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Rapala X-Rap SureSet Series

Overall score - 79% = (Good)

Specs First Impressions Design Performance Durability Price Final Score


Reviewer: Don

By now, almost every angler either has an X-Rap or has at least heard about the X-Rap. The Rapala X-Rap is a good jerkbait with a unique slashing action that few other jerkbaits can replicate. This particular variation of the hugely successful X-Rap is undoubtedly an effort for Rapala to continue riding the X-Rap's giant wave of success. The X-Rap SureSet Series offers two new things to the angler who is familiar with the original X-Rap. The first would be the VMC SureSet hooks, and the second would be three brand spanking new colors available for an X-Rap only in the SureSet series. I do like the original X-Rap but I would hardly call it great, even though I did catch one of the biggest fish of my life on an one (a 20 lb. channel catfish). So is the X-Rap SureSet Series with its new hooks and colors just another effort to squeeze another buck out of us anglers? Let's find out.

Specs

Specs First Impressions Design Performance Durability Price Final Score

Size(s):

- XRSS08 - 3 1/8", 1/4 oz, No. 6 & 8 Hooks *
- XRSS10 - 4", 7/16 oz, No. 4 & 6 Hooks *
- XRSS12 - 4 3/4", 3/4 oz, No. 2 & 4 Hooks

* Size(s) used during this review

Design features:

- VMC SureSet hooks
- Integrated long-casting system
- Aggressive darting action
- Internal holographic foil
- 3-D holographic eyes
- Suspending

Color(s):

- AS Albino Shiner
- BBS Blue Back Shiner
- MBS Moss Black Shiner *

* Color(s) used during this review.

Made in:

- Assembled in Estonia

Price when Reviewed:

- $7.99


Background

It was the 1930s when a simple Finnish fisherman made an observation that was pure genius: big fish eat little fish that are wounded. This is the beginning of one of the greatest fishing stories of modern times. Based in Minnetonka, Minnesota, with companies in 12 countries and distribution centers in more than 130 countries, the Rapala-Normark Group is the world's largest fishing lure company, as well as one of the world's largest premium fishing tackle distributors.

Many tackle companies have come and gone since Rapala was founded in 1959 but the passing of time has proved that Rapala is undoubtedly here to stay. To the benefit of anglers the world over!

Specs First Impressions Design Performance Durability Price Final Score

When I first pulled this lure out of the package I was really impressed with the X-Rap SureSet series' new colors. Rapala's Moss Black Shiner color looks great. I love this color! The sure set VMC hooks look great as well. I have used VMC hooks before and I do like them for certain applications. I didn't like the fact that there are only 3 colors available for the X-Rap SureSet Series.


(This new color looks great!)

Overall, I would have to say that my first impressions of this bait were pretty good. My good first impressions were based mostly on the color because I prefer a more natural greenish tinge on the X-Raps I tend to use the most.

Specs First Impressions Design Performance Durability Price Final Score

The X-Rap SureSet Series of baits is the exact same as the original save the VMC hooks and the new colors. The head area looks great but I thought for a second that they may have used new eyes for this bait. This bait's eyes appeared to be looking downward a bit but upon closer inspection I believe they're the same.


(All of the X-Rap SureSet Series colors have this shad-like black gill marking)

This bait has the same gill, fin, and scale patterns as the original X-Rap. They still add some realistic qualities to this bait. As with the original X-Rap, The scale pattern and holographic foil are located under this bait's exterior, not on it. This design characteristic will ensure that this bait's scale pattern and foil aren't worn down from repeated use of this bait.


(A closer look at the internal scale pattern)

The Rapala website claims that this bait can dive from three to fifteen feet! I am pretty sure this is a mistake on their part because the X-Rap deep is only rated for five to ten feet. Just to be sure, we took the time to weigh the original X-Rap XR-10 and this one and sure enough they weighed exactly the same as they should. I think it's safe to assume that they meant to say that this bait dives 3' to 5'.


(We're glad they finally changed their website that once said this bait dives to 15 ft.)

We think that the VMC Hooks are a nice touch, but they're NOT for everyone. I can tell you this with certainty - there is no possible way I could have caught that 20 lb. channel cat were I using the X-Rap SureSet Series with its VMC hooks. I have found that the VMC sure set hooks have a tendency to bend out on larger or sometimes harder fighting fish. On the other hand, these hooks are great for dealing with short strikes and you should see a big increase in your hook-up ratio as well.


