Rapala DT ThugMany anglers will often turn into skeptics and scoff at the overwhelming array of lures available today. They argue that there can’t possibly be a need for the amount of different ones to choose from, let alone the new models that are continually released. Alas, my doubtful fishermen, as lure companies use data collected from countless hours of research on and off the water, they develop new lures whose features implement technology in new ways to help you catch more fish. 2010 saw a boost in such advances in lures, and several models that took the fishing world by storm last year deserve to be commended on their popularity, efficiency, and overall design. You guessed it; here are my picks for the best lures of 2010.

Rapala is a company that needs no introduction. The famed crankbait manufacturer is known the world over for its large selection of quality lures and, in 2010, released two amazing additions—the DT Thug and Flat rap—to its roster that I, for one, have used and fell in love with. The DT Thug has the body of your standard crankbait, but the similarities end there. This bait possesses a bill that is bent downward, which causes the bait to tilt almost vertically on the retrieve and virtually somersault over obstacles. The bait also features Sureset treble hooks to ensure a solid hook set on each strike. Rapala’s Flat Rap is a slender minnow bait that is designed to roll side to side on the retrieve, creating a different displacement of water than fish are used to.

The Koppers LiveTarget crankbaits also debuted last year and their amazingly realistic paintjob—especially the bluegill and perch models—along with their attention to detail, allowed them to earn permanent spots in many anglers’ tackle boxes.

As far as plastics go, my picks for the best of 2010 include models from legendary companies such as Yum, Berkley, and Strike King. Yum’s Money Toad and Money Hound sold out in many stores after their release, due to their durability, great action, and immediate effectiveness on thick grass mats and lily pads. Berkley is well-known for its Gulp Alive! line of plastics that come packaged swimming in a small bucket of the liquid scent. In 2010, the company released new models in lizard, crawfish, and hawg styles. The colors offered, combined with the patented Gulp Alive! scent, allowed these new additions to quickly become fan favorites. Lastly, Strike King’s Rage line of plastics has enjoyed much popularity over the years. Last year, the company released new styles—the Smokin’ Rooster, the Hawg, and the Eel—that didn’t disappoint in terms of producing consistent strikes. In fact, they worked so well that retailers couldn’t keep the new Rage models on the shelves!

There you have it; my choices for the best rods, reels, and lures for 2010. And while you may not agree with my decisions, you’ll have to agree that, based on the factors I gauged when selecting the products, the ones I chose fit the bill perfectly. Each product I’ve detailed has proven itself in popularity, quality, and technology many times over and I, for one, can’t wait to see what trends and new advances in material and design are going to take 2011 by storm.

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