The Year of the Crank

by Larry Gonczy

Larry was a Board Member and Past President, a member of The Western Washington Walleye Club, a Pro Staff Member for O.M.C., G-Loomis, Kalin, Gamakatsu, Normark and Lund Boats, and a Pro Tournament Fisherman. May he rest in peace.

Risto RapsAccording to the Chinese Calendar, 1997 was the "Year of the Ox." But according to my fishing diary, last year will be remembered as the "Year of the Crank". Most of us who spend a lot of time on the water are not strangers to crankbaits, and yet the typical bass angler attributes the majority of their "year-round" success to plastics and spinnerbaits. Last spring I discovered a new crankbait that should change that balance dramatically: Normark's new Risto Rap.
Any bass angler who has ever used a Rapala Minnow, Rattlin' Rap, Shad Rap, or Husky Jerk, knows that Normark designs baits to catch more then just the eye of the fisherman; they produce fish! So when asked last spring to "field test" these newest medium and deep-diving crankbaits, I chose Lake Washington, WA as the place to put the Risto Raps to the test.
Lake Washington tends to have it's fair share of wind and one of the frustrating traits of many crankbaits is that they are often too light to cast in breezy conditions. The weight and aerodynamics of the Risto Rap allows casting control, reduced back lashing, and more distance which allows the lure to get down and stay in the strike zone longer. (And it catches fish!)
An hour or two of throwing a medium or deep diving crankbait with a large bill, often has anglers entertaining the idea of wrist transplants. But I was delighted to discover how little water resistance there is due to the body and lip design. Couple this with the fact that every Rapala is hand tuned and tank tested, and you have a crankbait that gets down quickly and is comfortable to fish all day long. (And it catches fish!)
Replacing the monofilament line with "Fireline", a thin-diameter fiber line, gives the crankbait extra depth. This is important because the more you make it bounce on the bottom, the more reaction strikes you will encounter. Time and time again, smallmouths lethargically watched my plastic baits slither by, but only moments later they nailed the Risto Rap as it careened off rocks and bottom debris. (Believe me, it catches fish!)
Getting reaction bites is great, but only if you can keep the fish on. You will have an added advantage if you replace the factory hooks with the New EWG Extra Wide Gap treble hooks by GAMAKATSU. By adding a ultra sharp, better holding hook to your crank, you are now prepared to go out there and take advantage of the fish attracting qualities of the Risto Rap. (Which, by the way, really catches fish!)
From early spring to late fall, the Risto Rap has consistently produced quality fish on Lake Washington. It has become such a confidence lure, that my crankbait rod is increasingly becoming the first one I reach for in the morning. Field testing in 1997 allowed me a jump on most anglers, but put some of these new Risto Raps in your tackle box, and this year may be your "Year of the Crank".