Which Rapala? A Salmon Fisher's Guide

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Rapala are a deadly lure when fishing for salmon.  However, there are so many!  Which one should we choose? 

Salmon fishers tend to stick with lures that consistently catch fish.  With this in mind, this Guide reviews our Rapala sales over the last five years to come up with the top selling Rapala.  The majority of our customers fish the Tyne, Tweed or Coquet venturing further up to Scottish rivers and further afield to Ireland, Norway and North America.  They make up a reasonably representative cross-section of the more successful salmon fishing population!

What pattern?

Of the many patterns available the Gold Fluorescent Red, Blue, Silver, Gold and Firetiger account for more than 80% of sales.  Of these, the Gold Fluorescent and Blue appear to account for most fish throughout the season with Firetiger showing a late surge in October and November.  The Firetiger appears to elicit a highly aggressive response especially from cock fish at the end of the season.

The Top Five Patterns!

The Gold Fluorescent Red is especially useful in high water conditions.  The Gold and Silver for clearing water and the Blue for low water.  In addition, the Blue Spotted Minnow deserves a notable mention - it is the best of the rest.

Original Floating, Countdown, Jointed?

Most fishers prefer the Original (Floating) Rapala and this accounts for more than half of sales.  A rapid retrieve causes the rapala to dive.  Stop retrieving and the lure rises to the surface.  The Jointed Rapala is a less popular choice amongst salmon fishers - though personally I've always found the wounded fish movement really attractive in a lure. 


The Countdown is a sinking lure very useful in high water, deeper holes or when loch fishing.  However, the majority of our customers will use an Original Floating Rapala with the addition of an Arlesley bomb or spiral weight to take the lure deep.

What Size?

    3       5       7       9       11       13

    1%    11%  37%  34%   16%    1%

Fishers on smaller rivers tend to favour the 5cm, 7cm and 9cm sizes.  On the larger rivers the 7cm, 9cm and 11cm are more popular.  Fishing the Tweed, Andy Murray recommends a 13cm rapala. 

If You Had To Choose Just Three Which Would They Be?

To be honest I think that Rapala's own recommendation for salmon fishing is hard to beat.  The Rapala Salmon Pro-Kit based principally on the Gold Fluorescent Red pattern in the best-taking size - the 7cm.

In addition, their recommendation for sea trout is hard to beat.  The Rapala Sea Trout Pro-Kit is based principally on the Blue pattern in the best-taking size - the 7cm.  Probably not a coincidence but this is also the pattern recommended by Falkus and Greenhalgh in The Salmon and Sea Trout Fisher's Handbook 

Both the salmon and sea trout packs include the new Husky Jerk Rapala - a neutral buoyancy lure that allows you to position the lure and leave it hovering temptingly in front of a fish.  A relatively new development the Husky Jerk is under-represented in our sales figures - salmon fishers can be relatively conservative!


I hope you found this Guide useful.  If you did can I ask you to complete the Feedback form below.

Catch fish,  Dennis.




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