If you’re an angler looking to expand your fishing techniques, then adding a lipless crankbait in your arsenal can bring tons of new opportunities. From catching bass to walleye and pike, this type of bait has become increasingly popular for good reason. However, before we dive into how to fish a lipless crankbait, let’s talk about what it is.
A lipless crankbait is similar to a traditional crankbait but without any diving lips. Instead, they possess a flattened head that allows them to sink straight down and provide a unique vibration when retrieved. This feature makes the lure effective in various water conditions, depths, and fishing styles allowing anglers to cast far and wide.
“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” – Maimonides
Now that we’ve established what a lipless crankbait is, you might wonder: “How do I fish with one?”. That’s where we come in! In this post, we will show you some of the best ways to use and catch fish using a lipless crankbait. So, whether you’re just starting or already have experience with these types of baits, keep on reading!
Understanding the Lipless Crankbait
The Basics of Lipless Crankbaits
A lipless crankbait is a type of fishing lure that doesn’t have a bill or lip to help it dive. It’s usually made from hard plastic and has small, internal beads or rattles that create vibrations and noise when you reel it in. Most lipless crankbaits are long and slender with multiple treble hooks at the bottom.
When you cast a lipless crankbait, you’ll usually let it sink for a few seconds before reeling it back in quickly with short, sharp jerks. This action makes the beads rattle and creates a lot of commotion underwater, which attracts fish from a distance.
The Advantages of Using Lipless Crankbaits
Lipless crankbaits are one of the most versatile lures on the market and can be used in various settings with different techniques. Here are some advantages of using lipless crankbaits:
- They work well in both shallow and deep water, making them ideal for targeting different types of fish species.
- They’re great for covering large areas of water because they can be easily cast over long distances.
- Their sound and vibration naturally mimic baitfish, which appeals to predator fish like bass, walleye, and pike.
- They come in a wide range of colors and designs so you can choose one that best imitates the local baitfish in your area.
- You can use different retrieval techniques such as slow rolling, steady retrieves or ripping to get different responses from fish.
The Best Situations for Lipless Crankbaits
Lipless crankbaits are a great all-purpose lure, but here are some situations where they work best:
- When fishing in shallow water that is less than 10 feet deep. In this scenario, you want to fish with a lipless crankbait that has a more subtle action and retrieve.
- In early spring when the water temperature starts to rise. Fish start feeding heavily during this season, and the loud rattling sound from a lipless crankbait can trigger their predatory instinct.
- Fishing around vegetation and weed beds can be productive as well since the lipless bait won’t get caught up like other lures would.
- During fall when fish start migrating to deeper water; a heavier lipless crankbait can help get down to depths of 20ft or more.
“Lipless crankbaits have been known to produce some big bass on Kentucky Lake… especially later in the fall.” -Jimmy Mason (Pro Angler)
If you’re new to using lipless crankbaits, experiment with different retrieves and colors until you find what works best in your area and for the specific species you’re targeting. Always remember to check local laws and regulations before heading out on the water.
Choosing the Right Equipment
Selecting the Right Rod and Reel
The key to effectively fishing a lipless crankbait is selecting the right rod and reel. When choosing a rod for this type of bait, you want something with a fast action tip that has some backbone but still offers enough sensitivity to feel when the fish hits. Look for rods in the 7′-8′ range with medium-heavy power.
A quality baitcasting reel is essential for accurate casts and control over your bait. Consider reels with high gear ratios as they work well in retrieving quickly. A good option would be one with at least a 6:4:1 gear ratio with a comfortable handle grip and adjustable brake settings.
Choosing the Right Line and Lure
When it comes to line selection, it depends on the conditions you are fishing in. In clearer water, fluorocarbon lines between 10-12lb test can do the trick. However, if you’re fishing in weedy or rocky waters its suggested going up to a thicker braided line (15-20lb test) since weeds and rocks can break off lighter line more easily.
Lipless crankbaits come in several colors, which can make finding the perfect lure difficult. Some popular shades include shad, chartreuse, bluegill, perch, and crawfish. The best color choice should match the surrounding environment, so consider what’s common in the waters you’ll be fishing in – If there’s plenty of crawfish around, go for a red/orange shade; if you’re fishing in a lake stocked with shad, choose a silver/black combo.
Lipless crankbaits are famously known for their erratic movement, sinking quickly with a wounded baitfish action. The best way to use this is by “ripping” or jerking the rod reel retrieve. Cast out your line and give it several good hard rips in one direction before taking in slack on the return stroke. Repeat as needed during retrieval until you hooked bass.
“Lipless crankbaits produce well because of their ability to be worked all throughout the water column – from top to bottom.” -Steve Pennaz
When retrieving a lipless crankbait, try changing up the pace a bit since bass can at times strike when the bait falls vertically. If unsuccessful, change things up by varying the pattern till you find what works well.
A key tip for fishing a lipless crankbait effectively is to ensure you’re making contact with the bottom but avoid getting the lure snagged on weeds or rocks too often as that’ll kill momentum and spook fish away.
