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How To Fish Lipless Cranks

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Okay so I'll make it quick..I'm on and off with crankbaits..I really like the kvd squarebills but I'm curious about the lipless cranks..I know they more less sink or swim however you want then too but I'm curious how people are liking them and just to make sure do they just swim at whatever depth you retrieve them?

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Get some Strike King Red Eye Shad. I was like you, and wasn't really committed to throwing lipless cranks, but these really work great. They have a flutter when they fall that drive bass nuts. Cast them out, let them fall to your desired depth and then rip them on the retrieve and repeat.

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Mine is a love/hate relationship with lipless cranks. There have been times when they've saved the day, frustrated me, caught the most fish, frustrated me, caught the biggest fish, oh yea, and frustrated me.

My frustration comes from lost fish. I have more fish come unbuttoned on lipless cranks than any other treble hooked lure I've ever used. That said, I keep throwing them because they trigger some of the hardest, aggressive strikes I've experienced in bass fishing, they can load your livewell in no time when you get into active fish, and can get a school of fish fired up when nothing else will.

They can be run at a constant depth, but like a spinnerbait, it takes a little work on your part. Aside from experimenting in a swimming pool (don't have one, you?), it's a trial and error learning curve. And like spinnerbaits, there are times for different retrieves. One of my favorite is similar to stroking a jig and I do it with braid. I don't loose many fish with this particular presentation as they hit on the fall and more often than not, that whole bait is in their mouth.

Add a couple to your tackle box and don't limit their use to spring and fall. Just like spinnerbaits and lipped cranks, they'll catch fish all season.

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I love lipless baits, don't really have a big problem with losing too many fish. Switching the stock hooks to short shank hooks seems to help since it keeps the bait from swinging as much when a fish jumps and headshakes. I'm a big fan of the Xcaliber XR50 and XRK50 baits, they just produce better for me than any others I've used. The Strike King RES is a good bait too but it seems like I catch way more whites and wipers than I do bass with them. This time of year is prime time of year for lipless baits. I like the versatility of the baits and the ability to fish them at almost any depth.

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There are many selections of lipless crankbaits, starting with the Rat-L-Trap and moving up the money ladder.

Lipless crankbaits can catch fish all year. However, I have found they work best when you need a tighter wobble. This will occur in water temperatures between 45* and 60*.

There is a rainbow of colors for you to consider. I boil my colors to:

Shad in the area - silver, chrome with blue back for bright skies and black back for cloudy skies.

Sunfish and Bluegill in the area - chartreuse with a blue or a black back.

Crawfish in the area - brown, orange and red.

You may also want to change the manufacturer's hooks for sharper points. Some of the pros change out the front hook to a size larger. Others remove the rear hook to make the bait hang up less in grass and weeds.

The secret of throwing any crankbait is to hit your target as many times as you can. With the standard cranks with lips they can deflect off the wood and structure and cause a reaction strike. With a lipless crankbait you always take the chance of getting hung up.

So what else can you do if you think you will get hung up with a lipless crankbait? Change your retrieve. Go faster. Stop and go. Add a jerk. Add a pause. Go slower. Rip them out of the grass and weeds. Use the bottom to change directions. All with the understanding that you can get and will get hung up using a lipless crankbait.

Getting hung up and losing your lipless cranks is part of the game. To minimize losing them you may want to throw them into open water.

May I suggest investing in a few sizes of the Rat-L-Traps or the lowest priced lipless cranks you can find and practice with them to learn all about then and their characteristics. Throw the lighter ones of a spinning rig and the heavier ones on a baitcaster.

Let us know how you did and how many you lost!!!!

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Papajoe, yes, you can get unbuttoned with a lipless crankbait easily.

What I have found is that you have to 1) keep your line tight at all times and 2) never point the rod tip at the fish when landing it.

Any slack in the line means the bass will throw the lipless crankbait. This is why having good quality hooks is a must and the pros change out their treble hooks to ones they have confidence.

It is just like fishing a Sammy and the bass throws it, too. Drives you crazy thinking how you can lose a bass throwing six sharp barbs at them!!!

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I don't really have a problem with losing fish with lipless baits. I just really sharpen the hooks good before I use the bait. I also like to use a rod with some backbone like a med. heavy or heavy.

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The Red Eyed Shad has quickly become my favorite. When fishing from a jon boat you can hear the rattles amplified through the hull. On the Red Eye, I can actually hear it going click, click, click as it falls. These lures, IMO, are at their best in deep water. I like to work them like a worm.

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Some great information in this thread. I love my Red eyes and Spro Aruku shads. I always have one or the other tied on. My favorite technique is ripping them through grass beds. For this a MH rod and braid rules.

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My favorite hardbait since it is so versatile. Sam gave a great summary above. I've caught (as of this morning) 299 fish so far this year on lipless cranks - including my PB LMB of 9.54lbs. Great baits - you just have to have confidence in them...

