The Rapala DT6 Crankbait

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Two Rapala DT6 Crankbaits laying side by side on a wooden deck.

In the spirit of winter and the fast-approaching pre-spawn, I thought I’d review the Rapala DT-6 Crankbait. And why not? They’ve made their way into tackle boxes across the county, and seem to activate bass consistently year-round. If you’re unfamiliar with this lure line, the DT series comes in diving depths of 6, 10 14, 16, 20 ft. That’s a hell of a range to play with. And that’s the first thing I’ll say about this lure that keeps me throwing it every year – it’s an awesome, wide-ranging, solid action lure that doesn’t go too far, but never stops short, if that makes sense. It stays in the moderate range when it comes to action. Let me explain further;

DT6 Crankbait: Buoyancy

When I cast this lure out on a bait caster and on 14lb fluorocarbon, the first thing I see is the lure bob at the surface. A quick test of its buoyancy, I dive the little sucker down to two feet and watch it float back up – not too fast, not too slow, it’s a perfect side-to-side action followed by a slow rise; an easy dying meal for a fish. As I cast again and the lure lands backward ( facing away from me) and I rip it forward, the high-quality balsa build of this lure puts it into motion fast but without a ton of commotion. That effective raise is great for staying above those tree branches that reach out like skeletal hands every which way, and above the vegetation that you want nothing to do with.

DT6 Casting And Diving

For me, a crankbait’s ability to get right down to business is key. This DT6 casts far and dives to 6′ pretty fast, which is perfect on deep ledges ( if you’re going with the DT-14 or higher). On the bottom, it makes contact well and provides a solid sense of what you’re deflecting off. I like finding those rocky bottoms like gravel and chunk rock, and the bill of the DT series really transmits the terrain makeup.

In this sense, it’s a great search bait for not only finding fish but also wood, rocks, etc. I noticed they run best at their max depth. For example, a DT-6 should be in that 5-6ft depth. If bass are up further, go with a DT-4. I hate that feeling of a crankbait pulling too hard to the bottom, so rather than achieving those quick directional changes, my crank gets buried, limiting the action, and I wind up dragging it along rather than gliding in over structure with periodic contact being made.

Rapala DT6 Crankbait: Late Winter, Early Spring

As a pre-spawn search bait, the DT6 is my go-to in Demon Red color. Most guys know, especially in California, the red color is perfect for firing up pre-spawners. I like mixing in a speed change by slowing down my retrieve followed by a pause, followed by a fast-twitch and a slow raise. The DT series looks amazing with this cadence up shallow, ticking off rocks and stumps. That demon red color also looks great in stained water with 3-4 ft visibility. And with that casting distance ( Rapala claims a max of 150 ft), you can stage quite a ways back to avoid spooking those wary fish who haven’t seen a boat all season.

The Rapala DT-6 Crankbait in demon red color shown on a wooden deck.

I like the stealthiness of this crank, too. It doesn’t put out a ton of rattle or vibration, but some. With other rattle lures like the Strike King lipless crank ( also a go-to in pre-spawn), when doing a yo-yo retrieve, I can hear the rattle from 7-8ft above surface, as it reverberates under wooden boat docks and off nearby metal. The Rapala DT series is a step down ( or up, I suppose) if you’re looking to be more stealthy around fish who just aren’t interested in too much sound.


The whole DT series has a great color spectrum, from shad to bluegill to craw – the whole freshwater chain is covered. I’ve got the DT-6 bluegill specifically for a few high mountain lakes where I know bass feed up shallow on bluegill, and the DT can cruise over ( never through) vegetation pretty well. Again, it works as the ultimate search bait practically year-round, and with its driving range and selection of colors, you can imitate any species and its action to present bass with exactly what they’re looking for.

Final Thoughts

I have no doubts the Rapala DT6 Crankbait will be in my crank box this spring and summer for up shallow hogs. From diving speed and action, to its subtle entry into the strike zone, these crankbaits will trigger fish across the country. Check out their whole line and experiment with different diving depths and colors, you won’t be disappointed! Tight lines.

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