Lipless Crankbait Fishing for Bass

Fishing a Lipless Crankbait | Bottom Composition Matters


Paying attention to the little things can make a big difference. An often overlooked detail when fishing a lipless crankbait is bottom composition. Bottom composition is the makeup of a riverbed or lake bottom. Does water flow briskly over rounded humps of gravel? Is there a rocky ledge nearby with a vertical break? Few bass fishing lures are better for covering a wide variety of water than the lipless crankbait. And with a few subtle adjustments, you can throw your lipless at just about any bottom that comes your way.

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Video transcript:

Alex Rudd:
What's up guys, welcome back to the MONSTERBASS Channel. My name is Alex Rudd for you guys that don't know me, I own and operate the Alex Rudd Fishing Channel. A lot of lay downs, a lot of wood in the water. But what we've got going on now is this start to flatten out and there's a big gravel point that runs out here. And on this big gravel point, there's a lot of stumps, there's a lot of old fence posts. There used to be like an old farm here or something. And so there's a lot of these isolated pieces of cover and structure that are just all over this big flat. And so I've been fishing a crankbait with a bill on it, but now I've picked up a lipless crankbait. And the biggest reason for that is the fact that this is number one, a lot shallow or water.

Alex Rudd:
And so I don't really want to bill on my crankbait. I don't want something that's diving and digging in a hole whole lot. What I want is something I can control the depth on. And a lipless crankbait is great at that because it doesn't have a bill and it also doesn't float, it's going to sink. And so what that allows me to do is it allows me to keep that bait where I need it in the water column and based on the bottom composition to be able to fish this bait a lot more effectively. And so we've picked up the lipless for the simple fact that it is just a lot better tool to fish. So right now we're in about four foot of water. You got big gravel point that's going to run out here. And essentially what I want to do is just start casting up on this thing.

Alex Rudd:
I'm going to let that lipless hit the bottom, and then I'm going to keep my rod tip up and I'm going to keep that thing moving. I'm just going to keep it mid column, which mid column right here is two foot of water, a foot and a half of water. And I'm just going to use this lipless to really cover a lot water around this big flat to cover as much water as I can and try to get these fish to react. Because when it's cold like this, there's really two methods of thought when it comes to fish and cold water. There's the dudes who love to slow down and then there's guys like me who are power fishermen who like to fish and like fish fast. Sorry. I thought I got to bite there, but they like to fish fast. And so me, when I look at this, I don't want to drag something right here. I'm trying to get these fish to react to this bait. And so I'm going to keep my rod tip high. I'm going to keep this thing moving. And you guys can see, I keep... I heard it called the Alabama shake. And it's where you just y'all constantly keep that rod tip moving constantly keep that bait pulsing and moving and twitching around because then it looks exactly like what these fish are wanting to eat, which is shad, gizzard shad, L wives, thread fins and stuff like that.

Alex Rudd:
But just such an effective bait. A lipless is a lot more of effective of a tool in this situation than say a crank bait like my square bill from MOSTERBASS that has a bill on it. That's going dive just a little bit deeper. I like to say there's a tool for every job. And right now on this flat in three and a half foot of water on this more gravelly style bank, there's not a lot of big rocks here. There's not a lot of lay downs. It's just, like I said, a stump here, a stump there, and most of it is a gravel bottom. You're going to be able to take this lipless. You're going to be able to throw it up there. You're going to be able to make a good long cast, cover a lot of water and keep this thing in the strike zone and give yourself more chances to run into a fish and get one to react to it, especially in cold water like this.

Alex Rudd:
The lipless is just a mainstay. It's one of those baits that in cold water, it gets bots. It's just very aggressive. It's very loud. It's going to get a fish to react. And on a day like today, you're going to have to get a fish to react because it is a really cold day outside. Now, one of my favorite things to do, especially this time of year is when bots are really lethargic when they're not as apt to want to go after things and eat it. Is that you can be burning this lipless along and you can get it next to a stump or get it next to a piece of cover. And you can just stop that lipless, let it sink there and then just start working it like a jig. And this is something that I learned from a buddy of mine that actually fishes this lake that we're fishing today a whole lot is just treating this thing almost like a jig and just hopping it right along. Almost just getting that lipless to just flip flop back and forth.

