I’ve been using this lure for over 30 years, so I guess it’s about time I wrote a Rapala Original Floating Minnow Review!
Back in the mid 1980s I started bass fishing. I had been fishing since I was a kid. But I had never fished for bass. That all changed when I met some coworkers who did fish for bass and wanted to know if I was interested in giving it a try.
I said I’d love to. And the rest, as they say, is history!
During my first year of bass fishing, I have to admit that I was pretty clueless about it in general. All I ever knew as a kid was fishing for trout. I would go and dig up some worms and go catch trout. Drop dead easy!
Bass fishing was another story. There was no digging worms. Instead, there were trips to the local tackle shop or the local department store’s fishing tackle aisle. And oh, there was so much to choose from!
During that first year I mostly bought anything that I thought might get a bite. Mostly I bought stuff that didn’t work.
But I Started to Get a Clue
During my second year, I started to get a better understanding of what bass liked… what really worked. And my trips to buy tackle were more productive. I was spending less money on stuff that just took up space in my tackle box. And the lures I was buying were actually catching fish!
During that second year I happened to find a lure made by a company called Rapala. The lure was very basic. It looked like a minnow. No bells or whistles. No fancy, catchy name. Just Rapala Original Floating Minnow. That’s it.
I bought one. It was gold on the sides, white on the belly and black on the back, just like a real fish would be. I don’t recall for sure the size of that first Rapala original floating minnow. But it ended up catching me a lot of bass and a handful of other fish species.
So I Bought More of Them!
After seeing how well that first Rapala floating minnow worked, I kept my eyes open for more of them. Ultimately, I ended up owing them in the 2 inch size, 3 1/2 inches, 4 3/8 inches, 5 1/4 inches and a whopping 7 inch model!
I bought all of them in the gold color because they flat out worked. Many of the lakes and rivers I fish on have natural populations of Golden Shiners, so the gold color is a natural match for them. And even if they weren’t Golden Shiners, this bait would still catch fish simply because it looks realistic.
More Lures Equals More Rods & Reels
The one I used the most, the 4 3/8 inch model, worked perfectly on a medium light spinning rod with 8 lb. test. I still fish that model on that rod setup to this day.
The 2 inch model was well suited to an ultralight rod spooled with 4 lb. test mono. The 3 1/2 inch model works very well on a light action rod with 6 lb. test. And the 5 1/4 inch model works well on a medium action spinning rod spooled with 10 lb. test mono.
As for the 7 inch model, I opt for a medium heavy baitcasting rod spooled with 14 or 15 lb. test mono. But, honestly, I don’t throw that bait very often.
My go-to size is, hands down, the 4 3/8 inch model. I have just plain slayed the bass on that lure for 30 years now. And it catches fish in every season that I have tried it in.
What I Like About It
Aside from the fact that it catches tons of fish, I like it because it’s very versatile. You might not think that when you initially see it. It is, after all, just a floating minnow lure with a short plastic lip and three treble hooks. How versatile can it be?
Let’s talk about that.
Most people will buy this, tie it on and simply cast it out and reel it back in. And it will catch a lot of fish that way! I have personally caught a lot of fish on it that way too.
But, I have also caught hordes of fish on it by casting it to likely targets and letting it sit there for a few seconds and then giving it very subtle, gentle twitches that make it move a very tiny bit on the surface, but not really movie it forward much. It sits pretty stationary, but creates a subtle disturbance on the water’s surface.
Pre-spawn and spawning bass will absolutely annihilate this bait fished like this in and around spawning areas! In fact, I just won a tournament doing this last weekend. I caught so many fish doing this that I actually started having trouble with my spinning reel binding up. I wore it out!
More Ways Than One
Another way that this bait works well is by cranking it back to the boat at a medium speed, with the rod tip pointed down at the water, and then giving it occasional slight snaps forward. That erratic action will sometimes trigger fish that might not otherwise bite.
One other way that I caught fish during my last tourney was to twitch it on the surface and then reel it forward extremely slowly, but just fast enough to swim it forward and make it wobble slowly, but still staying on the surface. One bass absolutely crushed it that way that wouldn’t hit it by just twitching it in one place.
Aside from it catching tons of bass, I like that this lure is still quality-made. It holds up very, very well to lots of fish, despite being made from balsa. The finish is rugged and stands up very well to anything I have ever subjected it to, including occasionally bouncing it off of rocks.
The hooks are also durable and hold up well to lots of fish catching.
Everything else about it is also well-made. The lip, the eyes and the line tie are all very durable.
What I Don’t Like
There are very few things about the Rapala Original Floating Minnow that I don’t like. But there are a couple, so I want to be sure to mention them.
Probably my biggest complaint is that the front and middle treble hooks tend to get caught on each other fairly often on the 4 3/8 inch model. It doesn’t happen on every cast. Probably not even on every 10th cast. But it does happen enough to annoy me at times. And when it does happen, it messes up the action of the lure as you retrieve it.
I don’t recall that problem happening on any of the other sizes, though, so it’s pretty much just that one size. But that one size happens to be the one I use the most, which is why I get so frustrated with it.
I can honestly say that of all the Rapala Originals I have bought, I have only ever had one problem with one breaking. The lip snapped off, rendering it useless. But it very well could have been that I had bounced it off or a rock at some point and cracked the lip without realizing it. Then one day while using it, the lip just broke off.
But for as much use as that lure had seen, it had more than paid for itself!
One minor suggestion I always make to people about this lure is to use a #2 wire snap on the line tie, instead of tying directly to the lure. The #2 light wire snap is light and small enough that it doesn’t impede the lure’s action in any way at all.
In fact, it enhances it! Using that wire snap allows the lure much more freedom of movement, regardless of how you’re fishing it; steady retrieve, twitch and pause, reel and snap. It doesn’t matter. It just makes it work that much better.
Wrapping It Up
And that about wraps this one up.
I love, love, love this bait! It catches fish. It’s affordable. It’s well-made. And it comes in a wide variety of sizes and colors to suit just about any conditions, any water body and any species of fish being pursued.
If you don’t have any of these, I would very strongly suggest you buy some and add them to your arsenal. You seriously won’t have any regrets, and you will more than likely find a new favorite in this lure.
Super solid 5 star rating for this bait.
You can check out the Rapala Original Floating Minnow by clicking here.
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Good fishing <><