Coralville, IA (February 13, 2018) – Once upon a time, live bait ruled the walleye world. Then, about a decade ago, a significant shift started taking place. The harsh reality of Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) introduced new restrictions on the handling of live bait, and only a handful of companies – like Frabill – responded by engineering sophisticated live bait transporting and aerating products. And at the same time, inventive new lure designs led to changing views on meatless walleye angling.
Enter minnow-profile balance jigs; baits that match the hatch and perform unpredictable hydrodynamic dances underwater. Originally designed for hardwater use, these baits started winning tournaments and the public soon caught on.
JUMBO Rotating Power Minnow (RPM)
Custom Jigs & Spins’ Bob Gillispie monitored the momentum of this lure category closely with the intent to offer anglers a better mousetrap. The result? The Rotating Power Minnow.
“One of the long-standing issues with baits in this category was how badly they twist your line. Our first order of business was to offer a bait with a built-in swiveling eyelet to counteract line twist, eliminating the need for a swivel up your line. It also imparts lifelike action and prevents the bait from snagging on itself,” says Gillispie.
Gillispie noticed another issue with most bait offerings in the category. “We intentionally did away with a nose hook, which can easily snag on the bottom of the ice hole, acting like a lever and pulling the middle and rear hooks out of a walleye’s mouth. We also decided to use treble hooks on the bottom and rear. Our eye-attractor or egg looking hook on the bottom allows tentative fish to key in and strike!”
Lastly, he says they went with a smaller, more compact profile to fish fast and tempt finicky fish. “Our RPM3 is two inches and weighs ¼ oz., making it a great bait for walleye, crappies, and perch. The RPM5 is slightly larger at 2 ¾ inches and 3/8 oz. for walleye and all predators. Both are available in 16 glow and non-glow patterns to mimic whatever fish are feeding on in your waters.”
Gillispie didn’t stop there. “I had a lot of walleye anglers who fish stained waters reach out to me. Guys who fish the lower Ice Belt, as well as Lake of the Woods and the Dakotas. Offering various bright and glow patterns was a good start to help these anglers, but we knew we could do more. What we ended up with — at least to our knowledge — was the first bait in the category with a built-in rattle chamber. It’s not glued on. It’s actually built into the bait’s tail section so it cannot fall off. The rattle greatly increases the distance that walleyes can both hear and feel the bait with the lateral line, perfect for stained waters or fishing anywhere you’ve got far-roaming fish you’ve gotta call in.”
GLOW Rotating Power Minnows (RPM)
What soon emerged was named the Rattlin’ Rotating Power Minnow (RRPM3), a 2-inch, ¼-ounce bait with multi-BB rattle built right into the tail section, the same swiveling eyelet to prevent line twist, and five new color patterns based on customer feedback.
“The results have been extremely positive. Anglers have commented that the Rattlin’ Rotating Power Minnow is one bait that does two things that have traditionally caught walleyes – it has a rattle to call in fish, and the erratic, unpredictable side-to-side swimming action of a minnow-profile balance jig. A one-two punch in one bait, one rod,” says Gillispie.
So, what’s the best way to fish the Rotating Power Minnow and Rattlin’ Rotating Power Minnow?
Used on the ice, short, repetitive rod snaps will attract fish, with the occasional high rip so fish can see and feel the bait from afar. Fished in open water you have many more options — from vertical, “bomb dropping” using your electronics to “video game” fishing on the screen — to pitching and rip jigging — to working the bait on a troll. Fishing guide Hays Baldwin demonstrates one such technique in this video.
If you’re looking for walleye baits that do double-duty on ice and open water — as well as multi-species versatility—look no further than Custom Jigs & Spins’ RPM and RRPM.