If these lures could talk, they would have some horror
stories to tell. The bottom two have accounted for more river bass than I can
count. Although they appear gold, all of these Rapalas are the traditional
silver/black color. In my humble estimation, you don't need any other color.
Just about anyone who has ever
tied on a fishing lure has probably been through this ritual. After cinching the
knot, you run the lure through the water to see how "good" it looks.
If there is a lure that looks sexier coming through the water than the
"broken-back", I am yet to see it. The wiggle produced by this lure is
beyond enticing, and the light balsa body enters the water with barely a ripple.
The "broken-back" swims nothing like a fish, yet this is often the
lure I start the day with and almost always the lure I turn to when the fishing
gets tough. Anything that looks this good coming through the water gives a
BEST SEASONS AND SITUATIONS
This monster largemouth resisted a couple topwater
twitches, but fell victim to the famous Rapala wobble once I started reeling. As
you can tell from the surrounding cover, I got rather lucky to get this fish in
The Rapala floater is at its
best from late spring through mid-fall. For largemouths, any water temperature
above 70 degrees is ideal. For other black bass species, water temperatures
above 65 degrees are preferable. Water visibility should be at least a foot.
The "broken-back" is
essentially a topwater bait, but will dive to depths of almost two feet on a
swift retrieve. As with most surface baits, the Rapala floater is best early and
late in the day. Remember, however, that river bass tend to remain a bit more
active throughout the day than their impoundment brethren, and a well-placed
"broken-back" twitched gingerly near cover will often draw a strike
during the middle of the day in mid-summer.
TIPS AND TECHNIQUES
This nice Apalachee River largemouth hit on the second
twitch. This lure rules.
"broken-back" is what I call a "confidence" lure. If the
bass are fairly active and shallow, and if the water is warm and relatively
clear, I expect to catch fish on this lure. If bass are not responding to the
floater, I am also confident that they will not be much interested in other
topwater offerings either. Remember, NOT catching fish tells us almost as much
as catching them does. Move a little lower in the water column with a
spinnerbait, jig, or worm if topwaters fail to produce.
Having said that, it is tough
to fish a "broken-back" incorrectly. This lure can be twitched or
jerked and is flat deadly on a slow, steady retrieve. Experiment to see what the
fish want. Normally, I cast the floater as tight to cover as possible, let it
rest for a second or two, twitch it a couple times, and bring it back with a
slow, steady retrieve. Bass normally hit after a twitch or during the first few
feet of the retrieve. When reeling past midstream objects, pause the retrieve
and allow the lure to float to the surface. Bass have trouble resisting this!
The absolute best situation to
find is a log extending a yard or two from the bank with moderate current.
Position yourself upstream from the log an cast to the bank a few feet upstream
of the log. Twitch the lure lightly, then allow it to drift back against the
bank. When the lure drifts down to the log, point your rod tip toward midstream
and twitch the lure so it slowly works its way down the log from the bank toward
midstream, never moving more than six inches from the log. No self-respecting
bass should be able to resist this presentation!
The Rapala floater is best
fished cross current or downstream, presentations that allow the current to help
keep the lure in the strike zone and maximize that wonderful wobble. Casting
directly upstream forces the angler to reel faster than the current in order to
achieve the best lure action, and this lure is most effective at slower speeds.
The "broken-back" may not be the best choice in heavy current for the
same reason, although the largest shoal bass GRF has personally witnessed
being caught came out of a swift shoal in the upper Ocmulgee River.
Another reason GRF loves
the "broken-back" is because they are tough to hang up. If you are
about to reel it into an underwater brushpile, simply let it float to the
surface and crawl it over. If you keep this lure out of the trees, the
"broken-back" is almost idiot proof!
A rather light lure, the Rapala
jointed minnow is best used with spinning tackle and monofilament no heavier
than 12 lb. test, although products such as Fireline and Spiderwire allow
anglers to use heavier lines without sacrificing action. Adding a split ring to
the lure also creates a wider wobble and works well on the slower largemouth
streams of the Piedmont region.
Lure color really doesn’t
seem to matter, although most anglers seem to stick to the silver and gold
colors. Match the size floater you use to the size fish you expect to catch and
the size of the baitfish you notice. Remember that spots and shoal bass have
smaller mouths than largemouths, so size your lure accordingly. These lures
usually run perfectly straight from the box so modifications are usually not
necessary. A particularly anal GRF member uses a permanent marker to
paint tiger stripes on his Rapalas, but this person has too much free time