Congratulations! You went out and bought yourself, one of the best lipless crankbaits on the market, the Rat-L-Trap. Now, how can you fish this bait to catch more bass?
In this post, we are going to take a look at 5 key rattle trap fishing tips that every bass fishermen should know.
How to fish a rattle trap
Before we can talk about some rattle trap fishing tips, let’s take a quick look at equipment.
What is the best rattle trap rod?
A medium power rating with a fast action tip or a medium heavy power rating with a moderate fast action tip is what you are going to look for when looking for the best rod. This is going to give you just enough power to control the fish and to keep him pinned, at the same time you won’t have too much power that you risk pulling the hooks out on the hookset. The fast to moderate fast action tip is especially important when fishing with treble hooks as the tip has just enough give so as to prevent the fish from throwing the lure.
What is the best fishing line?
I like to throw fluorocarbon when fishing with lipless crankbaits for one reason, sensitivity. One of the best ways to catch bass on a Ratt L Trapp is ripping them through grass. In order to feel the grass you need an ultra sensitive fishing line such as fluorocarbon.
Monofilament is also a great option when looking to keep your lure higher up in the water column. Because of its stretch properties it will also aid in creating good hooksets.
What is the best reel?
Few things generate a better reaction strike than burning it across the water or ripping it through the weed line. In order to do this without burning out your forearms a high gear ratio reel is needed. I would recommend a reel with a high 7.1:1 gear ratio or even a 8.3:1.
Now that we talked a little bit about equipment, let’s talk about some ways to fish this crankbait to catch more fish. Let’s talk about 4 do’s and 1 don’t when rattle trap fishing.
Rip it through the grass. As we mentioned before, rattle traps really excel when being brought through grass weed lines. They are so effective in these situations because oftentimes they will get hung up on the grass limbs. When we start pulling on our rod to free our lure, the lure suddenly becomes free and darts off in an erratic motion. This motion perfectly imitates a fleeing baitfish and many times will generate a reaction strikes from a nearby bass.
This technique has been proven to be so effective that many people, when they know they are fishing a grass weed line, will intentionally try to get their lure stuck on some grass and then attempt to rip their lure free in hopes of getting a big one. So, if your lure isn’t getting hung up in the grass, we could say that you probably are fishing in the wrong spot.
Stop and Start. Without a doubt one of the best features to the Rat-L-Trap is the rattle. This rattle can draw bass in and entice them to bite. One technique that I like that really takes advantage of this feature is what I like to call the stop and start retrieval.
Simply cast out your bait and as you are bringing it back to the boat give it a slow jerk with your rod. After you have pulled your rod a little ways, slowly bring your rod forward while you reel up the slack. This motion will stop the forward progress of your lure and allow it to fall. It is at this point that your lure will give off a nice action and you should feel your rattles vibrating in the water. Many times with this technique the bass will take it on the fall so always be prepared to hook a big one.
Yo-Yo Retrieval. Very similar to the stop and start retrieval is the yo-yo retrieval. With this technique instead of jerking your rod to one side you are going to jerk it up and then let it fall. This motion creates a unique action that bass love. This is especially effective when fishing deeper water as most rattle traps won’t sink much on a normal retrieval.
Always keep in mind when fishing a rattle trap that the warmer the water the faster, more erratic motion you want to give the bait. On cold winter days the fish aren’t going to react as quickly so a slower motion will prove to be more successful.
Vary your speed – burn it across the water. Another great way to fish a rattle trap is to burn it across the water. This can be deadly when fishing those windy days. On windy days bass won’t have the opportunity to have a good look at the lure and they just see a flash, feel some vibration and react.
However, not all situations call for burning it across the water. If this technique isn’t producing bites, try to slow things down. As we mentioned earlier, rattle traps have a great rattle. Take advantage of this rattle by slow rolling it up into grass or around structure. Sometimes it is the slightest movements that get the bites.
Don’t do a normal retrieve. One thing you never want to do when fishing a rattle trap is to simply cast it out there and bring it back to the boat. I can almost promise you, that you never will get a bite on a normal steady retrieval. Many times we might start with a normal steady retrieve and then we get a phone call. When we stop reeling to check our phone, we get a bite. What happened? We stopped. We did something different. The bait fluttered. The motion was erratic. That is what bass want. So always vary your retrieval and speed when out on the water with a rattle trap.
Cool Rat-L-Trap Modifications.
Another great thing you can do with rattle traps, is you can modify them to either give the bass something they haven’t seen before or to enhance your presentation. Let’s take a look at 3 of my favorite rattle trap modifications.
Add a blade. One popular modification that many fishermen like to do is to remove the back treble hook and replace it with a small ball bearing swivel. You then can add a small silver or gold willow leaf blade on the tail end of your crankbait. With this modification when you burn it across the water, the willow leaf will kick out just like baitfish. On some days, more flash might result in more bites.
Remove a hook. Another cool modification you can do to your crankbait is to remove the back hook altogether. Next, you replace the front hook with a bigger/better treble hook such as a Gamakatsu #1 treble. What this will do to your lure is the front heavier hook will make it ride more vertical and prevent it from getting hung up as often. This will be useful when fishing around a lot of structure or laydowns. Rather than getting hung up, the more vertical approach will make it act like a square bill crankbait and roll over the structure.
Add different sounds. If you tend to be fishing lakes that bass get pressured with lipless crankbaits quite often you can modify your lure so that it is like no other. One way is to drill a small hole on the backend of the lure and remove the bb’s. You than can add your open bb’s, perhaps larger ones that will give it its own unique sound.
The Rat-L-Trap has been on the market for over 50 years. What has it proven over the last half a century? That it can catch fish.
In this post we have talked about the best equipment to get the most of out of this lure. We also talked about 4 do’s and 1 don’t on how to fish a rattle trap. Now all you have to do is get out there, put this tips to good use and catch some bass.
Have some rattle trap fishing tips you would like to share? Please tell us about this in the comments section below.