Alex Rudd:
And by doing that, it looks like a dying bait fish. It just hits that instinctual drive that those fish have to want to kill that thing, especially when they're cold, they don't want to work a whole lot. So this lipless comes burning into their zone and it's making a lot of noise, it gets their attention and then it just does and it goes to the bottom and just starts flopping back and forth. Well, that bass's instincts tell it, oh, this is something easy to kill and it's going to take advantage of killing it. And so like on this big flat that we're on, there's a lot of stumps, there's a lot of little pieces of cover. And so as you're working down this bank, you can do things like that. You can burn that crank by right up next to a piece that cover, kill it, and then just start hopping it along, just like a jig, just flip flopping that back and forth that barely making it vibrate.

Alex Rudd:
And once you get past, if you don't get a bait, you just keep on railing again and you can cover a whole lot of water doing that. And so you're super effective. Not only are you covering a lot of water already only are you giving yourself a lot of chances to run into active fish, but when you do get next to something, you don't have to pull out a Texas rig or a flipping bait and flip it in there. You can simply stop that lipless and use the versatility of that lipless as a tool to fish around that piece of cover, just like you would with any other Texas rig bait or something like that. But you can keep the lipless in your hand.

Alex Rudd:
So what's really cool about a lipless and a lot of people look at this bait and you think, man, this just got a bunch of treble hooks hanging off the bottom, big treble hooks at that, that are going to get hung up on stuff. What you don't realize is when you actually get this thing in the water and you start to put tension on that line, that bait is going to turn up like this, and it almost hides those treble hooks. And so you would be amazed what kind of different cover and structure that this lipless can actually come through. And that's why it's such a good tool when you're fishing around grass. I heard of people fishing a lipless in grass and ripping it out of the grass. Well, that's because that thing is going to turn up like that. It's almost going to hide those treble hooks in behind that bait.

Alex Rudd:
And you're going to be able to get it through a lot more stuff than you think you can. It's also what makes it really effective in shallow water like that flat that we were fishing on because it was so shallow you're going to inherently get hung up with something that's going to dig into the bottom where this thing doesn't dig into the bottom and it's going to turn that nose up. It's going to allow that bait to come across rocks and stumps and little pieces of gravel and even through pieces of grass and stuff like that a lot more effective than something with a bill would.

Alex Rudd:
Because what that bill's going to do is it's going to dig and then it's going to naturally want to deflect off of, and a lot of the time if you're trying to bring it around a stump or you're trying to bring it about around a big rock, that lip will deflect and just roll those hooks right into that stump. Whereas with this thing, it won't do that because you can keep it going in the direction that you want to go with it and you can slow it down, you can speed it up and you can use the inherent action of that bait, tilting down and getting that nose down to get that lipless around that piece of cover, that piece of structure.

Alex Rudd:
Only thing that I really get super specific with is the rod. So I'm actually using a 7'6" medium heavy cranking rod. So this is a composite rod. It's a composite between graphite and fiberglass. And so it's got a good parabolic band it's designed to fish treble hook baits. But I think the most important thing is the length. I'm using that 7'6" and the reason that I do that is when I'm fishing really shallow water, like a flat or like a grass flat or something like that, I can keep that rod tip up. And it gives me just a little bit of extra length to just keep that bait a little bit higher in the column. And also when I make a really good long cast, a little bit longer, rod is going to give you just a little bit more leverage than say a seven foot wood.

Alex Rudd:
And so if you have a big one eat right on the end of a cash, you're going to be able to have that leverage to lean into those fish, really drive those treble hooks home. A lipless is just one of those things that you need to learn how to use. It's something that needs to be in your tackle box. Not only because it's a mainstay fish and because it's something that catches fish, but just the versatile of this bait. It doesn't matter what platform you're on the boat, the bank, the kayak, it's a tool that you need to have with you because you can do so many different things with it. And for a guy like me, a guy who loves to power fish, who loves to cover a lot of water, the versatility of this bait is going to allow me to not only cover a lot of water and to do what I love in power fishing, but be able to just have a tool that does a lot of different jobs that'll help me to put fishing boat, the bank or the kayak doesn't really matter where we're fishing.

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