And Sam, I've lost about 40-50 lipless cranks over the last 3 seasons - and 3 in the last week alone... :lol:

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Thanks everyone..I may get a red eye shad strike king and a few if those cotton Cordell chrome rattle traps for now to practice with..I think there only about 2$

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I really like fishing a lipless crank. My favorites are the academy, ex caliber, sk, and cordell super spot. All bill lewis ratltraps need to have the hook replaced or bent around a little, stock and they lose to many fish. I was watching a fishinh show and the pro recommended bending the hooks almost like a circle hook, I've not notice any negative to doing this, but the fish stay buttoned better. The academy are a excaliber clone but also shimmy on the fall like sk red eye Shads do.

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Lipless cranks flat out catch bass. The old standbys of Rat L Traps and Super Spots still bag the fish, though I love the shimmy of the red eye shad on the fall. I lose more fish on them when I'm ripping them out of the grass with braid and a graphite rod, but sometimes thats the only way to trigger bites when the conditions are tough. A good fiberglass rod and monofilament will help keep them buttoned too.

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Sorry if I gave you guys the worng impression about my fish coming unbuttoned. My frustration is not with the hooks, it's with the way many of those fish are hooked, on a single hook near the outside of the mouth. I don't see that much fishing cranks or my favorite topwater and I'll switch things up a little with them if I do. With lipless cranks about the only change I can make is to a smaller bait, but that smaller bait will run shallower. Hence my frustration. I've gone to a softer, overall action rod and use mono to give them a better chance at getting the bait and not just the rear treble in their mouth, but have to revert to the M/H and braid when ripping them off the weeds.

As I said; it's a love/hate thing with me. The good thing is I love them a lot more than I hate 'em.

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If you like lipless cranks, you'll like blade baits like Heddon sonars. You can adj. the wobble tight or wide by the 3 position setting. Like a lipless you can cover a lot of water and diff. depths. been working well for me.

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I like lipless cranks, I use them to target redfin/golden perch/flathead. I use the River2Sea or Rapala ones, and I have lost a few fish, including what would've been my PB golden, only for it to shake the hooks just before landing.

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Lipless cranks are killer baits throughout the year if utilized properly. I have a dedicated rod for 1/2 Traps and SK Red Eye Shad that I throw almost every trip. I am most successfull when casting them out, letting sink to desired depth and then a steady retrieve with 2 quick jerks of the rod. Sometimes I get strikes just burning them back to the boat without even a twitch. Like always it depends on what the fish are wanting though. Some people let them touch bottom in 15 FOW and rip it up and let it flutter back down.

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Paint durability wise which brands are better?

I have SK RES and only 5 fish the piant is like half gone. Thinking about just getting a can of chrome paint and touching it up.

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SK baits have horrible paint durability. I've got some Academy lures that have held up amazingly well, but most of my SK lures are chipped or peeling after very little use. SK needs to texture the lure before painting them so the paint will stick.

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I love using lipless crank. Being a newbie to the sport, I find that even when not catching fish, it keeps me entertained lol but it actually catches fish and at times, is the only thing that bass will hit. My buddies are starting to be believers as they only fish worms and jigs. When fishing is slow I'm casting LC and catching bass. They then take out their lipped crankbaits out and try a few cast with no luck and switch back to jigs and just watch me. I target areas where about 4-8 feet deep and just off the weed lines, can't throw them in thick weeds anyways. Yes I have lost a few fish but the trade off is that you cover more ground.

As for the Strike King, horrible paint durability. They catch fish too but after about 10 fish the paint is all chipped. I am sure I'm not hitting rock bottoms as it's all weeded bottoms. My favorite that seems like many people don't really use yet as they are newer is the Rapala Rippin Rap. My favorite color is the gold chrome. Seems to out fish any other color and even the Strike King. I even take it to the river and get smallies, walleyes, and a huge sheap head that I have no idea how that mouth could go after a bait like that lol.

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Oh and this is the retrieve that has been working best for me. They really do hit right when the the CB drop. Keep the line tight at all times, that's the key. Forward to 2:25 for the retrieve I like to use that KVD is showing.

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If you like lipless cranks, you'll like blade baits like Heddon sonars. You can adj. the wobble tight or wide by the 3 position setting. Like a lipless you can cover a lot of water and diff. depths. been working well for me.

Started using blade baits last year and love them. The vibration is awesome and the flutter on a drop is hard to beat. Popping them off the bottom and letting them flutter like a spoon works great in really cold water and working them faster like a lipless crank can be deadly on more active fish. They are a killer walleye bait too.

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Started using blade baits last year and love them. The vibration is awesome and the flutter on a drop is hard to beat. Popping them off the bottom and letting them flutter like a spoon works great in really cold water and working them faster like a lipless crank can be deadly on more active fish. They are a killer walleye bait too.

One of the most versatile lures around IMO.

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If you like lipless cranks, you'll like blade baits like Heddon sonars. You can adj. the wobble tight or wide by the 3 position setting. Like a lipless you can cover a lot of water and diff. depths. been working well for me.

I almost always have a lipless crankbait tied on one rod. IMHO, the best search bait there is.

I use the Sonar type lures a lot too. A little different action than most lipless cranks, but sometimes that's just what the fish want.

Tom

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