Jigging Rap for Walleye
Although a lot of angler are familiar with using a jigging rap for walleye when ice fishing what they don't realize is that it is one of the most versatile year round walleye lures available.
The Rapala Jigging Rap is a strange lure, not quite jig, not quite hard body stickbait.
Instead it exists in a grey area between the two.
A hard body jig who's shape allows it to swim in a rather unique pattern as it rises and falls.
To only use the Jigging Rap as a vertical jig is to not unlock it's full potential.
Of course there are similar lures such as the Shiver Minnow, Puppet Minnow and the Snap Rap for walleye.
It is still considered one of the most successful ice fishing lures for walleye ever invented and has spawned a bunch of imitators.
Jigging Rap for Walleye
The Jigging Rap like other hard body jigs has a very particular swim and fall action that forces fish into striking like no other lure.
Varying your action and getting the right depth are probably the two most important aspects, even more so than size or color.
It can be used in a variety of locations and with several different techniques not just the usual vertical jigging action everyone is so familiar with.
Probably the most popular way to fish a Jigging Rap is as a vertical jig.
Whether that's on ice or out in deep water the approach is fairly similar. Lower it down and then raise it up a foot or two with an upwards jerk of your rod tip.
If you know the exact depth that the fish are holding at as seen on a fish finder then you can lower it directly to them and continue to work the jig in a depth range that over laps.
However if you don't know the exact depth then the best option is to let it fall to the bottom and the jig it upwards allowing it to fall to the bottom again naturally and repeat.
This works really well on open bottom that is free from snags, so sandy bars, gravel beds or rocky bottoms that don't snag too easily.
On sandy bottoms in particular the jig will actually throw up a small cloud of sand that looks really natural as it hits the bottom and then raises off it.
A good tip is to vary how you do the jigging, so instead of a single jerk upwards vary the number of vertical pulls you put on the rod before you allow the jig to fall to the bottom.
This more random type of jigging action is a lot more natural that straight up, straight down.
A lot of anglers will use a bow mounted trolling motor set on it's lowest speed in conjunction with a fish finder to gradually move across a school of fish or a drop off.
As the boat moves slowly so too will your jig across the bottom with every few jerks of the rod.
This allows you to cover a bit more water than just staying stationary although it is nowhere near as fast paced as pitching described below.
Pitching across structures or at natural drop offs and contours is a much more aggressive form of power jigging than the more usual vertical jigging.
You'll want to cast away from the boat towards a specific point or better yet just beyond it.
Allow the jig to sink right down and then jerk it up a few times.
After the jerk pulls it off of the bottom reel in a few feet of line. This will then force to move the jig back towards you and hopefully over where there walleye are holding.
If pitching towards weed lines then position the boat about 50 feet out, cast to right on the edge of the weeds and then start to jerk and retrieve.
More often than not you get a strike just as the contour of the bottom starts to go deeper in anywhere from 3 to 10 feet from where the weeds end.
Dragging lies somewhere in between trolling and vertical jigging.
Think of it as extremely slow trolling with a jig.
It is particularly effective on rivers but can also be used to great affect in shallower waters on lakes.
You need a trolling motor as your speed will need to be somewhere around 0.5 mph.
Cast your jig out behind your boat and let out a sufficient amount of line so that the jig will run at roughly a 30 degree angle to the water surface.
30 degrees means you will get a better hook up rate as a 45 degree or more angle means that your line might start to bow and sag which results in less speed when striking and setting the hook.
You can move along a particular structure or at a depth that walleye are known to be holding.
To run deeper use a larger size Jigging Rap and for shallow work use a smaller size.
What Size Jigging Rap for Walleye ?
The best size Jigging Rap for walleye in open water is a #7 or #9, for shallower water work the anything from a size #2 to a size #7 will work best depending on the depth and structure.
In 15 feet or more you really need the larger sized #7 or #9 to get down to your required depth quickly.
The smaller sizes of Jigging Rap will not sink quick enough to cover the type of depth that you want especially if you are on top of a large school of walleye, you need to get the jig down quickly after landing every fish.
The smaller sizes work best when out on the ice and in depths of 10 feet or less. They have a nice soft swim action when they are lighter and it's not very often you will get a winter walleye to chase a large lure.
What Color Jigging Rap for Walleye ?
The most successful color Jigging Rap lures are perch, chrome/blue, gold, fluorescent orange/gold depending on the day and the light conditions.
I truly believe that the color is not the most important aspect of how to fish a Jigging Rap, it's more about the correct size and the action that you put into it.
That being said sometimes only one color will produce on a given day so you need to have a small collection or different colors and sizes.
To get the very best out any walleye fishing jigs you need a rod that can transmit as much action into the jig as possible.
A fast action walleye rods with a medium to medium/light power rating will work best.
Monofilament has too much stretch in it so use either braid or fluorocarbon. If you are using braid as a main line then always use a fluorocarbon leader as braid is too visible.
When jigging your rod needs as much feedback from the line down through the blank and into your hand.
If your line has some stretch to is then you will loose some of that sensitivity.
This is why you should always use a low stretch line when using a Rapala Jigging Rap for Walleye.