The Shallow Shad Rap

Mike Iaconelli
Mike Iaconelli

We all know about the Rapala Shad Rap. It’s one of the all-time great lures, one of the best ones ever made to be blunt about it. But, you don’t hear so much about the shallow version of this bait. You should, and you should have a handful of them in your boat at all times.

We’ll deal with “all times” first. Too often this lure is thought of as only a shallow, clear water lure. I’ve caught bass on them in muddy water and in water that’s 20 feet deep when the bass are suspended or when they come up to feed. So, don’t ever not think about throwing a Shallow Shad Rap just because of the time of the year you’re fishing or the depth of the water. That would be a mistake.

Rapala Shallow Shad Rap
Rapala Shallow Shad Rap

The thing that makes this lure different is the way the lip is constructed. Instead of being short and coming off the nose at an angle like other shallow baits it drops straight down and then straight out. It’s still short, though.

This gives it a different kind of wiggle as it moves through the water. When you combine that with the buoyancy of good, high-quality balsa wood you have something that’s truly unique, something very few bass have ever seen. At the same time, though, it looks natural.

Shallow Shad Raps come in at least a dozen colors and four or five sizes. There’s a magnum size, too, in case you’re looking for a giant. It’s called the Super Shad Rap. It’s basically just like the shallow model except that it’s much bigger, heavier and tougher.

Rapala Super Shad Rap
Rapala Super Shad Rap

I pick my colors to match the local forage. This lure looks like the real thing when it moves. I want the same look when it comes to finish.

Most Shallow Shad Raps will run between 1 and 3 feet deep. If you use really light line, you can get them down to 4 or 5 feet. The bigger models might get down a little deeper than that, but not by much.

The Super Shad Rap will get all the way down to 9 feet if you throw it on light line and crank it properly — not too fast, not too slow.

The only modifications I make to these lures is that I upsize the hooks a little so that they’ll slowly sink or suspend and I add a split rig to the nose. I tie direct to it. Otherwise, they are perfect right out of the box.

The final thing I’m going to say — this is Top Secret, Your Eyes Only so don’t ever tell anybody else — is that Shallow Shad Raps are the very best subtle jerkbaits ever made. They slip effortlessly through the water with a gently pull. If there’s a jerkbait bite on, give one of them a try. You’ll load the boat, for sure.

I fish every model and size, except for the biggest one, on medium action spinning tackle and with 6 to 10-pound-test Berkley Trilene 100% Fluorocarbon line.

Keep a few Shallow Shad Raps handy this year. You’ll catch more bass.


Watch the Super Shad Rap Swim!!


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