From the water’s edge

Artificial

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Rapala tail dancers

I hope that you find my journal interesting and entertaining. If, having read this, you think that I am talking rubbish then at least you have stopped and thought about it long enough to come to that conclusion which is something of a result in my book. If you would like to comment on this article or anything else relating to my website, please feel free to contact me using the adjacent form. Feedback is always greatly appreciated and very helpful when it comes to improving both my site and my angling. Thank you for looking.

Rather than throw thirty quids worth of effective lures in the bin, I have come up with a fix that  will at least keep the hooks and the eye joined together in the event of another crack-off while attached to a fish.

I have drilled a 1.5mm hole through the lip, dead on the centre line and close to the nose of the bait. Then I used a loop of drennan soft strand to join the attachment eye and the hook mounting together. The crimp is threaded onto the wire during assembly and then the two loose ends are threaded through as well, but in opposite directions before crimping. The picture should make it clear. It is neat and tidy and does the job without affecting the action in any way but it is fiddly getting three pieces of wire through the crimp. If you don’t mind messing about with such things it’s a good fix, but I shan’t buy any more Rapalas. I have already found the Gloog kalipso to be as effective for what I do and that, (like most of the Polish lures which will surely supersede Rapalas products at the top of the quality league), is built properly.

As you can see I have caught on this lure since modifying it, and it has no effect on the action whatsoever. It might never happen again, but if it does, at least this time I have a fighting chance of getting the fish to the side so that I can release it from the hooks. As an aside, this is another good reason to crush your barbs; there is a fair chance that the fish I lost will have shaken the lure off pretty quickly and that would be another worthwhile modification that you could try if you still want to use these lures.

This was their reply and I leave you to make your own mind up whether they give a damn about any fish that their unfit-for-purpose products leave swimming around with a face full of hooks.

This is probably my favourite pattern - hot chub - recommended to me by Andy Horwood as a top perch colour and he was right. That the tail dancer is a great take-getter is beyond question. That anybody who cares about their fish should still be using them straight out of the box is not so certain for me any more. On the same day , not long after the photograph above was taken, I had a take right in the side. It was a classic zander take - just a distinct knock seen on the line and felt through the rod, but my strike met with zero resistance. It was not so surprising really since all that was left on my line was the diving vane.

The lure had snapped and I was shocked to discover that far from being the immensely strong, wired- right- through lures that a lot of people, myself included, had believed they were getting when they paid top price for their Rapalas, the lip is just glued into the balsa wood.

Just think about that - think about what would constitute a strong, sturdy, resilient material to make a wooden lure from. Does Balsa feature on your list? Balsa is just about the softest most fragile wood imaginable and is used for the sake of its buoyancy rather than its strength.

The attachment eye is mounted in the lip, the hooks are mounted in the balsa and the two are glued together. How confident are you going to be next time you pull for a break? and if you are lucky enough to get the lure back how happy are you that the glue joint has not been damaged? As you can see, the glue hasn’t failed beneath the lip, the wood broke, but it failed around the top of the lip. Millions of these have been sold so I am surprised that I have never heard of this before. I did find a mention of it under the comments on Cabelas site; so I e-mailed rapala (Shimano actually) asking if I had a fake.

This was the e-mail that I sent them:

Rapala tail dancers are -sorry were- one of my favourite crankbaits. Chasing perch and canal zander, they regularly out-fished most of the other crankbaits I had tried and I was settling into an effective method of fishing them. In fact on a recent trip they did the grand slam for me; a pike, a perch, a chub and a zander in that order, one after the other although not all from the same spot I might add. As you can see from the accompanying images here and on other pages within my site, both Sharkey and I rate - sorry rated - them highly.

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