We were fishing the CCA Inter Chapter challenge this Saturday out of Jensen Beach. Fishing the Hole in the Wall area during the top half of the incoming tide. I had seen this particular school of fish the week prior on the same tide and hoped that they would be there again.
“At 7:30 am I had my first cast on the spot and felt a bump but was unable to hook the fish. Not knowing if I had hit structure, I reeled the bait in to inspect and sure enough had some serious line fray about 8 inches above the lure. I knew that was a big snook! I cast back to the same spot and got thumped again. This time I was actually able to hook the fish. After what seemed like an eternity we were able to get the fish in the landing net and enter our catch on the iAngler app for the CCA tournament. The fish ended up at 37 inches.”
Other new saltwater baits that got the teams’ attention were the Koika jigs and the brand new X-Rap Magnum 40.
The Rapala Williamson Koika jig is a speed jig that you can cast. It’s been available to anglers overseas for some time, and it’s now coming to America. The Koika is perfect for a wide range of surface feeding pelagics or you can let it sink toward structure and work it like a speed jig. Its fluttering fall and flashy surface and life-like eyes attract action. They’re available in a range of weights, from 3 ½ ounces up to 9 ounces and they’re pre-rigged with a single, heavy-duty VMC assist hook. Think tuna and dolphin on the surface and grouper, snapper and amberjack below. Casting these to surface-feeding fish would be a blast.
Rapala also has an addition to its popular X-Rap Magnum line. They’ve introduced the biggest X-Rap Magnum yet, the Magnum 40, with reactive colors to grab a fish’s attention, through-wired for durability and rigged with VMC treble hooks. This is a wahoo killer when trolled near the surface and a big grouper bait when trolled over shallower reefs. The summer wahoo moons are coming up and that’s just one instance when these Magnum 40s would come in handy.
There’s also a whole array of new tools from Rapala, including utility knives, precision cutters, ceramic knives, and magnetic-spring pliers. All these tools and lures are designed and tested for years before they’re released to the market, and now, finally, they’re available to Florida anglers.