This is my first ever 'official' product review of a Rapala, I have no idea if there is any sort of 'scientific formula' for a product review, so I'm just going to wing it.
Before I start off I must thank the great folks over at Rapala USA for giving me the opportunity to preview some of their new upcoming 'class of 2011' products. As always there is a lot to get excited about...ok, well I get more excited than most people about this stuff. Anyway...
New for the upcoming fishing year from Rapala is the 'Clackin Crank', which combines the qualities of a crankbait with the 'findability' of a search bait. The distinctive rattle chamber of its pioneer, the Clackin Rap, is also prominent.
The Clackin Crank's debut sizes are the CNC-53 and CNC-74- these model numbers may not make much sense at first, but the method is simple. For example, on the smaller of the two models, the CNC-53, the '5' simply means the lure is 5cm long, and the '3' is the diving depth. Therefore the CNC-74 is 7cm long, and dives to 4'. This type of logic is going to make it very easy for Rapala to expand the lure line to larger models, and possibly deeper diving models in the future.
Both lures feature square lips suitable for bumping off of cover, which is critical - as anyone knows, fish love to strike a lure bumping off timber or rocks. The lips seem thicker and more durable, as it appears to marry very well to its plastic body. They are also equipped with rear SureSet trebles-which is a plus for those short strikes.
The lures' body shape is similar in profile to last years' DT-Thug, but with a flatter and wider head. It almost feels like the offspring of a DT-FAT03 crossed between a Clackin Rap, and this is what you would get get.
As a bass fisherman at heart, I immediately gravitated towards the larger CNC-74 model. The smaller CNC-53 also casts well, and is a nice smaller alternative for those times when the bite is off due to a passing front, and the fish are taking smaller baits. I've always been a proponent of using lighter line, but I think even if I was using 20+ lb line this lure would still cast admirably. I was able to get great distance casting towards shallower waters, even with some significant wind present.
The lure has good action but nothing overly exaggerated that is going to make the rod jump out of your hands upon retrieve. It has the right around of wobble and feels similar to other square lipped Rapala cranks like the new Crankin Rap and the aforementioned DT-FAT03. Around late morning when the shallows bite seemed to go away, I threw it out into deeper waters to see how well it trolled behind my canoe, and it performed excellent. Some lures will rattle the fillings out of your mouth (ok, if you were holding your rod with your teeth maybe) but not the Clackin Crank. I landed a nice bass in around 10’ trolling it which was an extra bonus.
The lure I used with SB ‘Silver Blue’ pattern, a Rapala staple color on virtually all of their baits. My home lake tends to fare better with Silver pattern in general, but the Clackin Crank will be available in 16 colors:
BOS Bleeding Olive Shiner, FT FireTiger, GO Gold Olive, HSD Helsinki Shad, OPSD Original Pearl Shad, PRT Parrot, RSD Regal Shad, S Silver, CSD Chartreuse Shad, GCW Green Crawdad, HM Hot Mustard, MBS Mossback Shiner, PGS Pearl Grey Shiner, RCW Red Crawdad, RUCW Rusty Crawdad, SB Silver Blue.
Overall I think Rapala has another winner on its hands. Even though I am a huge Rapala fan, there are actually some lures and products I am not particularly fond of. I was never a big fan of the Clackin’ Rap when it first appeared, I guess the exposed rattle chamber took awhile to get used to. I think this was the perfect time for them to unveil their expansion of the Clackin' Family.