As they say, it’s a lousy job, but someone’s gotta do it (wink). Yes, I was back on Lake Simcoe again yesterday aboard the Outdoor Canada fishing boat, this time tasked with trying out some of the hot new baits for 2013 soon to be on offer from Rapala Canada (aka Normark Canada). Did I mention I love my job?

Joining me at the launch in Beaverton was Tom McMurray, Rap Can’s Advertising and Creative Director (that’s him, pictured below, with one of the day’s chunky smallmouth bass). Our target water for the day was the rocky shoals and shallows along the south and west sides of Thorah Island, fishing in the five- to 15-foot zone.

There was only an intermittent slight breeze throughout the morning, and by mid-afternoon the wind had dropped off altogether. As a result, we were able to sight-fish the entire day, scouring the flats for isolated boulders and rock piles—perfect smallie haunts. But man, was it hot.

Of course, I opted to fish exclusively with the gear Tom had brought along, including Rap’s top-of-the-line spin and baitcast Concept rods, which will be offered in two-piece for 2013. Without getting into all the technical mumbo-jumbo (I’m not that much of a gear head), suffice it to say these rods are super-light yet strong thanks to the blank’s 3M Matrix Resin. Plus, they’re amazingly sensitive—it felt like an electric charge was going through the grips, for example, when round gobies pecked at my drop-shot baits.

As for reels, the rods were paired with Rap’s top-of-the-line, ultralight Shift spinning and baitcasting reels—which were rolled out last year—making for an awesome combo for a long day of drop-shotting and whipping jerkbaits and cranks.

In keeping with the Rap Can family of brands, the baitcasters were spooled up with Sufix 832 braid in the new camo colour for 2013 (which I like), while the spinning reels sported the new 100 per cent fluorocarbon Sufix Castable Invisiline, no doubt designed with line-shy biters in mind. If you like fishing with fluoro, you should check it out: this stuff fishes like mono, sinks fast, and there’s virtually no line memory.

Now, the baits. Where to start? Tom brought such a wide selection of cool new offerings, the choices were almost endless. I really liked the action on the new Storm Twitch Stick suspending jerkbaits; same with the new Rapala BX Minnow, a hardy new balsa bait that also comes in a jointed version. I also thought the new X-Rap Countdown’s were pretty clever: combine the X-Rap’s irresistible action with the Countdown’s ability to reach any depth. These should be killer on river smallies.

Rounding out the hard-bait arsenal were the likes of the new Storm Rockin’ Shad (you can hear it being retrieved), the reintroduced Rattle Tot and the Flatstick Jointed (lookout, pike), among others.

As for soft baits, I really liked the new, extremely lifelike three-inch Leech from the Trigger X family, great for drop-shotting on fish that want something a tad smaller. And while I didn’t tie them on yesterday, I can’t wait to tease some largemouth with the new Slop Hopper, Goo Bug and (especially so) Buzz Tail Worm, also from Trigger X.

And yes, fish were caught, fun was had and the new baits were put through their paces. Thanks again, Tom for joining me on the water—sure beats an office meeting to talk about new products!

To learn more about Rapala Canada and its offerings, click here.

Rapala Canada's Tom McMurray and a nice Simcoe tank