(I have confidence in this hook for small to medium sized fish)

Make no mistake, this is the exact same lure as the original X-Rap save its new colors and VMC sure set hooks. It weights the same, it suspends in the water the same, and it looks the same.


(Pretty much the same bait for just a dollar more. That's almost like giving someone $1 for 87 cents; what a deal...)

Specs First Impressions Design Performance Durability Price Final Score

As I have previously stated, I like the original X-Rap but there are still plenty of other jerkbaits in my arsenal that I would rather use. One of the main reasons why I choose not to use X-Raps as much as my other jerkbaits is the hooks. I have had more than my fair share of smallies at the end of my line throwing my X-Rap or just not hooking up at all. I prefer LC Pointers or Yo-Zuri Pin's Minnows for smallies but to be fair, I have found X-Raps to be killer on largemouth bass. I do have more hook-ups when I change out the hooks on my old Rapalas (especially floating Rapalas). A part of me feels that I shouldn't have to do that in the first place, not to mention it's a pain in the ass! I have a lot more hope for these new X-Rap SureSet Series of jerkbaits with the addition of the VMC SureSet hook.

I'll have you know that our Rapala X-Rap SureSet Series jerkbaits did quite a bit of traveling during the course of this review. However, our trip into Michigan didn't turn out too well because of a near flood of the River Raisen, but I digress. Our first stop is the Ohio River in PA so let's get this thing into the water!


(The Rapala X-Rap SureSet Series on the Ohio River in PA)

As a general rule of thumb, when using a jerkbait, it's usually a good idea to start out using a larger-sized bait and then work your way down if you aren't getting any bites. Larger baits present a larger profile and create more vibration that is easier for fish to detect, thus making it easier to pick off the more aggressive fish. Since I do everything bass ackwards, I usually prefer to use a smaller sized bait first in more pressured waters. After a few casts and some ripping (or slashing if you like) with an XRSS08 size X-Rap, I promptly yell, "fish on!"

We caught a few black crappie and smallies that day but it was the first crappie we caught that (in my opinion) perfectly illustrated the Rapala X-Rap SureSet series' advantage over the original X-Rap. Talk about VMC hooks being great for dealing with short strikes, I literally caught this black crappie by the skin of his mouth! Now that has to be one of the shortest strikes I've ever had while still being able to land the fish. This experience has made my confidence level with VMC hooks go through the roof!


(By the skin of his freakin' mouth!!!)

Our next stop is the Maumee River in Ohio. It is the Maumee River, that in this angler's humble opinion, is going to make or break the latest version of the X-Rap for me. I, along with many other anglers, believe that for some unknown reason, smallmouth bass that live in rivers and streams do fight harder that those that live in lakes. So when I really want to see if my gear is smallie worthy, you'll usually find me doin' it on the river. Lake Erie is arguably one of the best places in the world to fish for smallmouth bass. The Maumee River is a watershed of Lake Erie and as a result it offers up some superb smallie fishing.


(The Rapala X-Rap SureSet Series visits the Maumee River for its biggest test)

I love tossing jerkbaits in between these weeds because you never know what you're going to pull out. This location is almost exactly like the place where I caught that 20 lb. channel cat (in the mouth, not foul hooked) on the original X-Rap 2 years ago. I would be happy to show you a picture but it was taken at night with a cell phone camera so the picture looks like crap.


(Locked, loaded, and about to lay down the law on the Maumee!)

Just like the original X-Rap, the new SureSet Series casts quite well. I have always loved the way that X-Raps cast like a bullet, even in the wind; this bait is certainly no exception. The new X-Rap SureSet Series has the same long cast system that the original has. The Rapala X-Rap's long cast system serves a dual purpose. It helps to increase the distance of your cast by shifting internal weights during your outcast. The internal weights that help with casting also serve as a rattle when this bait is ripped through the water.


(Another long and accurate cast)

When retrieving an X-Rap, I rarely stick to just one type of retrieve but therein lies this bait's greatest strength. I consider the Rapala X-Rap to be a very versatile bait because its unique design allows for many different types of retrieves. I usually prefer a hard snap with my rod pointing downward in a jerk-jerk-jerk-pause type retrieve. I also find that a sweeping retrieve with the rod waist high or pointed downward can be effective as well. This bait can also walk-the-dog with the best of the suspending jerkbaits in my opinion. One retrieve that I do not like is the constant retrieve because it imparts so little action to an X-Rap. Don't be afraid to get creative with your retrieves when using an X-Rap and don't be surprised if it works either!


