Recently, while I was organizing trays of crank baits in all shapes, sizes, and colors preparing for the upcoming “big boy trip” to Canada a question arose. A lady friend of mine asked, “Matt, if you could only take one of those crank baits to Canada with you, which would you choose and why?” I had no hesitation and blurted out No. 7 Rapala Shad rap in the color perch. ( Model Number SR07, Body Length 2-3/4”, Weight 5/16 oz, Treble Hooks Two No. 5 ) Since the creation of this crank bait, Rapala and its competitors have developed 100’s of similar cranks including glass shad raps, tail dancers, etc. Although I throw and troll many different styles of cranks this is still, “The One” that if I could have only one trip I would for my trips up north.
So, how did this love affair with this awesome bait begin? I was on one of my earlier trips up north many years ago (about 15yrs ago) while fishing Dogtooth Lake staying at Luther Village. I accompanied my pal Al Secor and his family up north to this location and Al and I experienced our first “solo” fishing trip without adult supervision (while on the water). (Al had already came up north with the Speicher Boys earlier that summer for a week ) Dad had lent Al and I the 15hp outboard that we hauled up with us to save some money and we rented a boat from the lodge to put the motor on. Dad had also lent us a portable Humminbird fish finder. We thought that we had some idea what we were doing and hit the lake with high hopes. Armed with some live bait, and deformed crank baits (Dogtooth had certain regulations at the time in which only one trouble hook could be used and that one trouble could only have two hooks and must be barbless as well) we started out journey.
It wasn’t but a few minutes and the safety of the camp was out of view. I clearly remember the landscape still smoking in some spots as a wild fire had blazed through just the week before. We tried live bait with jigs for walleyes and threw some spoons that to us at the time seemed enormous. We had fished almost the entire day with only a few snake northern pike and hardly a kink in our leaders to show for our efforts. (It was August and apparently we were fishing way to shallow) We decided that we should probably start making our back to camp as we had no map, land marks, and of course no GPS to find our bearings. As I pulled on the rope to start the outboard I heard a strange sound and the engine started but wouldn’t go into gear, forward or backwards. After opening the engine cover I could see what the problem was, we were missing a screw. The screw happened to be at the bottom of the motor case. So now I was getting very frustrated while Al found our predicament to be quite entertaining.
So hardly a fish all day and then this! While I calmed down and tried to brain storm away to get to the screw without dropping it into the water I decided “screw it lets fish”. I pitched out the famous No. 7 perch crank and smack, I had a fish on. Not just any fish but a eater walleye that had been quite elusive all day. I decided to let the boat float into shore as running the motor in neutral surely wouldn’t help. I then proceeded to cast out into the deeper water. Smack, another walleye, guess we weren’t going to starve after all! This bait produced over a dozen walleyes from this same spot with this same crank bait over the next hour. The only problem was that I had only one! It didn’t seem to matter what crank bait Al was tossing, they wanted mine! My next cast resulted in getting “piked” and I feared that our flurry of action was done as I had no more No. 7’s on board. I went back to working on the motor and was able to get to the screw using the needle nose pliers that had seen very little use until now. As we pushed ourselves away from the rocky shore I noticed something floating just under the surface of the clear water. It was the No. 7 Perch that had saved the day, floating back to me, after i can only assume, was spit out by the pike.
I couldn’t help but smile as I knew that this crank bait had made all of the difference! This action on the end of the first day proved to be the best walleye action that we had for the entire week. We were able to find our way back to Luther Village and fried up some tasty walleye. So there’s the story behind “The One”.