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CrushCity™ Freeloader™ by RapalaCrushCity™ Freeloader™ by Rapala

True to its name, the CrushCity™ Freeloader™ by Rapala has moved into Jacob Wheeler’s tackle box and won’t move out.

Before the lure was even released to the public, Wheeler used it as part of his winning strategy at a Bass Pro Tour event on Alabama’s heavily pressured Lake Guntersville. That same week, Minnesota angler Adam Rasmussen employed it to win a Bassmaster Open on nearby Wheeler Lake. This “Freeloader” quickly earned its keep.

Collaborating with Wheeler, the product engineers at Rapala sought to create the ultimate chatterbait/spinnerbait trailer bait. It can be used as a vibrating jig trailer, alone as a swimbait, or for countless other traditional and novel soft plastic presentations.

“There’s a reason behind everything we put into the CrushCity soft plastics,” Wheeler said. “The big thing about the Freeloader is that it’s very streamlined. It’s my confidence profile. The hunting action is key with it. If you have a lot of appendages on your vibrating jig trailer, that bait will not hunt, and you want it to hunt and switch directions. That’s what triggers the bite.”

The body features miniature ribs for added action, water movement and a realistic texture, but the unsung hero of this product is the tail, which tapers to a point, albeit one with a ball at the end. That creates a kicking action which is subtly realistic. It’s the reason why it has quickly become Wheeler’s spinnerbait trailer of choice, too, adding a bit of bulk, color contrast, and a touch of ultra-realism.

“Every time your blade rotates that bait and tail are kicking,” Wheeler explained. “That turns tracking or otherwise hesitant fish into biters.”

The Freeloader is available in 17 custom colors tweaked specifically to Wheeler’s preferences, which allows anglers to match local baitfish. By contrasting the color of the soft plastic to the color of his vibrating jig, he can completely change the overall look of the bait, and this enables him to travel lean, with a smaller selection of jigs.

The Freeloader is 4.25 inches long and comes six to a pack. It has a suggested retail price of US $5.99.