Lipless Crankbait Fishing: 3 Things You Need to Know

Lipless Crankbait Fishing: 3 Things You Need to Know


best bass bait for fishing

 Throwing a lipless crankbait is one of the best ways to catch bass when the weather is beginning to warm up. When bass begin chasing baitfish before the spawn and even before pre-spawn, the lipless crank is one of the most efficient ways to get bit. With a variety of different retrievals you can use and places you can throw a lipless, it excels in almost any situation. Here are three methods that may not stand out as good ways to fish a lipless, but can help you land a bunch more fish, whether boat fishing or shore fishing.

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Video transcript:

Paul Glass:
What is going on everyone? Welcome back to the channel. Paul, with Burly Fishing here, coming to you with some tips and tricks. Really this one though is specifically going to be centered around the lipless crankbait. You know what that is? It is one of the absolute best all time baits to fish in cold weather. It looks just like this guy right here. Now, before we get into all of that, I want to say thank you for stopping by the channel. Thank you so much for... I am assuming you are smashing the heck out of these subscribe button. You're ringing the notification bell, so you can see when we post the next video. And you're hitting the thumbs up button too. I'm sure you're doing all of that, so thank you for having already done that.

Paul Glass:
Now, like I was saying, the lipless crankbait is one of the all time best cold water baits out there. Yes, the jerkbait is a phenomenal cold water bait, there is no doubt about it. The squarebill, a crankbait, awesome, awesome, awesome bait. These are all good baits for when the water's super cold, but it's starting to warm up and those fish are starting to chase those moving baits.

Paul Glass:
They're starting to chase baitfish patterns, because they're chasing baitfish. So that is when you're going to break out the old lipless. Now, what I specifically want to provide for you today is not just how to fish a lipless. The great thing about a lipless crankbait is you can go ahead and tie it on. You can cast it about 6,000 miles away. You can search a ton of water really fast, and knowing nothing, you can just retrieve and you can catch fish. There's no doubt about it. You can absolutely just go ahead and have yourself a day casting out and retrieving. Not knowing anything, you can catch fish. That's just what it's going to do. And that's great. But what I want to give you is three things that maybe you're forgetting to do, maybe you didn't know that you could do. Three things that are going to take the lipless crankbait for being one of the best to your absolute favorite cold water bait.

Paul Glass:
Number one out of three on my list of things that you are not doing when you're fishing a lipless crankbait, is you're not fishing shallow. I'm telling you right now, it seems like a deep diving bait only. It seems like it's for deep water or deeper water, because there are these big giant hooks right here on this bad boy. And they seem like they're going to get hooked up a whole heck ton if you were out there fishing, 6, 7, 8 inches of water. Normally, you would be right, but I'm here to tell you, there are some ways that you can absolutely get after that trim water. And because there's not a lot of people throwing in that trim of water, this is an absolute killer, even in the shallow water. Now, the first thing that you can do is you can downsize your lipless crankbait.

Paul Glass:
This is a Rapala Rippin' Rap. It is a phenomenal bait. Compare that to the Strike King Red Eye Shad, and come on, zoom in for me there. Compare that to the Strike King Red Eye Shad, and you can see that is a huge difference. Now, what is a lighter bait going to into? It means it's going to suspend up in the water a little bit higher. It's going to be a little bit lighter. You're getting under that half ounce. And that's where you're really going to start to see this do really well in more shallow water. Now, the other thing that you can do to really help yourself out, other than downsizing, is keep your rod tip way up in the air. On your retrieves, cast it out. Keep that rod tip up, maybe even hold up the elbows. That's going to keep the bait riding up a little bit higher and going to keep you from getting snagged on anything that is in the shallows.

Paul Glass:
And then lastly, you absolutely can just go ahead and retrieve that a little bit faster. Get yourself a little bit higher speed retrieve gear ratio bait caster, and really burn that thing. One thing people forget to do a lot of times is mix up their retrieve speeds. You cast it out just like a crankbait, and you just retrieve it at your standard speed. And you forget that slowing way down, or even speeding way up and burning this sucker can really help trigger some of those fish. Now, my number two tip, thing that you're not doing to make yourself more successful with a lipless crankbait, is you're not fishing cover. And I don't just mean a little bit of grass. I mean, all the grass. And I don't just mean a little bit of wood. I mean, go look for a pile of stumps.

