Three Things to Know About Lipless Crankbaits

Three Things to Know About Lipless Crankbaits

If you were to rank the most versatile bass baits of all time, lipless crankbaits would land near the top of the list, along with the likes of spinnerbaits, vibrating jigs and Texas rigs. These baits can be fished at varying speeds and used to imitate a variety of different baitfish and other forage. 

Many of you already know that. But there are three things that might be a little less known about lipless baits that I want to talk about today. Here they are. 

Bass can throw them easily - 

A lipless crankbait is a fantastic lure for targeting and catching bass, but it does have its drawbacks. For starters, you need to be aware that bass can throw this bait easily. A lipless is almost always on the move, either being reeled, falling on the pause or rising on the pump. In any situation, bass may take a swipe at one of these bait and not be able to get a good bead on it like they could with a slower moving Texas rig or jig. For this reason, they’re often hooked outside the mouth. 

Take this already precarious situation and add to it the fact that these baits are usually pretty hefty and you have the perfect storm for a bass to gain leverage on the fight and throw your bait. Being aware of this is half the battle, and you should make every effort to keep the fish down below the surface by lowering your rod tip. 

But you can also help prevent a bass tearing loose by using high quality EWG treble hooks, a soft-tipped medium or medium heavy rod and by being certain that your drag is set to slip a little. Bass basically hook themselves when they hit a lipless, so a stiff rod and a strong hookset can do more damage than good, tearing the sharp and small hooks through a fish. Instead, use a fairly soft rod and back off your drag a little and you’ll find more fish make it in. 

Bass Can Throw Them Easily

They work deep, as well as shallow - 

Most anglers associate lipless crankbaits with shallow water fishing, out on open flats and down slightly sloping banks. But, lipless crankbaits work great offshore as well. Taking a lipless crankbait out to a secondary point in a creek and yo-yoing it in 15- to 20-feet of water is a great way to target pre- and post-spawn bass that are moving in and out of the shallows. 

To do this, simply cast your lipless out and then let it sink on a semi-slack line. When you think it’s getting close to the bottom (or close to the depth you believe the bass to be suspended at), engage your reel and give your rod a quick jerk upwards. Drop your rod tip and turn your reel handle a couple of cranks to take up the slack as your bait falls a few feet again. Repeat this process and your bait will go up and down (or “yo-yo”) as you work it back to the boat. 

Lipless Crankbait

No two are the same - 

It’s important too to realize that no two lipless crankbaits are the same. Each bait from a particular brand is a little different in size, color, weight, sound and action. There are some days where bass will key in extremely well on a 1/4-ounce lipless crank in one variation for example when they won’t touch a 1/2- ounce in another. 

By trying several different lipless crankbaits out, you can build a stable of a few sizes and colors that work really well given certain situations. A 1/4-ounce Sexy Shad Redeye Shad for instance is a great lipless for the fall, when bass are keying on small shad in shallow water. Where a 1/2-ounce Yo-Zuri lipless in Rayburn Red would fare better in the spring, when bass are targeting crawfish in a little deeper water. 

Lipless Crankbait

Throwing a lipless crankbait is a great way to catch fish from the shore to the far reaches of a fishery. Learning the intricacies of these different baits, when to use them and how to make them as productive as possible at putting fish in the boat will make you an angler to be reckoned with at your local watering hole. 

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