Jig Raps, Puppet Minnows, Shiver Minnows, Crystal Reaper (my personal favorite) all catch fish, and all have a time and place where they excel and shine. I will say this, most of the clients I get in my boat over the course of the year, are afraid of Jig Raps. There is a very good reason for that!
I know I left a few different lures (glide baits) off the list. Not all these baits are created equal and each bait does different things. Some of the baits seem to work better when casted, some seem to work better fished vertically, and some just seem to work no matter what or how you fish them.
I’m going to go through all of these baits listed to help speed up your process of deciding what to do and when to do it. Again, everything I’m going to tell is merely a cliff note version for the bait and none of it is etched in stone.
The hardest part for folks is letting these baits do their thing in the water. We all seem to try and hold the bait back. What I mean by this is you want to have a slackline. Most every other lure in the world this isn’t the case. So if you’re casting, let it free fall. When jigging them, let it free-fall back to the bottom. On the retrieve, yes after you pop it back let it free fall on the slackline.
The baits are all designed with a back fin that makes the lure swim unpredictable and erratic. I think almost every fish you can on a jigging rap bites out of aggression instead of feeding out of hunger. I think of it as Thanksgiving dinner. You stuff your face and you are so full, but when the pumpkin pie and ice cream come out you still eat it because you can not help yourself.
So I am going to list the raps I like to use below here, and how I personally like to fish them, and how I have had success over the years fishing with them.
● Rapala Jig Rap * cast and vertical
● Northland Puppet Minnow *vertical
● Moonshine Shiver Minnow *casted
● Vexan Crystal Reaper * cast and vertical
Rapala jig raps and the Vexan Crystal reaper and very similar baits. Both work very well when casted and also when popped hard vertically. The biggest thing I find with a jig rap and reaper is they work better with a small snap tied to the line instead of being tied directly. For all my jig rap applications I personally use a high viz braid like Suffix 332 10 pound test with a 12 to 14-pound Fluorocarbon. Again, tying the fluorocarbon directly to the braid seems best so you are not reeling a swivel into your rod tips. My personal favorite rod is without question a 7’ 1” JTX Mag ML JT Custom Rod! I swear I catch fish with this rod I never used to feel.
The Puppet Minnow, made by Northland Tackle, is a lure I tie the fluorocarbon directly to with no snap. For me, I seem to do well fishing this one directly below the boat. It works well with a less aggressive pop, but a free fall triggers the bite with these lures.
Moonshine Shiver (also known as shivering) with question work best being casted. Long casts with these baits are key and again a free fall is key. I also tie these on directly with no snap. The major characteristic is these baits when casted and pumped back, actually circle backward back to where they started, This is completely different from the other baits. These baits are more controlled and at times are the best bait in the water!
Last but not least, is the Crystal Reaper made by Vexan Fishing. A huge advantage to these lures is the price! As we all know these baits are not cheap and it stings the bank account when we break a bait off. It’s not as bad with these, and they have some really cool colors that the other companies do not offer. These baits just like the jig rap work extremely well with a snap-on them. I think the snaps let it move more freely giving it more action. The last little detail thing with the reapers is they have a glow bead on the hooks. Again, a tad different, and sometimes the bites are in the details.
Like I mentioned earlier this is just a base guide for how these lures seem to work and how they seem to work in different scenarios. When I’m fishing these in an open water application I do not tip them with anything. Straight out of the package is where it is at! Good Luck the next time you tie one on!