Lipless crankbaits can be some of the most effective bass fishing lures that are sure to catch fish when used in the right circumstance. The lipless crankbait is one of the easiest lures to fish with and it also allows anglers to use a wide variety of retrieval methods to entice fish to bite.
In this article, we’ll detail some of our favorite picks for the best lipless crankbait options and include a buyer’s guide that should help you select the one that’s just right for your own needs.
Best Lipless Crankbaits: Top picks
tungsten weight that allows it to easily sink when you need it to. This weight makes it possible to let the lure sink once you reach a section of water that has cover or structure along the bottom to better reach any fish that might be hiding out in these areas.
This lure is one of the most realistic-looking options you’ll find in today’s fishing industry. It features a number of BB’s inside the lure’s body that helps to create greater amount of rattling and noise as it’s retrieved. The realistic look makes it easy to get bites from hungry fish that are prowling the shallows looking for their next meal.
This lure is specially designed to sink quickly and maintain the tight wobbling action it has as it sinks. This lets you pick up bites at any time when you’re fishing in deeper water and letting the lure sink down to its desired depth.
Best Lipless Crankbaits: Full Reviews
The Strike King Red Eye Shad is one of the most popular lipless crankbaits on the market for plenty of reasons. It’s a lure that is famous for being able to catch big fish and often draws bass out of the deep water or shallow flats to strike at this highly-realistic lure. The Red Eye Shad lipless crankbait has a distinctly tight wobble that grabs the attention of bass, as well as walleye and other fish species.
- Tight wobble
- Wide assortment of colors
- Highly versatile lure
The Rapala Rippin Rap is an excellent lipless crankbait that is made with a distinct design that sets it apart from most other types of lipless crankbaits. It offers a higher profile, which works to give the lure more of a darting motion when it’s twitched and jerked through the water during retrieval. It comes in a variety of sizes and color patterns along with a heavier rattle that helps catch bass in muddy or murky water.
- Higher profile
- Variety of sizes
- Heavy rattle
The Jackall TN-50 lipless crankbait is one of our favorites when it comes to lures that are capable of mimicking a live bait fish or shad. This lure's RT Scale Minnow color is a legendary version that many bass fisherman should have in their tackle box for just the right occasion.
It's more expensive than most other lipless crankbaits, but features a tungsten mouth that makes the lure stand straight up when it's on the bottom, which makes it closely resemble a small bait fish feeding along the bottom.
- Tungsten mouth
- Increased vibration and sound
- Incredibly realistic appearance
When it comes to highly-effective lipless crankbaits that work exceptionally well when fished deeper in the water column, it's hard to beat the Yo-Zuri 3DB Vibe Sinking Lure. This is one of our favorite lipless baits as it offers a sinking action that helps you get down to the depths where fish might be during cold winter days or even hot summer months.
This is a must-have lure for bass fishing and works very much like a dinner bell for hungry bass that want to devour a lone shad that comes their way.
- Sinking action
- Variety of different sizes and colors
- Multiple BB's produce higher pitched rattle
The Rat-L-Trap was first invented by famous angler Bill Lewis and is easily one of the most well-known lipless crankbait varieties in existence. This is one of those baits that's considered to be legendary when it comes to bass fishing, but it's also capable of catching other species of fish as well. It can be fished in a variety of retrieval methods that include the yo-yo method, as well as twitching and jerking or a steady retrieve.
- Ideal fall lure for catching bass
- Closely resembles baitfish or small shad
- Can be fished with different technique depending on the scenario
The Warpig is another clear addition to our list of the best lipless crankbait options you’ll find in today’s fishing industry. Berkley fits these lures with some of the highest quality treble hooks to ensure that you won’t have any trouble hooking anything that bites this bait. The lure’s design helps it remain upright at all times, which makes this one perfect for a yo-yo retrieve close to and around underwater structure.
