Rapala Jigging Rap: Icefishing Lure Lethal for Open-Water Walleyes

Photo by: Bill Lindner/Lindner Imagery

The Rapala Jigging Rap has been around for nearly half a century. In fact, if you're an icefisherman, you probably have a few of them in your tackle box and know that it's a dynamite wintertime walleye bait. What you may not realize, however, is that you're toting around what has quickly become the hottest open-water walleye lure to emerge in many years. You just have to learn where, when, and how to use it.

Rigging Up
The ideal setup is a 6- to 6 ½-foot, fast-action spinning rod and matching reel spooled with 6- to 10-pound fused superbraid (I use 6-pound-test Sufix Fuse). Fused line is more resistant to twisting and then tangling around your rod tip than standard braid. To minimize this, tie a small barrel swivel to the end of your line, then add about 18 inches of 8-pound fluorocarbon leader. You can tie the lure on directly or attach it with a small clip, like a Fas-Snap.

Jigging Raps come in sizes 2 to 9, with the smaller sizes (5 and under) most popular for icefishing and the larger sizes (7 and 9) for open-water fishing. My 
favorite colors are chrome blue and glow.

The Retrieve
The secret to success with the Jigging Rap is a super-aggressive retrieve that mimicks a baitfish trying to escape. Here's the basic drill:
- Make a long cast and then feed line until the lure hits bottom.
- With your rod tip angled slightly upward, give the lure a sharp snap.
- Maintain a little tension on the line as the lure sinks. Walleyes may strike just as the lure begins to sink, after it dips a few feet, or just as it touches bottom. If you have too much slack, you won't feel the hit.
- Continue making sharp snaps until you lose bottom contact.
- Set the hook quickly.