If there's an ace up my sleeve when it comes to trolling walleye, it's the Rapala Deep Tail Dancer. Simply put, this balsa bait is a consistent winner. Here are a few reasons why you should carry a some of these baits in your tackle box.
|The Rapala Deep Tail Dancer is not only a hot bait for walleye, but it can also fool a range of species.|
Action-wise, the Deep Tail Dancer moves with a wide wobble thanks to its deep-diving lip and banana-style body. This swimming swagger displaces a lot of water and emits thumping vibrations that attract walleye, whether they're suspending over a basin, holding tight to the bottom, or hugging structure ledges.
Another feature of this lure is that when it's trolled at high speeds it occasionally kicks-off to the side, and then returns to center. This evasive maneuver is a strike trigger for walleye that are stalking the bait. One more virtue of the Deep Tail Dancer is it runs true when pulled through fast river current — a trait not all crankbaits can claim.
Three models of Deep Tail Dancers are available, TDD07, TDD09 and TDD11. They retail for under $10. This selection covers 15-, 20- and 30-foot depth ranges, but remember that running depth is influenced by boat speed, line diameter and length of line. Playing with these variables gives more options to explore the water column with these lures. Noteworthy for shallower water are the TD05 and TD07 standard Tail Dancers that run at 9 and 12 feet.
Another bonus of this bait is its reliable hook-up percentages. Its VMC trebles regularly stick and stay in place until the landing net takes over. These package hooks offer decent longevity, but after battling several quality fish or the odd snag, replacement may be necessary, which is par for the course for any hard bait.
Deep Tail Dancers come in a range of colors. Hot pallets like Bleeding Tiger, Parrot and the new Green Tiger UV do well in turbid or muddy water as well as during low light. In clear water, Flash Yellow Perch, Silver and Blue Flash are reliable patterns.
While the Rapala Deep Tail Dancer is one heck of a weapon for walleye, it fools a range of species. Incidental catches while chasing 'ole marble eyes have included smallmouth bass, northern pike, yellow perch and freshwater drum. Give this hard-bait a try this season. You'll like the results.