Rapala Flat Rap Lure
Fri 07 February 14
Available in sizes from 6-16cm, the Flat Rap is another superb addition to the Rapala stable; a solid balsa constructed body which has the classic ‘wounded minnow’ action coupled with a rapid flashing action to attract any kind of predator.
I used the FLR-16 ‘Silver Blue’ (16cm) at my local predator venue Cudmore Fishery in Staffordshire, which is renowned for its predator lake, Tara. The lake contains numerous pike to around 24lbs, big perch and catfish, and on this session, I was set to target a decent pike. Conditions were not really appropriate to catching on any lure with muddied water, high atmospheric pressure, clear skies and a weekend of angling pressure to follow, but I was there to review the Flat Rap so review it I did!
At 16cms, it is perhaps a little large to be taken by perch, but I was hopeful of a pike; unfortunately, recent feedback had advised me that very little had been caught over the preceding week, and I know the water well enough to realise that the pike are subjected to a considerable amount of angling pressure and have started to ‘wise up’ to common tactics. Despite that knowledge, I was confident that if they were feeding, I would soon know about it!
The lure itself comprises a slim, fairly flat sided balsa body with three super sticky VMC Black Nickel trebles well spaced to gain purchase and a sharply angled lip blade to cause wobble and dive. The range has eighteen colour combinations to enable the lure angler to select one appropriate to any angling situation or personal preference; in coloured water, I think a super shiny silver outfishes any other colour and there is always a Rapala to suit. In roach dominated waters such as Cudmore, the ‘Silver Blue’ mimics almost perfectly the predominant prey fish; what more could you ask for?
Casting the lure with 9’ 5-30g rod means that at 29g, the Flat Rap is just within the range given, and when twinned with floating braid on a 4000 series reel, this combination will accurately fire the lure out well over fifty yards without too much effort and with the finesse required to drop the lure against bankside cover of flick it under overhanging tree lines if that is where the fish are. After my first few casts, I found that the lure is balanced to hit the water fairly flat, so doesn’t ‘plunge’ much and was almost always facing me ready to retrieve when it came to rest; ideal in shallow or weedy water.
The Flat rap is designed so it can be regained at a steady rate during which it swims at depths between roughly 4-6’, or ‘twitched back so that the slowly rising balsa body imitates a fish on its ‘last fins’….it can even be very slowly moved across the surface of the lake an inch or two at a time; ideal if the fish are intent on striking at a silhouetted target.
So, how did it perform on the day? In midweek, there were fourteen lines in the water with seven others on the lake (around three acres) and no-one had caught any fish, nor had any indications. After an hour wandering and watching, I saw the slightest of swirls just below the surface which may have been a clue to a feeding fish, so cast well beyond and started to wind back in…..nothing! I was retrieving fairly swiftly, the lure flashing along about 4’ down but it obviously wasn’t in the right place so a quick relaunch saw the Flat Rap sail out again well beyond the disturbance….
My intention this time was to silhouette the lure on the surface and then slowly move it across the top to create some vibrations; the balsa body allows the angler to tremble the bait either fractionally below, or just on the surface at very slow rates of retrieve which can be a fantastic way to provoke a strike in the right conditions. The lure was within fifteen yards of the bank when a pale yellow flash gave away the position of the pike before it turned under the Flat Rap and literally smashed it off the surface as it cartwheeled over the top, jaws clamped across the shiny body as the hooks set! Fish on!
As it had hit so close to the bank, I had the reel set to back wind but unfortunately the pike, which I’d estimate at around 12lbs, was much faster than I was and proceed to tail walk in front of me shaking it’s head violently from side to side before dislodging the trebles…. despite not banking the pike, the fact that I had managed to incite a pretty aggressive display using the versatility of the slowly rising lure was confirmation that the Flat Rap series definitely have a place in any predator angler’s tackle box and should be considered as another quality design from Rapala; fourteen lines in the water and I get a take on only my second cast is surely testament to that?
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