For many anglers the Rapala Magnum is their go-to lure, especially when trolling the deep blue. You wouldn’t think this lure could get any better, but Rapala has done it with the Saltwater X-Rap Magnum 40’ Dive Bait. It dives to 12m (40ft), and to say that it gets down quickly is an understatement. The large, curved bib of the 40’ Magnum is an engineering marvel; this lure’s ability to get down into the deep is incredible. This lure has all the aggressive action we’ve come to expect from the Rapala Magnum, and it’s this action which is responsible for the downfall of so many fish. Coming in at around 16cm, it has plenty of physical presence in the water and, when combined with the Aussie-designed baitfish patterns, it paints a realistic picture in the water. The Magnum’s reputation for snaring big pelagics like Spanish mackerel is nothing new, but the Dive Bait’s ability to get that extra bit deeper has opened up some exciting reef fishing opportunities. This lure has proven to be dynamite on species such as coral trout, coronation trout and other tasty reef-dwellers which are normally taken on bait rather than a high speed trolling lure.
To set the scene, I was scouting around an area just inside the continental shelf straight off Cairns. The plan had been to jig a few big bommies for the usual GTs and green jobfish, then move off the shelf and deploy the Magnums and round up a few Spanish mackerel, yellowfin tuna or mahi mahi. After getting a solid stretching on some brutal fish, I was glad to see the Magnums out and trolling at a lazy 8 knots. These lures handled the pace no worries, and even when pushed up to 11 to 12 knots they still swam well and never rolled or kicked out. Just before we pushed over the shelf, the sounder rose to around 15m; we were over a big coral shoal which ran about 80m long and 60m wide. Before long the port side outfit sporting the red head Magnum buckled over. I thought it had found bottom, but some solid head shakes in the initial stages of the fight signalled a fish had found the heavy-duty perma steel VMC trebles. Just as I was about to back off the gas, the second outfit with the yellowfin Magnum bent over. It was smiles all round when two ripper coronation trout came to the surface. The lures were quickly reset for another troll run over the shoal. For the next 45 minutes the appeal of the deep blue pelagics had to wait as the Magnums were hammered by a mix of common and coronation trout.
Since then we’ve experienced this type of action many times, and the reason for success is pretty simple. Reef-dwelling species like coral trout are predominantly found in condensed numbers in water depths ranging between 12-20m over reef. The Rapala 40’ is perfect for working over this reefy country as it can swim close enough to the bottom to draw out a strike but not so deep that it will get snagged on fast-rising bommies or structure. By picking out a depth contour using your GPS you can safely troll these lures over big stretches of reef, picking up fish with ease. I’m sure they’d be great snapper lures. While targeting reefies like trout, heavy drags are recommended. With the tough build and heavy-duty terminal gear on these lures there is little chance you’ll straighten a hook or pull a split ring.
One thing is for sure, this lure is so much more than your tradition pelagic mackerel basher. While it will still do this job well, having that extra diving ability opens up so much more potential. – Garry Smith