Paul Glass:
If you're not bumping some of those stumps, occasionally, you are not taking full advantage of the lipless crankbait. And honestly, again, I know that we're looking at two giant hooks with these lips crankbaits. And that's kind of the deal, right? You're throwing a big bait with no bill in front to deflect off all that cover. Now, there's a couple things you can do again, to make yourself even more successful. It's not just about throwing at grass. My first tip when you're throwing at grass, and I think grass is the most important thing that you can look for. Wood is very important, but I think grass is even more important. If there's grass underneath their bait, that's probably the best case scenario for fishing that lipless crankbait. So how do you know if it's really good grass for fishing a lipless crankbait? Or maybe you're looking for a different spot.

Paul Glass:
If you go ahead and cast out, and you're seeing healthy grass underneath, that's really good. So greener, little bit more full, that's probably going to hold more bass and that's grass that you want to see. Because also, when you get snagged and healthier grass. It's got better roots. It's a little bit more lively, and it's not going to just come out when your bait hits it. You're going to be able to get it snagged a little bit, snap that rot tip, and pull the lipless crankbait right out of the grass. And you will find that as long as there's not a ton of grass coming out with you, that may be when you get struck.

Paul Glass:
Now, another thing you might notice is that the rear treble is the one that's actually getting snagged the most on grass rocks and that sort of thing. So one thing you'll see a lot of times is, you'll see there's actually a smaller hook on the rear of your lipless crankbait. You can see this is maybe a size number four, and then maybe you got a size number six in the back. That's a modification that you can actually make yourself. So go ahead and get some extra treble hooks. And then take a look and say, "Okay, I'm going to go one size down from whatever comes from the factory in my lipless crankbait." The other thing that you can do is, you can just go ahead and take this bad boy off. If you're in a spot where you know there's a whole bunch of wood, like if you see a bunch of stumps. Get yourself a lipless crankbait, and just go ahead and take that bad boy in the back right off.

Paul Glass:
I promise you, I promise you, if you're hitting stumps, the bass that's going to hit this is not going to go ahead and sip it from the back. They're going to inhale the lipless. And having the one treble, your hookup ratio will be just fine. Trust me, it'll be just fine. The other thing too is when people see those stumps and lay downs, this is not the bait that they're going to throw at them. They're going to throw something totally different. So by the time you actually hook this into like all that clout, all that wood, and you're maybe the first person and that's thrown that lipless there. Yes, one treble, totally worth it. That's one of the best ways to make sure that you don't get hung up in that wood. Now, another modification that you can make to your hooks to make yourself even more successful, get hooked up less. And you can do this on absolutely any lipless, is go to an EWG style short shank hook.

Paul Glass:
So this hook that you right here, it's got a shorter shank. That's that portion right here. And it's got an extra wide gap hook. That means the hook point actually comes back towards the shank right there. That is going to give you a phenomenal hookup ratio. Keep the hooks closer and tighter to the body, and make you less prone to hooking up, whether it's grass, wood, rocks, or otherwise. Now, my number three tip, the thing that I think people forget to do all of the time, is really take a look at the construction of their bait, and make sure that when they're going out, yes, it's good to have some jerkbaits, but if you're running a lipless and you're having some success, it is really important to have a whole bunch of options within your lipless assortment.

Paul Glass:
Now, what do I mean by that? Yes, it's very important to have a smaller bait and a larger bait. I think that is just something that just sort of makes sense. If you're seeing smaller fish, you're going to want a smaller profile bait. You're going for match the hatch. It doesn't have to be the same color. It's okay to have a brighter crankbait. But if you're seeing right off the bat, that all of the fish that you're seeing, the bait fish, are half the size of what you're throwing, you can at yourself a problem. And vice versa. If you've only got the little one, and you're seeing a bunch of three inch gizzard shad running around, go and go ahead and grab yourself a big boy. It's okay to upgrade.

