Choosing Lipless Crankbaits (Best Colors and Baits)

Choosing Lipless Crankbaits (Best Colors and Baits)

best bass bait for fishing

Lipless Crankbaits are one of the most effective baits to throw in cold water due to their versatility and ability to trigger fish to bite when fished slowly or fast around shallow cover!


Take your tackle selection to the next level with a MONSTERBASS Regional Pro Series subscription. The only bass fishing subscription to hand-select the best baits for where you live and fish.

Join today and save $10 off your first box. Use code SAVE10 at checkout. JOIN NOW

Video transcript:

What is going on everyone. My name is Benjamin Nowak with MONSTERBASS.  Today's video we're going to talk about one of my all time favorite ways to get your big bass and the early spring and late fall when those fish are getting in that early and late season grass and that is throwing a lipless crankbait. This bait here has caught me so many big fish in the early and late season that it's just kind of dumb not to talk about it, but what we're going to focus on in this video, the colors that I'm throwing, the baits that I'm using, and the gear that I'm using to throw these baits.  If you guys want to see some videos about basic retrieves with this lure, I posted a video on the MONSTERBASS channel that I have linked up here on the corner for you guys to go check out. But without further ado, let's start talking about the colors that I like to throw.

This is one of my favorite colors. This is the candy craw from Bill Lewis rattle traps. The reason I like this color is because it stands out really well in dirty water. This is my GoTo spring lipless crankbait. The reason for that is up here in the North you get a lot of rain runoff and snow melt runs into the rivers, runs into your lakes and that water gets a little bit dingy. This red stands out really well and it just triggers those big fish to bite, especially those big river smallmouth. Another reason that I liked this bait is the flat face on it. Early season I'm going to be fishing the bait a little bit more slowly than I may normally when of those fish are getting more aggressive in that mid 50 degree water temps, so I'm going to be dragging this bait.

That flat face is going to help this come through that early season grass, but it's also going to help deflect this bait around cover a little bit more effectively. That flat face is going to act almost like a square bill it will deflect that cover away from those hooks and keep you from getting snagged near as much. So I really like the Bill Lewis rattle trap in the candy craw color in the early season.  Red's really popular though, not just up North in the spring, all across the country. One of the most popular lipless crankbait colors ever made was Rayburn Red and the reason for that is on Sam Rayburn. Those fish eat bright red crawfish. So when you're fishing your red crank around on grass, it just really gets bit. You see that a lot in those early season tournaments down in Texas and on the West coast where those guys are fishing.  On the California Delta, red is a really good color there too. All across the country red is a great color, so don't be afraid to throw this bait, especially if you're fishing around a little bit stained water.

Now as you get around cleaner water situations, I like to fish a chrome lipless crankbait, and the reason for that, it reflects light really well. It looks like a bunch of different types of minnows coming through the water. And this chrome blue back is the most popular selling color of all lipless crankbaits. The reason for that, you can use it to imitate a bunch of different types of forage. Now it can be used to imitate shad, minnows, and it just looks really natural coming through the water, especially in high sun situations. I'm going to be fishing chrome baits when the sun is high and the water's a little bit cleaner because it's going to have more flash.  It's going to draw fish from a long ways away.

This in particular bait as opposed to your Bill Lewis Rat-L-Trap, has a more rounded body profile. Now what's that's going to allow this bait to do is have more of a shimmy on the fall. So when you rip this out of the grass or when you Jojo and drop it, it's going to come up with a  shimmy - and then when it falls, it's also going to shimmy on the way down. That's going to be a good way to turn her bites. So early season when you're fishing that bait slowly, a really good retrieve is a lift and drop a yo-yo retrieve where that bait comes up and then it shimmies on the fall comes up shimmies out in the fall. So you can vision above grass that way or you can fish it just off the bottom with that same retrieve.

