Offering in the RatRumble: MLW's FP Rat
||Monka Lure Works
Total Score: 6.91 - FAIR
For all the admiration and allure bass fishing tackle made for the Japanese Domestic Market (JDM) inspires in everything from rods to reels to conventional lures and big baits, there's one particular type of big bait that seems to be missing. Megabass, Evergreen, Deps, Gan Craft, Lucky Craft, Imakatsu, Jackall, Fish Arrow, DRT are all Japanese lure manufacturers that
focus more on glides than rats. Evergreen has a hollow body frog finished as a mouse in one color variant, but I've not seen a hard bodied lure resembling our favorite rodent made to wake or crank down. Late in 2020, the whimsical Monka Lure Works addressed this market oversight with a variant of their popular crawler. Here's our look at the Monka FP Rat.
Monka Lure Works FP Rat
||Flat joint with Pin & Screw eye hinge
Introducing Monka Lure Work's FP Rat
Impressions & Craftsmanship:
If you're familiar with the Monka Lure Works FPJ Crawler, the FP Rat looks like the same bait but without the wings, and has instead, a carbon fiber diving lip and a long, rodent-like tail (instead of the rear prop). Upon closer inspection, while the two baits do share the same shape and overall profile, there are some subtle tweaks. Namely, the FP Rat has ears molded into the body behind the eyes but also, this bait is slightly more narrow than the Crawler and its overall length as well as that of the individual sections differ by a half inch here, and a half inch there.
This color scheme is obviously inspired by a skeleton, but my
initial impression was "killer whale" though they really do have the Killer
Whale pattern on their Crawler in Japan
I was fortunate enough to score one of the early releases of this bait available in only one whimsical color scheme - kind of a cross between a killer whale and Halloween skeleton costume. However, given this took place during the last month or two of 2020, it was some time before I was able to get the FP Rat out on the water.
Weighing just two ounces, this is among the smallest of the
rat baits in our rumble
Ready to Rumble: Monka's FP Rat is a lot more compact than a traditional bait of this type and at an even two ounces (2.0oz) in weight, it certainly is among the lightest. Yet, my combo of choice for this bait remained a traditional wakebait stick. In fact, that's the exact nickname Evergreen International USA's division has given their Combat Stick RCSC-78XH, "Wakebait." I paired the RCSC-78XH with my 2020 Shimano Conquest 201HG and spooled the reel with fifty pound Seaguar Threadlock Hollow Core braid installing a top shot of twenty five pound Seaguar AbrazX fluorocarbon.
Attached via a snap, and ready to go
For the past several years, I've been relying upon a line combo of braid for my mainline topped with a leader of either fluorocarbon or nylon monofilament for shock absorption and lower visibility. Beginning in 2020, I've upped that game by going to hollow braid for a smaller, almost non-existent knot through my guides. This year, I'm working through different main line and leader specific materials to pair
with the hollow braid.
Monka knows how
to give their baits personality
As bass anglers, we go through great pains selecting the best rods and reels to match specific applications yet often our choice in fishing line is an afterthought or simply something that's affordable or "good enough." Yet this is arguably the most important component of your combo because it is your direct connection to your lure and therefore, the fish. Leader lines are specifically designed for these connection points, so why not make the effort to find the one that works for your situation?
The FP Rat has
a menacing look in the water
Dexterity: One more component I like to use when making the connection between line and lure is a snap. Quite often, I'll use a snap even when a lure comes with a split ring. I favor this connection because #1, it gives your lure an extra degree of freedom in movement and #2, I can avoid my knot getting caught up in the split ring end points. I view this spot as a potential point of failure because I feel it can damage my knot. I usually avoid tying direct to a lure's line tie for this same reason - there may be an edge or other imperfection in that line tie that slowly wears on your knot down, weakening it with each successive cast.
The somewhat unique flat, but angled joint
Monka's FP Rat comes with no split ring, and is naturally, very easy to attach via a double locking snap like Molix's Hyper Snap. This 2oz lure casts very easily, even on a beefy stick like the RCSC-78XH and of course, with the help of my Conquest 201DC, it's easy to achieve good, fishable distances on those casts. Once the FP Rat touches down, it floats on the surface with about a quarter of its body actually above water. A good portion of this bait is submerged at rest.
Rear hook and tail attachment is made via the same split ring
Next Section: Living up to the Monka