Paul Glass:
But there's also a couple rules of thumb that you want to keep in mind. Now, I already talked about fishing shallows, go ahead and grab yourself a smaller bait. This is a two inch Rippin' Rap. This is, I think, a quarter ounce. That's going to do much better in shallow areas. You're just going to be more effective. It's going to be more than likely the size of the baitfish that you're going to see. And it's going to be more effective at fishing lighter cover. Now, almost everything else can be covered by the Strike King Red Eye Shad. This is one of the absolute best. One of the absolute best lipless crankbaits that has ever been made. It's phenomenal bait. And it covers a wide variety of depths as well. You can fish this to a couple of feet. You can also plumb the depths with it. You get all the way down to 10, 20, 30 feet, and you can yo-yo-yo this even vertically jig one of these and catch fish no problem, all day long.

Paul Glass:
But one thing that people don't always gravitate towards is the one ounce. And in this case, the three quarter ounce Rick Clunn. Now, this bait has a totally different action than your Red Eye Shad. And I'll show you why. And this is why I say you got to look at the construction of your bait. It's not just the weight. Look at the profile in this body. Big, wide head, totally rounded versus this super trim, super angular Red Eye Shad from Strike King. This one also has a huge belly, the Rick Clunn does, versus this really slim and trim Red Eye Shad. Totally, totally different baits. And because of that, and the weight difference, right? Half ounce, three quarter ounces. That's a huge difference. That means you can cast this way longer. That means it's going to get down way deeper, way faster.

Paul Glass:
This is a search and destroy bait. I don't know if you can see it. I'm going to try and zoom in. There are three giant ball bearings inside of this bait. There's one right behind the eye. And then two in the belly that you can see pretty clearly there. This thing is, I'll try... Maybe you can hear it. It's heck and loud. Big, it sounds like a soda can in there, versus the Red Eye Shad. Tinny rattle, if you will. Totally different. So you're making a totally different sound. You're disturbing water also in a totally different way. This Red Eye Shad, it almost has itself a little bill right here, almost like a square bill. You can see that's going to definitely bump some stumps. That's going to be phenomenal, versus the Rick Clunn here, totally not meant for the same purpose. It is going to run more vertically, but obviously the farther you cast is a little more vertical.

Paul Glass:
But this thing is not going to be the best for bump and stumps. It's going to get down quickly. I would say this one's more for an open water situation, where you want to cover even more water than you normally can, and you want to cast a couple hundred miles, or when you need to get down deep, real, real quick. So understanding how the lipless is built, and how it's going to react differently, I think it's really important. Now, there's some hybrid styles out there. Some are in between a long caster, and a deep diver, and a stump bumper, they kind of do everything really well. This is the Bill Lewis Rat-L Trap. This is one of the absolute classic profiles that's out there. It's got that long nose, that'll absolutely deflect on some stuff, but it's also real, real trim. And it's going to get a really tight vibration. And if you give it a listen, it's even higher per pitch than that Strike King Red Eye Shad was. Totally different bait.

Paul Glass:
So by having 1, 2, 3, maybe 4 different profiles, you can go ahead and give yourself a lot of options to cover different water. And the last thing I'll mention, there are some really unique modifications and modified versions of the lipless that are coming out. This one right here is a great example. This is an Ima suspending lipless crankbait. Now what does that mean? It's actually going to suspend in the water at a certain depth. This one's somewhere in a three to four foot range. So if you need something that you can actually pause, because maybe you want to fish this a little bit like a jerkbait. You're finding those fish are really cold water, really lethargic, but maybe they're up shallow.

Paul Glass:
This is a way for you to target that specific fish. Or maybe you need to slow down, but you need to suspend it above cover still. And every one of your other lipless, it's just moving too quickly. This is a phenomenal option for you. A heck of a lot lighter, still has the rattle. Whoa, this one's in my shirt. Still has the rattle. Actually kind of a loud one. Louder than I thought. But a totally different profile. You can see it's got that fat belly definitely imitating more of an actual baitfish profile, than say the Rick Clunn, right?

Paul Glass:
Totally got a little bit of a different profile. And maybe even totally, even more different than that Bill Lewis, that Rat-L Trap. Now those are my three tips. Now, the one thing I will say that I haven't brought up, I haven't talked a lot about color. I do think that color is important. I will say, I think profile and speed and size are probably more important, because you're getting to the right fish. That's way more important. And mimicking the forage is important, but I'd say in general, just go natural. If you go ahead and get yourself a Strike King Red Eye Shad in that sexy shad color, you are going to be just fine in almost every single situation.

