It sounds like a fighter jet or maybe even the new model of BMW, but the Rapala J-7 is as effective as it is uncreative in title. The lure is of course produced by Rapala and the ’J’ in …
It sounds like a fighter jet or maybe even the new model of BMW, but the Rapala J-7 is as effective as it is uncreative in title. The lure is of course produced by Rapala and the ’J’ in J-7 refers to the joint in the lure. The 7 refers to the size of the lure. To my knowledge the sizes range from J-5 through J-13, the smallest being the J-5 and each sizes only being odd numbers (ie: J-5, J-7, J-9 etc.). The J-7 is a personal favorite of mine due to its specific size which is 2 ¾ inches long and weighing an eighth of an ounce. The lure is long and narrow like a pencil bait or other traditional husky jerk lures. The joint appears about half way through the body and a treble hook hangs from the aft of each section. The J-7 comes in many colors, however the color I use and trust most is the gold over black combo. The color of the lure from top to bottom is black, gold, then white on the belly. Painted yellow eyes with pupils gawk upwards and outwards from the nose, over top of a modest spoon lip protruding no further than the nose of the lure itself at a descent of about 45 degrees. The black hooks both compliment the color scheme and aid in the rattling motion of the lure. To be clear the lure itself does not have an internal rattle.
This lure is a must have. I always make sure I have at least one in my tackle box. Both my big tackle box and my little 5-slot to-go box have one. I consider it a cornerstone lure that is always good to have ready just in case. My dad introduced me to this lure when I was younger and we used to go fishing for Walleye on the Delaware River. We would stand at the mouth of a stream inlet that fed the River right on one of its bends. Nice cold water, deep and full of oxygen. Sometimes we would tie on a mister twister with a ¼ ounce jig head, but normally the J-7 would be the go-to lure. Hours we’d stand there casting out across the turning river, starting upstream and following the lure in as it swept down below us. The Walleye would hit aggressively and the fight would ensue. Normally I’ll admit, my dad seemed to catch two to every one that I did. The J-7 isn’t a very difficult lure to use. In fact I’d argue there isn’t much versatility for the retrieve. A straight retrieve is all you need, occasionally stopping for a moment may help, but the lure functions very consistently so a nice steady rhythm goes a long way.
The J-7 mimics a swimming bait, wriggling as it passes forward. The joint and hooks create a very subtle rattle and the spoon keeps the lure at an appropriate depth, deeper as you reel faster, however it will float to the top should you stop for more than a moment. As I said this is a great lure for using on the river and other mid depth bodies of water, but is also good in creeks and ponds, moving water and standing water. Larger sizes than the J-7 function much the same but are for aggressive or simply larger predators. The walleye I typically catch with this are between a foot and twenty four inches. It is also possible to catch other species of fish on this lure such as bass and yeah, even pike. I believe my dad has used it to catch Striped Bass before, but I’ve not caught a striper myself with it (not that I’ve really made that specific effort).
I highly recommend getting one of these and giving it a shot. Especially in the Northeast PA and Upstate New York areas, it’s a great reliable lure that if you’re patient, will produce a fish. Some things to note about it though. Occasionally I have bought one that doesn’t seem to swim right. Check your knot and give it a few casts if you see this happening. It should be swimming as a normal bait would, back up and belly down, wiggling evenly and not careening to one side and skimming the surface. It should be diving and working below the surface without spiraling or going off kilter. Play with it and hopefully you won’t have these issues, but if you do, try adjusting the knot or even re-tying it. Sometimes this helps, but if not the lure is worth the investment. I’d just go get another one. Tight lines everyone and get out there this week!
*If you have any luck with the lure of the week, feel free to email your pictures to firstname.lastname@example.org for an opportunity to share them on our website. If you have a favorite kind of lure we haven’t reviewed yet, feel free to send that lure to our office at PO box 150 Narrowsburg, NY 12764. We will add it to our weekly reviews and share the results. Check back each week on Fridays to see the new lure of the week!