UPCOMING EVENT: TOYOTA SERIES - 2020 - Lake Cumberland

Tackle Test: March Bass Edition

Tackle Test: March Bass Edition
Rapla X-Rap Shad Shallow SureSet

Rapala X-Rap Shad Shallow SureSet
Just call it versatile: The Rapala X-Rap Shad Shallow SureSet combines some of the best qualities of the popular X-Rap Shad crankbait and the X-Rap slashbait. This compact package puts on a masterful show in the upper portion of the water column.

Specifications
Weights: 5/16 and 1/2 ounce
Colors: Nine
Running Depth: 2 to 7 feet
Lengths: 2 1/2 and 3 1/8 inches
Price: $7.49 to $8.49
Contact: rapala.com

Performance
There is plenty to like here. The lure casts like a bullet against a stout wind and packs an enticing wobble that varies from frantic to lethargic, depending on retrieve speed. When killed, the lure suspends. When twitched with an erratic cadence, it becomes a miniature slashbait that darts side-to-side like a disoriented baitfish.

Where it Shines
It's tailor-made for situations when the bass are relating to the upper portion of the water column. It works in muddy water or clear, and can be used to fish submerged grass beds, around docks, or over logs and rocks. Schooling activity was minimal during my testing period, but I suspect this new Rapala offering would be highly effective when tossed into a schooling melee on or near the surface.

Hooked Up
The X-Rap Shad Shallow SureSet comes standard with premium VMC SureSet hooks. The rear treble is dressed with a feather and tinsel for added appeal. It features a unique design intended to increase hookup ratios, especially on fish that might short-strike the lure.

All Dressed Up
The lure features an internal textured finish and 3-D eyes that displace plenty of flash. It also has a built-in rattle chamber and internal weighting system to optimize castability.
The Easy View Tackle System saves space by turning the under side of any storage compartment into a lure hangout.
Easy View Complete Tackle System
This is a nifty tackle management system that turns the bottom side of any rod locker or storage compartment lid into a handy platform for hanging all sorts of lures and terminal tackle. It neatly stores plastics, spinnerbaits, crankbaits and jigs to save valuable time on the water.

Specs
Hardware: Includes nine clip strips, two crankbait hangers, mounting screws, optional mounting pads with adhesive, tie straps, and instructions
Capacity: Nine clip strips hold up to 84 individual lures or bags of plastics. Crankbait hanger capacity varies according to lure size.
Compatibility: Any bass boat brand
Price: $48.95
Contact: easyviewtackle.com

How it Works
Lures and bags of soft plastics are held snug using heavy-duty tension clips that won't lose their grip, even in rough water. For easy access while fishing, hang soft-plastic bags so the clip captures the zipper on the rear flap. Open bags hang at 90 degrees when the lid is shut, so lures can't bounce out. Jigs and spinnerbaits are secured by clipping the weedguard, hook or wire shaft. Crankbaits store by hanging the rear trebles in a foam-filled plastic channel.

The Easy View Tackle System turns your boat into a giant tackle box.Installation
Following the instructions made installation a breeze. The clip strips installed easily using basic hand tools. Screw mounting was the simplest and least time consuming. Adhesive mounting required some prep work and drying time to maximize the bond, but it eliminated the need for drilling holes. Plastic crankbait hangers secured to an inner wall using two screws.

Design
One of the coolest things about the system is the angler can design the layout to suit his style of fishing. The clip strips are precut to fit most lid dimensions but can be cut down with a hacksaw for custom applications. The metal clip strips are powder-coated black to resist corrosion and rust.

GrandeBass MegaTail RattleSnake
Texas-based GrandeBass broke the traditional plastic-worm mold with the release of the MegaTail RattleSnake. From head to tail, this lure is truly unique from other ribbon-tail worms on the market.

Specs
Number of Colors: Eight
Length: 8 inches
Price: $4.89 for nine
Contact: grandebass.com

GrandeBass MegaTail RattleSnakeAll-Around Performer
Rigged on a Carolina rig, Texas rig or shaky head, the MegaTail RattleSnake cops a tantalizing action unlike anything I've ever seen. The unique tail design causes it to flutter wildly and displace a tremendous amount of water. That is a big plus in stained or muddy water.

Key Features
The main body of the MegaTail RattleSnake closely resembles the GrandeBass Baby Rattlesnake, which features a soft, ribbed texture that bass are prone to hold on to. The curly tail section starts out flat, then tapers into a wedge with more than three dozen vented ribs that grab water to help promote the seductive swimming action and enticing vibration. The lures are impregnated with Mega 3 to simulate the scent of live prey.

Jackall MC/60 SR
Not surprisingly, the MC/60 SR passed inspection with flying colors. It also racked up a few battle scars along the way. Bass like it, and if you can get on the fish, you'll catch them with this lure.

Specs
Diving Depth: 4 feet
Weight: 3/8 ounce
Length: 2 1/2 inches
Number of Colors: 12
Price: $14.99
Contact: jackall-lures.com

Jackall MC/60 SRHard Knocks/Tough as Nails
Thanks to an internal ballast weighting system and a well-balanced plastic body, the lure rights itself almost instantly after colliding with something hard, as opposed to darting sideways or rolling over as some other crankbaits do.

Frantic Action
The lure has a frantic, side-to-side rolling action, even when worked at slow retrieves, making it perfect for when the bass want something extra. The wedge-shaped bill drives the lure about 4 feet deep on 10- to 12-pound-test fluorocarbon and displaces gobs of water along the way.

Versatility
The shallow diver made an equally good showing around grass. I caught multiple bass crawling it over grass flats in open water, through lily pads and along shallow channel breaks laced with clumps of hydrilla. Not surprisingly, roving wolf packs of schooling bass liked it, too.

Other Key Features
The plump body is very buoyant, which helps it float free from brush, grass and other potential snags with a slight swagger. The Jackall color options are above average, and the No. 4 treble hooks are extremely sharp.

Abu Garcia Vendetta VTC63-5 Casting Rod
If you're in the market for a good-quality multipurpose rod that won't break the bank, chances are you'll like the new Abu Garcia Vendetta Series lineup. Initially, I was hunting for something to throw jerkbaits with my Abu Garcia Revo reel, but I got way more than I bargained for in the VTC63-5.

Specs
Length: 6 feet, 3 inches
Action: Medium
Applications: Jerkbaits, topwaters and shallow cranks
Price: $79.95
Contact: abugarcia.com

Performance
Not only did the rod perform beautifully in combination with a variety of shallow-diving jerkbaits, it also worked nicely with topwater poppers, walking baits and square-billed cranks. The only thing that might make it better for those applications is a slightly lighter tip, but other than that I wouldn't change a thing. Lightweight and well-balanced, the rod delivered minimal fatigue and, overall, is a true pleasure to fish with.

Construction
The Vendetta is built around a quality graphite blank outfitted with Pac Bay DPL TiCH frame guides and Fuji Soft-Touch ACS and VSS reel seats. It has a split-grip handle made from high-density EVA foam and a cool looking anodized aluminum lockdown with satin red highlights.

Variety
Vendetta Series casting and spinning rods are available in a variety of lengths and actions. Casting rods range from 6 feet, 3 inches to 7 feet, 6 inches in medium, medium-heavy and heavy actions. Spinning rods range from 6 feet, 3 inches to 7 feet, 4 inches in medium-light, medium and medium-heavy actions.

Tags: matt-williams  tips-and-techniques 

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