I love to fish rattling, lipless baits in cold-water conditions both in the winter and summer time. They can be extremely effective when fish are more lethargic and don’t want to chase lures horizontally. Fish can also be lethargic when water temps get warm, skies are clear and they are not feeding. Those are key times to fish lipless rattle-baits.
I’m impressed with the new Rap-V Blade and I have used them as they are and also modified them so that I have “non-rattling” ones , rattling ones, ones that are standard with one treble and one in-line single hook and ones with two treble hooks.
To make some silent producing only the flashy side-to-side action for safety I removed the hooks on some of my rattlers and drilled two holes into each of the body cavities that house the rattlers.
I removed the rattles and filled up the cavities with fast drying two-part clear epoxy cement.
The modified rattlers work well and sometimes the silent one works best, other times the rattling one works best!
As we gear-up to fish for bass and pike using crankbaits and body baits I wanted to share a great alternative by replacing the treble hooks with VMC “in-line” hooks. I have experimented using crankbaits with trebles and singles and I have come to believe that in shallow-water conditions, the in-line single hooks catch less weeds and bottom and hook-up fish as well as a treble and may even hold on to a jumping fish like a bass better with just a single hook!
The VMC in-line singles have the hook-eye parallel to the hook, not “perpendicular” as with regular hooks. Since they are in-line you can rig them so that the hook is always pointing out in the best possible “hook-up” position.
It’s simple to change from trebles to in-line singles on most hard-body lures. I normally up-size the hook size when I switch to an in-line single.
In-line single hooks come in the most popular sizes and can also be used to replace trebles on
Our good friend Simeon Kubassek who work out of Lake Superior’s north-shore, his girlfriend Mirjana and buddy Wayne too advantage of early tributary steelhead fishing. I have fished the north-shore of Lake Superior for steelhead in my younger years and I can confirm that I planned my trips there the middle of May and even then we would be standing on huge chunks of river ice on the shorelines to fish from. This year the tributaries were already open in April and the fish ran up early.
The same drifting techniques work on Superior’s north-shore as they do in southern Ontario. Drift rods in the 9 1/2-13′ length are standard matched with either a center-pin reel or spinning reel.
Most anglers fish 8-10 lb. test monofilament line and add a clear “fluorocarbon” leader anywhere for 12-24″ below the float.
Salmon or Steelhead roe bags usually produce well but some anglers also fish small live worms and artificials like Rapalas, Vibrax spinners and the Luhr Jense Kwikfish.
Fresh-run steelhead will hold in deeper pools and runs and below obstructions like rapids, dams and weirs.
Some of my favorite rivers to fish along the Trans Canada highway are the Wolf Black Sturgeon rivers and their tributaries.
David Neill became the stand-out appointment during Nicolas Warchalowski’s first year as CEO of Rapala VMC when he took on the global role of EVP Product Development and Innovation.
Neill, who had been President and Managing Director of Normark Canada for the past four years, is charged with accelerating and reinvigorating product development. “Product innovation has to be brought back to centre-stage,” said Warchalowski. “We need to not only make sure we stay true to our roots, but also to up our game in product innovation and become more relevant to the new, younger, digitally-aware community now entering the fishing market.”
When Warchalowski announced the appointment, he said that Neill had impressed with his track record of driving results in Canada and in his role as key liaison with 13 Fishing after Rapala bought a 49% stake in the Florida business in 2019. “He was by far my first pick,” he said.
Neill (left) explained: “The creation of my new role is aimed at streamlining and accelerating the new product and innovation platform as a whole within the group. Nicolas Warchalowski has a new vision for the group. Under his strategy, product development will have a renewed focus and we will work to develop a more efficient team globally. We’re working as a team to develop a new more collaborative platform for ideas sharing that will allow us to act quickly and efficiently on market trends and innovations.”
One of Rapala’s more intriguing moves in recent years was the purchase of 49% of 13 Fishing, the fast-growing Florida business known for its offbeat approach to the market. Neill has been heavily involved with the company from the beginning and sees it as a “huge opportunity” for Rapala’s European and APAC regions. He also recognises that its different culture has benefits for the wider group.
“We have been working incredibly closely with the PD team in Tampa to develop rods, reels and combos specifically for these markets,” he explains. “CEO Jim Coble is keenly engaged in finding ways to develop these markets and we are working very closely with him and his product development team in this regard.
“The 13 Fishing design centre has a wonderfully fluid and dynamic way of working. It’s incredibly exciting to see how they function as a team, with a very open approach to new product development. They’re deeply focused on innovation and developing and creating new trends in the marketplace. Their highly flexible structure allows them to react and turn over new projects very quickly… which is very exciting and a pleasure to be a part of. This innovative way of thinking is something that’s highly valued by our group and we’ll be working to apply some of that excitement to other areas.“
Despite taking on his new role in the middle of the COVID pandemic, Neill is uncompromising when it comes to achieving his objectives. “Our overall product development goals have not changed,” he says. “We’re still keenly focused on driving new products to market at the same rate as previous years. We control much of the PD process internally, utilising our own in-house teams of designers, engineers and sourcing specialists with little to no reliance on third party. This is a true core competence of Rapala VMC and has allowed us to continue to move full steam ahead throughout the pandemic.”
As COVID unexpectedly triggered a rise in fishing participation, Rapala began working to mitigate supply chain challenges in the middle of last year to anticipate problems that might arise in 2021. “The increase in worldwide demand for our products forced us to take a very close look at our supply chain capabilities through 2021,” says Neill.
“The need for earlier forecasting and demand planning was apparent, and the group worked diligently on that through the second half of last year and this continues today. We felt comfortable that consumer demand would remain strong throughout this year and have planned accordingly in everything from increased raw material supplies to improved factory capacities to longer than average transit times in sea freight.”