The Bottom Line
Fishing with lipless crankbaits requires proper equipment choices matched adequately with environmental factors to have success. Remember always the importance of adapting your technique while fishing as conditions might shift, requiring changes in shade choice and retrieves.
Locating the Perfect Spot
Lipless crankbaits are a popular lure among anglers because they can catch different types of fish. These lures work best when you place them in the right location, so it’s important to know where to cast your line.
Identifying the Best Water Conditions
The first step to finding the perfect spot is knowing the water conditions. Fish tend to gather in areas with good oxygen levels and ideal temperatures. During hot weather, bass like to stay near cool, shaded places, while during colder months, they prefer to move into deeper waters. Keep an eye out for signs such as drops in temperature or overcast skies, which could signal fish movement.
Identifying the Best Structures and Cover
Fish often seek shelter under structures like rocks, weed beds, fallen trees, and logs. Identify these locations and target them by casting your lipless crankbait around and through them. Another factor to consider is cover. Look for spots that offer a change in depth or channel edges. These underwater structures provide great hiding spots for fish, making them excellent places to try your luck.
Using Technology to Locate Fish
If you want an easier way to locate fish, you can use technology such as fish finders, which uses sonar to create images of what is happening underneath the water surface. This device will tell you if there are any fish nearby and how deep they are. It also shows you the contour of the bottom, indicating where the structure and potential feeding points may be located.
“Fishfinders give anglers a huge edge. They allow us to see more fish and detail than we ever could have before,” – Brandon Lester
Another helpful piece of gear is GPS. It allows you to return to hot spots and successful locations the next time you hit the water, increasing your chances of catching more fish.
While technology can aid in locating fish, it’s important not to rely on it entirely. Combining different methods will give a higher likelihood of success.
“The Garmin Echomap Plus is the total package when it comes to features for finding and tracking fish.” – Wirecutter
Mastering the Retrieve Technique
Fishing with a lipless crankbait can be very effective in catching various types of fish, especially bass. However, to become successful at this technique, you need to master the retrieve method, which involves using your rod and reel to make the bait move in a way that attracts fish and provokes them into biting.
The Different Types of Retrieves
There are several variations of retrieves that you can use when fishing with a lipless crankbait. The most common ones include:
- Yo-yo retrieve: With this technique, you lift your rod up quickly and then allow the bait to fall back down under its weight. Reel the slack in as soon as it hits the bottom and repeat the process.
- Burn and kill retrieve: This involves reeling in your line as quickly as possible and occasionally stopping to let the lure sink and flutter before starting again.
- Slow rolling retrieve: Here, you retrieve the bait slowly with occasional pauses to let it hit the bottom, creating more noise and vibration.
- Ripping retrieve: In this approach, you pull the bait towards you fast, pause for a few seconds, and then repeat the process, making the lure dart erratically through the water.
The type of retrieve you choose depends on various factors like the type of fish you’re targeting, water clarity, and temperature of the water.
Matching the Retrieve to the Water Conditions
If you want to increase your odds of success when fishing with a lipless crankbait, you need to match the retrieve speed and style to the water conditions. Here are some tips to help you do that:
- Cold and Clear Water: Fish in this type of water tend to be less active, so you should use a slow rolling retrieve with occasional pauses.
- Warmer Water: As the temperature of the water increases, fish become more active, and you need to adapt your approach accordingly. Use either a ripping or burning and killing retrieve style.
- Muddy Water: In murky water, it’s best to use a ripping retrieve because it creates more noise and vibration that fish can detect.
Using the Right Speed and Cadence
The speed and cadence at which you bring in your lipless crankbait affects how attractive it looks to fish. Here are a few factors to consider when fishing with a lipless crankbait:
- Water Depth: If you’re fishing in shallow water, you want to keep the bait moving quickly and erratically. If you’re fishing deeper waters, a slower speed and steady rhythm work better.
- Temperature: As mentioned earlier, fish are more sluggish in colder water, so it’s best to use a slower retrieve during those times.
- Baitfish Activity: Keep an eye out for schools of baitfish and adjust your retrieval style based on whether they’re active or not.
- Seasonal Changes: The seasons also affect the behavior and feeding patterns of fish, so adjust your retrieves accordingly.
“The right retrieve is usually one that provides subtle action and draws strikes from reluctant fish without spooking them.” -Bassmaster
If you can master the retrieve technique, you’ll find that fishing with a lipless crankbait becomes more efficient and successful. Experiment with different techniques until you find the one that works best for your needs.
Adding Variations to Your Presentation
If you want to improve your chances of catching fish with a lipless crankbait, try adding variations to your presentation. Here are some ways to do it:
Changing the Color and Size of Your Lure
One of the most basic ways to add variety to your lure presentation is by changing the color and size of your lipless crankbait. Different fish species have different preferences, so it’s essential to experiment with various colors in different fishing locations to find what works for you.
A darker shade such as black or purple may work well when fishing at night because they create better contrasts in low-light conditions. Brighter-colored baits like chartreuse or hot pink work best during sunny days when visibility is optimal. Instead of matching the hatch, present something unusual from the natural baitfish that bass might encounter day to day.
