Shad Rap for Walleye
Fishing a Rapala Shad Rap for Walleye is one of the most effective ways to target walleye whether that’s trolling or casting it can produce when other methods fail.
The initial release of the Shad Rap was a massive success and as a result they became like gold dust until Rapala could finally satisfy demand by ramping up their production facilities.
The original orange crawdad was a clear winner with walleye anglers in either a #5 or #7.
And it is considered one of the all time great crankbaits for walleye.
The modern day range includes a variety of sizes and colors and there are jointed, RS(heavier plastic version for casting) and a shallow running models too.
They are used primarily to force a strike from the walleyes predatory instincts particularly when they are feeding on smaller baitfish.
Shad Rap for Walleye
Fishing a Shad Rap is done either on the troll or by casting in and around drop offs, weed lines and shore break points.
When trolling you can run them out from 50 to 100 feet, depending on the size of Shad Rap and how thin your line diameter is you can get to roughly 16 feet down which is at the upper limit of their diving capacity without adding weight to your system.
There is also a shallow running model that has a different lip on it allowing you to troll in shallower waters along a shore.
Also Read: Walleye vs Sauger
Casting towards structures on a lighter spinning rod and reel can be a great way to handle shallow walleye as sometimes shallow water trolling can result in a lot of snags depending on the bottom contours.
You can also vary the retrieve to run them at varying depths, and a lot of time you will find that they get hit just after you slow down the retrieve.
There is a model called the RS which is made from plastic and not the original balsa wood, it is heavier and so cast better especially on windy days.
Best Shad Rap Colors
The original orange crawdad, gold, firetiger and perch have been the most reliable color of Shad Rap for decades.
Although the best approach to color selection is to try and match what kind of baitfish that the local walleye are used to feeding on, the four colors above are always worth tying on.
What Size Shad Rap?
A size #5 or #7 are the most productive for walleye. The larger sizes will run deeper but to get down past 10 feet or so you will need either lead core line, inline weights or the use of a down-rigger.
The #5 will run to about 4 to 6 feet in depth with roughly 100 yards of line out when trolling.
A #7 will run as deep as 10 feet anything beyond that will require the use of change of trolling setup as mentioned above.
Casting and trolling will have different tackle requirements.
When casting any large treble hook lure I prefer to delay the strike a little. This can be achieved by using a rod with a more moderate action or switching from braid/fluoro back to monofilament as it has a certain degree of natural stretch in it when compared to the other two types of lines.
Whilst this is true for larger heavier crankbaits, just like a lighter jerkbait for walleye Shad Raps are not that heavy so to get a decent casting performance braid is actually a better choice.
With really light braid it can be quite limp and you run the risk of tangling those treble hooks mid-flight.
A stiffer fluorocarbon leader of roughly 3 feet will help to reduce this risk significantly.
You can use a medium power, fast action walleye rod of roughly 7 feet in length. A 7 foot rod will give you a better casting distance than a shorter 6 or 6.5 foot rod that you might be used to for jigging.
When trolling for walleyes with a Shad Rap a good line choice is Suffix 932 Superline braid with a fluorocarbon leader is the way to go.
Braid will be much thinner and a thin line will allow you to get the best possible depth out of a crankbait.
It is also super sensitive so if you Shad Rap has been fouled on anything you will notice the lack of vibration and can reel it in for a clean.
A line counter reel is always a good choice as once you find the correct running depth you can repeatedly let out the same amount of line time and time again.