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Whether targeted for fun or for the table, panfish please most anglers– especially lunker crappies and hand-sized bull bluegills. Fall is a great time to catch them, but with variables like changing vegetation, cooling weather, turnover, and fall bait migrations, how do you crack the code for consistent success?

We asked four of the nation’s top panfish specialists five questions about fall crappie and bluegill fishing. Their answers will help anyone become a more successful fall panfish angler.

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The swimbait is a lure type that has gone from trophy hunting bass anglers to something used for many different species, including walleye. They come in all shapes and sizes and can be fished all year long, making them some of the most versatile lures used today.

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New Tackle for 2022

Everyone is throwing bladed jigs these days so sometimes you need to give the fish a different look and sound.

The downsized Chatterbait MiniMax has a downscaled hex-blade and other componentry, but it has the punch to handle big, tough smallmouth, spotted and largemouth bass.

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Featured Videos

KVD: How to Manage Fall Turnover on Northern Lakes Kevin VanDam: Clear Water Spinnerbait Tactics
KVD: How to Manage Fall Turnover on Northern Lakes Kevin VanDam: Clear Water Spinnerbait Tactics
KVD: How to Trick Those Fall Cruisers Zona: Which Docks are Best?
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Side Notes

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Monitor fishing and hunting news from the Michigan DNR, Indiana DNR and national sources. If it's happening in the outdoors, you can read it here.

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Provided by Rapala

Rapala BX Brat: A Balsa Squarebill with Durability

There’s a new bully on the block and bass better hide their lunch money. The Rapala® BX™ Brat features a balsa core encased in a brawny co-polymer shell, so this unpredictable square bill bait can take a punch.

“A lot of straight balsa baits, you know, they’ll get a little beat up,” says Rapala Pro Mike Iaconelli. “But not the Brat. It’s the perfect lure for fishing around heavy cover. It’s got all the characteristics of balsa, but with plastic on the outside to protect the bait.”

“That combination of a hard outer shell and a soft balsa core makes for an unbeatable square bill,” says Rapala Pro Randall Tharp. “You can bounce it off of dock posts, you can bounce it off of rocks, but you still get all the benefits of balsa,” he says. “It will float back up out of cover without getting hung up. It’s just so versatile.”

It’s also erratic. The BX Brat’s modified square bill design creates crazy, unpredictable caroms.

“The lip comes to a very slight point in the middle, but it still has these hard corners that allow it to bounce off of cover really, really well,” says Rapala Pro Ott DeFoe.

“That modified lip acts as both a deflector and a protector,” Iaconelli explains. “It’s going to actually protect the treble hooks, and it’s what’s going to make the bait deflect and careen off objects. That’s what’s going to trigger reaction bites. There’s no better bite to get, especially when the fish are inactive.”

BX Brats will excel when power fishing around rocky shorelines, laydowns, dock posts and scattered grass. “There’s really not a bad place you can throw it,” Tharp says. “Whether it’s just being grinded through the bottom, or deflecting off a rock, a stump or a piece of grass.”

Unique flat sides and a V-cut belly create additional swimming action. “When you watch this bait in the water, the way that it swims is because of the shape,” DeFoe says. “Because of those hard edges.”

Another benefit of the BX Brat’s co-polymer shell is that it adds weight, which enables it to cast “like a dream,” DeFoe says. “You can’t ask for much else in a small crankbait. It really reminds me of the Rapala DT-6, one of the best-casting ones out there.”

The BX Brat is available in two models. One dives to 3 feet, and the other to 6 feet.

Both versions of the BX Brat measure 2 inches, weigh 3/8 ounce and come armed with two sticky sharp VMC® No. 6 Black Nickel Treble round-bend hooks. Both are available in 12 color patterns: Blue Ghost, Blaze, Bone Craw, Carbon, Delta, Haymaker, Homer’s Buddy, Mossy, Pearl Gray Shiner, Tamale, Silver and Rock Solid.

“So no matter what the water clarity is like, or whatever the forage is that you’re trying to match, Rapala’s got you covered,” Palaniuk says.

It will sell for $8.99.

For more information, visit www.Rapala.com.

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