Everything You Need To Know About The Rapala DT Series Crankbaits

The Rapala DT Series of crankbaits makes it easier for you to figure out which lure to choose to catch bass at various depths.

The DT stands for “dives to” so the crankbaits dive fast to pre-set depths and stay in the strike zone longer than other crankbaits. If you choose a DT-10 for example, the crankbait will dive to and run consistently at 10 feet. The DT crankbaits are constructed of balsa wood combined with internal weights, a tapered body and a thin tail that generate a distinctive action. 

The DT Series crankbaits have accounted for numerous tournament wins since the lure’s introduction in 2003, attesting to its design and fish-catching ability.

Here’s a look at the various DT Series models and how the tournament pros employ them to catch bass.
Rapala DT Series Crankbaits
The Rapala DT Series crankbaits range in diving depths from 2-20+ feet.

Rapala DT-4

This 2-inch crankbait has a short bill for running at depths of 4 feet or less.  Bassmaster Elite Series pro Brandon Palaniuk likes to throw this crankbait in a bright crawfish pattern around shallow rocks and wood in the spring when the water temperature is in the 45- to 49-degree range. He favors a straight red craw pattern for his DT-4 in stained water and chartreuse colors for muddy water. 

Major League Fishing (MLF) pro Ott DeFoe also picks the DT-4 to catch early spring bass in stained to muddy water around rocky, channel-swing banks. His favorite crankbait colors for stained to muddy water are red, orange and chartreuse in craw patterns. 

Rapala DT-6

Rapala DT Series Crankbaits - Seth Feider
Credit: Seth Feider

This crankbait also measures 2 inches but its longer bill allows the lure to dive down to 6 feet. MLF star Jacob Wheeler considers this crankbait one of his must-have bass lures because it matches the size of a bass’ general forage and covers the depths he prefers fishing in the spring, summer and fall whether he is fishing reservoirs, lakes or rivers. He rates the Live River Shad as a good all-around color for the DT-6. 

Rapala DT-10

The 2 1/4-inch round-lipped DT-10 was the key lure Ott DeFoe threw to win a 2020 MLF Bass Pro Tour event in Texas. Running the crankbait through a huge school of bass with about 35 minutes left in the tournament, DeFoe caught a 2-pound keeper, then a 9-pound, 6-ounce largemouth followed by a 5-pound largemouth to climb from third place into the winner’s circle. The color pattern he used to catch the schooling bass was Big Shad, which he helped Rapala design. 

Rapala DT-14

The 2 3/4-inch DT-14 was one of the three DT Series crankbaits Kentucky pro Terry Bolton relied on to win his first  FLW Tour tournament last year on Sam Rayburn Reservoir in Texas. Most of the fish he weighed in during the event were caught on DT-10, DT-14 and DT-16 crankbaits in Caribbean Shad and Demon colors.  Bolton started each morning of the tournament throwing a Demon-colored DT-14 to bare spots near inside grass lines where the largemouth were feeding on shad.

Rapala DT-16

Ott DeFoe relied on this 2 3/4-inch crankbait and a football jig to win the 2014 Bassmaster Northern Open on his home waters of Douglas Lake.  Positioning his boat over depths of 17 to 18 feet, DeFoe cranked a Caribbean Shad model along ledges and tapering points to catch most of his bass the first two days of the event. Terry Bolton counted on the same crankbait to catch bass on the outside grass line drains 15 to 18 feet deep during the FLW Tour tournament he won at Sam Rayburn.  

Rapala DT-20

MLF pro Jacob Wheeler ran the 2 3/4-inch DT-20 in the Caribbean Shad color along the ledges of Pickwick Lake to win a recent FLW tournament.  Wheeler claimed the balsa crankbait gave him an advantage over his competitors who were throwing plastic crankbaits because the balsa body wobbled while swimming and dug its bill into the bottom to trigger strikes from postspawn and summer bass in deep water. The metal disk embedded in the thin lip of the DT-20 allowed the crankbait to quickly dive 20 feet into the strike zone of the ledge fish Wheeler targeted throughout the tournament.

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