Paul Glass:
Now, I do also recommend that you get a dark color for that dark water situation, get you something with a darker profile. If you can only get two, those are the two I recommend. But in the spring there is a cheat code. And this is one of those, if you know, you know type of deals. If you don't have Orange Craw, or a bright red Strike King Red Eye Shad, I'm telling you right now, you're fishing in a disadvantage. There's probably a four week period where this is the only color that's going to get annihilated. This is my personal experience. I'm sure that every single person with a fishing rod will tell you something different. But when it comes to color, I want to have a light color that mimics shad or minnows. I want to have a dark color for that dark water, maybe something with a real loud thump. And then, I absolutely at all times have to have... This is a restock for me. I have to have that bright craw. I prefer the Strike King Red Eye Shad and Orange Craw. That's my number one all time favorite.

Paul Glass:
But sometimes that is the only thing that is getting bit, period, the end. So if you're not carrying that, I'm telling you that's an arrow that you're really going to wish you had in your quiver. Now, those are three things that you are not doing that are... And technically for, I gave you a bonus, but those are my three tips. Those are my three things that you are not doing, that you should start doing to make yourself more successful fishing a lipless crankbait this spring.

Paul Glass:
Now, let's review very quickly. Number one, make sure that you are fishing that shallow water. And to make yourself more successful, get yourself a bait that has a smaller treble hook in the back. Or if you're really worried about getting hung up and losing that bait, go ahead and take the rear treble off entirely. Speed up your retrieve and keep that rod tip super, super high.

Paul Glass:
Number two, make sure that you're fishing cover. Look for that high quality, the healthiest grass that you can find in your lake, and go ahead and make sure that you're getting as close to that as possible without getting hung up. If you find yourself getting whole chunks and chunks of grass as you're pulling up, just speed up your retrieve a little bit, right? Or grab yourself a lighter or maybe even a suspending lipless. That is going to be where the fish are. That is going to be where you want to be. And you need to get yourself above some grass. In addition to that, make sure you're fishing wood. DEBO'S Fishing says it best. If you see wood, pitch to wood. I would include go ahead and sling yourself a lipless crank eight over some wood, and you are going to find those fish. And remember, a lot of people, because they're worried about getting hung up, are not fishing a lipless crankbait in that area.

Paul Glass:
Go ahead, take that rear treble off. Get yourself a smaller one. Put on some EWG, extra wide gap, short shank aftermarket travel hooks. Just do whatever you got to do to be able to get your lipless crankbait over some cover, bump some stumps. And my number three tip. Make sure that you've got at least a few different profiles and sizes to give yourself a different kind of wobble, to give yourself a different kind of presentation, and make sure that you can match the hatch. Whether that's the stock standard Red Eye Shad, whether that's a little tiny ribbon wrap or one of these little half inch quarter ounce sizes. Or that's a big three quarter ounce or all the way up to, I think these go up to a one ounce that big Rick Clunn special. Look for one of those, something like that can get you way down deep when you know that's where the fish are.

Paul Glass:
And then, my number four, my bonus is make sure you carry something in a craw color, orange, red, something really vibrant. And I'm telling you in the spring, there are just going to be days where that's the only thing that's going to get bit. So those are my three plus one tips. I really seriously hope that those were helpful for you. If there's something I missed, or if there's something that should have been called out, please go ahead and leave a comment below. Be like, "Hey, you idiot, go ahead and make sure you tell them to use X, Y, and Z." Or "My favorite tip of all time is, whatever." Please, please, please, this is certainly a learning opportunity. And this does not even nearly cover the gamut of things that you should be doing to be successful lipless. But these are the three things that I think you're not doing that you should do more of.

Paul Glass:
So again, I hope this is enjoyable for you, or at least you learned something. And please, check out Burly Fishing. We do videos like this as well. We do tips. We do tricks. We do fishing videos. We do unboxes and gear reviews. We even have a live stream every single Thursday, 8:00 PM Eastern. Please come and join us. We would love to have you in chat. Also, please, if you haven't already, go ahead and subscribe. Smash the like button. Ring that notification bell, so you can see when we post the next at MONSTERBASS tips, tricks, fun, fishing video. And maybe we will even catch you out on the next video.

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