As we get to cleaner water situations and low light, I'm going to fish more of your matte or flatter white side baits.  This here looks just like a bait fish, but those flat sides are going to help it stand out against the water, kind of that silhouette effect and cleaner water situations when you don't need the flash cause you're not going to get it - there is no sun to reflect off the bait. So these flatter white colors are going to help that bait stand out, especially when you're fishing and clean water situations. I like to go with more flat white colors or translucent colors.

This is a Lucky Craft LV 500. This is one of the most popular dragging style lipless crankbaits on the market.  Again, it has that flat nose, but it's translucent. So when I'm fishing that cleaner water can look like a bunch of different types of mills down there on the bottom, but it's going to drag it really well because of that flat face. This is actually a three quarter ounce bait, so the LV 500, it features your standard style size body with heavier weights in it. That's gonna allow you to fish deeper, slower, more effectively than you can some of these half ounce baits with the same body size. My good buddy Caleb Bell from Bass Quest, he's the one that taught me about this technique. He smashed some giants on it in the spring and made me a believer so I had to pick myself up some. This LV 500 is a great dragging style lipless crank, cast it out, let it sink to the bottom, just make really slow hops.  You drag this bait along the bottom like you would a jig, but every time that bait moves, that rattle draws fish from a long ways away.

Now we're going to talk about some more unique style colors that would be your bluegill style colors or your chartreuses. These are going to work when those fish are keying in on bluegill early season.  These work best around that bluegill spawn around that grass a little bit later on in the season when the water hits the 60+ degree water temps. I'm gonna switch to these style of colors and this actually is a brand new color from Bill Lewis Rat-L-Trap - the Sunny Gill Color.  This is going to be a creat color when they're keying in on that blue gill bite really good, but you have some dirtier water, this is going to be a really good color. That chartreuse on the belly is going to draw those fish to this and it's going to trigger a lot of really big bites. I'm excited to throw this color this season when that bluegill spawns going on cause they're going to absolutely smash it.

Finally, another color from Strike King. This is a Strike King Red Eye Shad.  The color, I believe is, pumpkin, olive craw and this is a bait that Caleb turned me on to crushes big fish. But one thing you're going to notice, it's the two tap model - a One knocker model. So the sounds is very different.

I like the one knocker because it draws fish from a longer distance. Think of it this way, really high pitch noises don't travel as far low pitch sounds are going to travel a lot further. It's going to cause a lot more sound vibration in the water, which is going to carry longer distances. Trigger fish to bite from longer ways away, especially in that grass. Now I don't know the entire science behind it, but it will trigger fish in the grass to bite, especially when everyone else is out there throwing your standard bee-bee style rattles. So play around with different sounds, different sizes, different baits.

There are quite a few lipless crankbaits on the market in different colors and different sizes, but that should give you a good starting point. Darker colors and darker water, lighter colors, and lighter more cleaner water situations.

Now the gear that I throw, I keep really simple. I'm throwing a crankbait setup. This is an ARK 7’ 4” cranking rod. It's a medium heavy, but as a parabolic slow bend. So what that means it's going to bend a long ways down the rod. It's going to help these fish stay pinned on the small treble hooks and allow me to get more of those fish to the boat.

I'm fishing a 6.3:1 - BB1 Pro Lew’s speed spool reel with 15 pound test fluorocarbon. I like fishing with fluorocarbon when I'm not fishing super heavy grass, but if you are fishing down South on Guntersville, Seminole, Toledo Bend, Rayburn, these places I have a lot of really thick grass, you might go up to braid.  I know a lot of guys including my friend Shaye Baker fishes, 40 pound test braid, because it allows him to rip that bait a lot cleaner from the grass. But my preference is fluorocarbon up here in the North.

So I hope this guy helped you guys understand lipless cranking a little bit more effectively. Again, if you guys want to learn some retrieves, I'll have that linked up here in the corner for you guys. If you have any questions or comments, let us know in the comment section below. And as always, thanks for watching and I'll catch you guys next time.

Older Post Newer Post

Leave a comment


April Breakdown | Platinum Series

April Breakdown | Platinum Series

Posted by Rick Patri


Watch more videos