Looking Through Grandpa’s Tackle Box: What’s Your Favorite Old School Rapala?

I recently came across a stash of my dad’s old Rapalas. It was a hodgepodge of balsa baits in various sizes and colors. Some were worn with rusted hooks, others in pristine condition. A few had no hooks at all, presumably from an unfinished winter project.

As I examined each bait, I envisioned the situation I’d pull each lure from my tackle box, the line I’d tie it to, and ultimately the fish I would catch. Looking at worn fishing baits puts me into a total timewarp and I absolutely love it.

It’s A Family Tradition

Like virtually every baby boomer who enjoys fishing, my father adores the Rapala brand. From Rapala Original Floaters, Countdowns, and Shad Raps to newer versions like the darting X-Rap line.

Undoubtedly my Dad’s favorite lure was the Jointed Rapala in the J9 size, specifically in the gold version. The gold option isn’t actually gold but instead a mix of black, tan, and white with a splash of red. Together this color combo worked in virtually every Northern Wisconsin river that we fished.

For years and years, there was no better bait than the J9 Joined Rapala. The smaller J05 and J07 sizes work well for panfish and trout and the larger J11 and J13 are popular among pike and musky anglers. But if you had to pick just one, Its’ the J09 all day long.

Rapala Reviews From A Pro And Regular Joes

”Rapala’s balsa baits twitch, quiver, and wobble with lifelike action on the retrieve. When paused, the real magic happens. “The bait kind of just hovers there, rising ever so slowly,” explains Bassmaster pro Michael “Ike” Iaconelli. “That often, in itself, triggers a bite.”

Source: Rapala

”I prefer jointed crankbait while my father swears by solid, but we both run versions of the classic 7 size Rapala as the first thing we tie to our lines. It’s just a proven fish getter. I have tried several colors but the basic shad just flat out works- largemouth and smallmouth, as well as the occasional pickerel, perch, even carp will jump on these.”

– An Amazon customer named Keith

”I really like these lures. One of my go to lures when I’m stumped and not catching anything (which is often). I can get a few bites on this most of the time. And when the fish are in the mood for top water lures, this thing is awesome.”

An Amazon customer named Raul

”7 is a good size for just about anything I fish for (trout, bass, northern pike), not too big, not too small. These jointed rapalas have a real nice action in the water.”

An Amazon customer named John H

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