(Twitchin' the X-Rap SureSet Series)

My last stop is at the picturesque Roche de Boeuf on the Maumee River where I hooked into several 12" to 15" smallies while wet wading. I caught one pretty darn good 15" smallie (for the river) that seemed as though he had inherited the fighting spirit of the Indians that used to gather here centuries ago. The rear VMC hook held firm and I landed him without any problems. The picture of the smallie I bagged with this X-Rap is at the bottom of the page. You know how it is, gotta save the best for last!

Specs First Impressions Design Performance Durability Price Final Score

The Rapala X-Rap SureSet Series does really well when it comes to durability. Like the original X-Rap, most of the X-Rap SureSet Series' finish is contained within a hard-plastic outer layer, so I'm pretty sure I won't see any paint coming off anytime soon. After banging several crappie, smallmouth, and largemouth bass, this bait essentially looks like it did the day I bought it. The only durability issue I had was with the dressed treble hooks since we lost a few feathers while playing and landing fish. This isn't really that big of a deal since it's common to lose feathers off of dressed treble hooks and you shouldn't expect them to last forever.


(The rear VMC treble hook minus a few feathers)

Specs First Impressions Design Performance Durability Price Final Score

So, is Rapala just trying to squeeze another buck out of us fishermen with their latest version of the X-Rap? The answer is yes, they probably are, but who gives a flying crap! That's business my friends and when you have a successful product, you better ride that thing like a thoroughbred racehorse until it's dead. At least in my opinion, they put some better hooks on these baits that I believe perform better than the original hooks.

Is it worth the extra money? For me it is because I'm lazy and don't want to buy a bunch of VMC hooks and put them on my X-Raps. Paying more money for a hook that I could easily put on myself might make you think I'm stupid and that's okay too (you'd be in good company, I assure you.) I have been called many things in my life but "not lazy" isn't one of them! I'll take my new hooks and colors thank you very much, and I'll trade Rapala my dollar bill for their 87 cents while I'm at it, and be sort-of happy I did it!

Specs First Impressions Design Performance Durability Price Final Score

The good - The VMC hooks give me some hope that I'll see more hook-ups with this newest version of the much loved X-Rap.

The Bad - I'm not big fan of the way Rapala has implemented their long cast system. Sometimes the internal weights will bunch up making both the cast system and internal rattles not work properly. This can be fixed by hitting it off of something a few times in order to loosen up the internal weights. I found it wayyy too difficult to pick out a color with such an intimidating selection of 3 colors that Rapala has made available for the X-Rap SureSet Series.

The Score - 72 out of 100


The good - Same great X-Rap action. The VMC hooks worked very well for me on both the 08 and 10 sizes.

The Bad - I do not prefer to use a constant retrieve with this bait.

The Score - 83 out of 100


The good - When I think of the word durability when it comes to lures, the original Rapala X-Rap is one of the first baits that comes to mind. I assure you that the X-Rap SureSet Series is no different in that regard.

The Bad - It's not that big of a deal but we lost a few feathers on the dressed treble hooks.

The Score - 92 out of 100

The good - In my opinion the addition of VMC hooks and new colors make the Rapala X-Rap's $1 price increase somewhat justifiable. I think that the VMC hooks do work better but not all anglers would agree, I'm sure.

The Bad - The $1 price increase over the somewhat expensive original X-Rap may deter the angler who is sitting on the fence about getting one of these. There are plenty of anglers out there who have no problems at all landing smallies with their old X-Raps. I don't think we'll see them flocking to their local brick and mortar store to buy the X-Rap SureSet Series.

The Score - 67 out of 100

Overall score - 79% = (Good)

For more on how we score our reviews and the score's meanings


(At 14 inches, this river smallie is big enough the make most angler's hearts race. Thankfully, the Rapala X-Rap SureSet Series didn't let me down)

I like the new version of the original X-Rap but that doesn't mean I'm going to rush out and buy a butt load more of 'em. I did find that I had an increased hook-up ratio when compared to the original X-Rap which is awesome. I think my favorite thing about the X-Rap SureSet Series is the new colors. The new VMC hooks held up well against the crazed river smallies that I so passionately pursue and that's always important in my book. Bottom line, I like the new colors, I like the new hooks, and it catches more smallies than my old X-Raps. That's why I have no problem recommending this lure.

We recommend this product!