You can also adjust the weight and size of your lures according to the water depth, temperature, and current speed. Smaller and lighter lures float near the surface more easily, while heavier ones sink more slowly and stay closer to the bottom. It’s always good to keep a few different sizes and weights on hand to adapt to various fish behavior patterns.
Using Different Retrieval Patterns
An often-overlooked aspect of presenting lipless crankbaits effectively is using different retrieval patterns. The way a bait moves in the water grabs the attention of fish and triggers their instincts to attack prey.
In calm waters, slow and steady retrieves work better, mimicking injured baitfish that need to be caught quickly before they escape predators’ sight. But in rougher currents, faster and erratic movements make the crankbaits look like fleeing organisms trying to drop off from the group.
It also helps to give the bait small jerks or twitches when changing direction, simulating fish’ movements in distress from feeling trapped. These techniques replicate real-life scenarios and trigger predatory behavior among fish species that go after careless prey.
Experimenting with Different Depths
The depth at which you present your lure can be a crucial factor affecting how many fish will bite. Lipless crankbaits are versatile because they allow anglers to cover various depths within the water structure.
The choice is always situational; for deeper points, choose heavier lipless crankbaits and drop them down using lifting-and-dropping craw patterns to get reaction strikes from hungry bass. Try trolling this technique across underwater structures as well to help detect where key areas might be.
For shallower waters with weed beds, snag resistant features might become necessary to prevent losses; it’s recommended to impose an aggressive action on these setups to match how smaller fry attempt to move through grass patches.”
“You want to make sure that you maximize the time you spend casting into opportunities,” – Brandon Cobb, FLW pro angler.”
Brandon Cobb, a professional angler, recommends experimenting with different retrieval techniques and water levels until you find what works best for where you’re fishing. Each location requires different variations, but by following the tips above, you can add more dynamics to your presentation and increase your chances of catching bites. Happy fishing!
Troubleshooting Common Lipless Crankbait Fishing Problems
Getting Snagged and Losing Your Lure
One of the most frustrating problems when fishing with a lipless crankbait is getting snagged on underwater obstructions like rocks, weeds or stumps. Not only does it ruin your chance of catching fish but it can also cost you money in lost lures.
To avoid losing your lure, consider using heavier fishing line which will help to prevent breaks if it gets caught on something underwater. Another option is to switch to a weedless version of the lipless crankbait that has a specially designed hook to avoid getting tangled in vegetation.
If you do get stuck on an obstruction, try to carefully wiggle your rod to loosen the lure rather than pulling forcefully which could snap the line.
Another common problem when fishing with a lipless crankbait is missing strikes. This happens when the fish bites at the lure but fails to get hooked, leaving you empty handed despite feeling a tug on your line.
The first solution is to slow down your retrieve speed. Fish often miss the lure because they can’t keep up with the fast-moving bait. Slowing it down gives them more time to strike effectively. Additionally, you may need to make minor adjustments to your presentation by varying the depth, cadence and color of the lure to entice the fish further.
Another reason for missing strikes is incorrect hook size. Ensure that the hooks are sharp, have the right size depending on the type of fish, and are not dull as this can decrease its penetration power into the fish’s mouth.
“When a bass hits…most fishermen lose their mind. They set the hook too hard.” – Roland Martin
Learning when a fish is biting and how much pressure to apply upon hookset can prevent missed strikes. Try not to jerk the rod upward but instead use a smooth, steady upwards motion to set the hook quickly and firmly.Overall, fishing with lipless crankbait requires some expertise, careful tactics and patience for success. By troubleshooting common problems such as getting snagged or missing strikes, you will have a better chance of reeling in those elusive fish that lie beneath the depths.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a Lipless Crankbait?
A lipless crankbait is a fishing lure that doesn’t have a diving lip, but it still has a fat, rounded body with a flat head and a thin tail. It’s designed to imitate a fleeing baitfish when retrieved through the water.
What kind of fish can be caught with a Lipless Crankbait?
Lipless crankbaits can be used to catch a variety of fish species, including largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, walleye, pike, and musky. They are especially effective in clear water and around weed beds.
What is the best time of year to use a Lipless Crankbait?
Lipless crankbaits can be used year-round, but they are most effective in the spring and fall when the water temperature is between 50-70 degrees Fahrenheit. During this time, fish are more active and are more likely to feed on baitfish.
What kind of rod and reel should be used when fishing with a Lipless Crankbait?
A medium-heavy or heavy spinning or baitcasting rod with a fast action is recommended for fishing with lipless crankbaits. A reel with a high gear ratio and a smooth drag system is also important to quickly retrieve the lure and set the hook on a fish.
What are some tips for fishing with a Lipless Crankbait?
Some tips for fishing with lipless crankbaits include varying the retrieve speed and cadence, using a stop-and-go retrieve, and bouncing the lure off underwater structures. It’s also important to match the color of the lure to the water conditions and the type of fish you’re targeting.