BALSA | Breathing Life Into It

For 85 years, since the invention of the Original Floating® Rapala® lure in 1936, there’s no lure that has earned more world records or has been responsible for more tournament wins than the Rapala® lure.

Since then, Rapala has introduced a number of other lures that anglers worldwide depend upon — Shad Raps, Fat Raps, Countdown Rapalas, Shad Dancers, and the DT® Series, just to name a few.

And what’s the secret behind the success of these lures? It’s how Rapala breathes life into balsa.

The Rapala process of turning balsa into life-like minnows that catch more and bigger fish worldwide is what inspired 2019 Bassmaster Classic Champion Ott DeFoe to partner with Rapala to create the newest addition to the Rapala line-up of balsa-based lures — the OG Slim 6. A non-rattling, easy-casting crankbait that swims with a medium wobble and tight side-to-side action, the Rapala® OG Slim 6 sports a lightweight, circuit-board lip that dives to six feet when fished on 12-pound-test line – hence the “6” in its name.

“There’s a lot of tinkerers in this part of the country,” said DeFoe, a rural Knoxville, Tenn., native. “I’m really no different, as far as that aspect goes. I love altering a bait. I love building baits out of balsa wood. I’ve done it since I was just a wee little fella.”

Although the OG Slim 6’s name derives, in part, from its thin, flat-sided profile, it’s the lure’s Rapala-specific, balsa-wood construction, which gives the lure its compelling, live-minnow action that similar-looking flat-sided plastic crankbaits just can’t seem to imitate.

“While we have introduced a number of different types of balsa lures,” said Matt Jensen, Rapala’s director of marketing, “Rapala has a unique process for breathing magic into balsa and transforming it into the most life-like bait available to anglers anywhere.”

Five Good Reasons to Choose Rapala Balsa Fishing Lures
So why specifically should you choose a balsa bait for your next cast? And why a Rapala balsa bait? Based on insights shared by a number of Rapala pros, here are five good reasons why.

1. Hand-tuned and Tank-tested
If you were to visit the home of Rapala in Finland, you would see one of the most unique processes in the fishing industry – every Rapala balsa lure is hand-tuned and tank-tested. If a lure doesn’t exhibit that exact Rapala life-like action, it is discarded.

2. Versatility
From shallow streams for freshwater trout in Finland to trolling offshore monsters off the coast of Florida, Rapala balsa lures are the most versatile baits in the world. Freshwater, saltwater, deep water, and shallow water; Rapala balsa baits will catch nearly any type of fish in nearly every type of water.

3. Incredible Life-Like Action
Lauri Rapala, the founder of Rapala lures, discovered the secret early on – balsa, combined with Rapala’s unique designs, have this uncanny way of wobbling, which delivers the most incredible life-like of a wounded or sick baitfish. It’s this distinct action that triggers the attack response of predators. Many have tried to duplicate this action with other materials, only to obtain less than desired results.

4. It Floats!
Rapala balsa baits come in different shapes and are equipped with a number of different types of lips to create specific types of action and lure depths, allowing anglers to reach predator fish wherever they are. In getting to these fish, anglers will no doubt bump into any number of underwater obstacles such as rocks, wood, weeds, old tires, dock posts, etc. Sometimes you might get hung up by these obstacles, which often times, serve as the structure for baitfish and predators. If you’ve put your time in fishing Rapala balsa lures, you no doubt know how they deflect and back out of that structure.

5. Strong But Delicate
When Lauri Rapala invented his Original Floater, he tried a number of other materials, such as cedar and pine bark. But he eventually learned only lures made of balsa allowed for the subtle, delicate movement he was looking for. That’s because balsa is extremely light, yet it’s regarded as incredibly strong for its weight. With any other wood, the lure would be at least three times heavier. The lighter balsa makes the lure action more natural. Move your rod tip just a little bit. The lure makes an immediate movement because it’s so sensitive.

“There have been many imitators,” said Jensen, “but none have come close to duplicating the truly unique life-like action of a Rapala balsa lure.”

And this today is why Rapala is proud of a campaign that has a message that will be promoted around the globe.  Balsa by nature, Action by Rapala, hammered by fish!

See Rapala® Original Floating®

See Rapala® OG Slim 6

See Rapala® Shad Rap®

See Rapala® Fat Rap®

See Rapala® Countdown®

See Rapala® Shad Dancer

See Rapala® DT® Series