- Great for fishing with yo-yo method
- Very sharp and durable hooks
- Comes in many different colors for every occasion
Many professional anglers will agree that one of the overall best lipless crankbait lures you’ll find is the Lucky Craft Fishing Lure LV-500 Crank Bait. Among the many other lipless crankbaits you can choose, this one features numerous advantages such as multiple BBs inside that are designed to produce more sound and vibration as it runs through the water. The LV-500 Ghost Minnow Color and American Shad are one of the highest-selling lipless crankbaits in recent years.
- Multiple BB’s inside for greater noise
- Great for targeting big bass
- Outstanding lure for the fall and winter
One of the most unique lipless crankbait lures you’ll find in today’s market is the LiveTarget Yearling Baitball. This is one of our favorite lures as the name indicates its incredible design that is intended to resemble a small school of tiny baitfish. This is very useful for fishing in somewhat clear water as it will gain the attention of just about any type of fish that happens to be nearby.
- highly unique design and appearance
- Appeals to big bass
- Better in shallow water
This is one of those lipless crankbaits that might be the most underrated version of these lures in existence. It’s outstanding when it comes to fishing for virtually any predatory freshwater fish like bass, walleye, or even muskie as it has a very tight wobble when steadily retrieved, but can also look like a baitfish in distress when fished with a jerking or twitching motion. It features the distinct red gills that protrude out from the lure whereas other lipless crankbaits are made with flat sides.
- Very realistic appearance
- Tight, erratic wobble
- 3D red gills
Our list of the best lipless crankbaits wouldn’t quite be complete without mentioning the famous Cotton Cordell Super Spot lipless crank lures. These are among the handful of baits that have stood the test of time and are capable of working just as well as the more expensive versions of these lipless cranks. The Super Spot is perfect for fishing in or around heavy cover in virtually any type of water, including murky or clear environments.
- Sleek design
- Great for any scenario throughout the year
- Comes in a variety of color patterns
Lipless Crankbait Buyer’s Guide
When to Fish a Lipless Crankbait
Lipless crankbaits truly shine during the cooler months out of the year when fish are looking to chase down and eat schooling bait fish or shad. This is why lipless crankbaits work especially well in large lakes and reservoirs where bass usually target shad as their main food source once the water temperature cools off in the fall.
You can expect these small bait fish and shad to start schooling up and moving once the water reaches a temperature of about 50 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit in most areas.
What’s So Good About Lipless Crankbaits?
Most beginner or novice anglers think you are only able to fish a lipless crankbait with a steady retrieve. While this method is known to be effective in catching fish, you can truly unlock the potential of these lures by fishing them in a variety of techniques that include the yo-yo retrieve, a twitching or jerking motion, stop-and-go, and a variety of other tactics.
The lipless crankbait will flutter as it dives or when you pull up on your rod tip to bring it higher into the water column. It’s capable of enticing a fish to bite virtually anytime it’s in the water.
See also: The Best Crankbaits for Bass
Color Choice and Size
The most pivotal point you need to remember when it comes to fishing with lipless cranks is using the right color and size lure for each individual occasion. It’s important that you select a lure that has the same size and color pattern as the types of baitfish that bass or walleye will be feeding on in your particular lake or waterway. By doing this and making your lure resemble their actual target prey as closely as possible, you’ll give yourself a much better chance to catch the fish you’re after.
How to Fish a Lipless Crankbait
You can fish a lipless crankbait in open water around schools of baitfish or shad that also have bass chasing them. You won’t be able to spot this unless you have a good fish finder or electronics on your boat, but it’s highly effective.
You can also pitch the lipless crankbait around the shoreline to catch hungry bass that is looking for lone baitfish they can pick off for an easy meal. See here for our best crankbait fishing rods.
Fishing a lipless crankbait around any type of structure or cover is also a great strategy (see here for the best line choices for crankbait fishing). By casting the lure near grass, brush, or other underwater covers, you can attract bites from fish taking refuge in these areas.
See more info here on how to fish a crankbait.
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