Lipless Crankbait Tackle
Fishing a lipless crankbait is a great way to quickly cover a lot of water, especially around short grass. It can be a fun and easy way to catch a lot of fish if you have the right tackle.
One of the most important factors is that lipless crankbaits are often fished around debris such as grasses and branches. With the wrong gear, you're bound to spend way too much time pulling plants off your treble hooks. Fish are also easily spooked when a clump of weeds is towed behind a presentation.
There are many great lipless crankbait options for bass fishing. Fortunately, they all have a fairly similar profile and can be fished the same way.
This guide will discuss the best rods, reels, and fishing line types to help you catch more fish with lipless crankbaits. See our guide to the best bass fishing rods for a full review of the top fishing rods.
Serious anglers with higher budgets will benefit by owning multiple lipless crankbait rods for different situations and techniques.
The two most common lipless crankbait situations are in open-water environments with short aquatic plants and around heavy grasses in the summertime. We'll discuss two rods that match these conditions.
A common trait between both rods is that they have higher stiffness ratings, allowing anglers to pump their rod to clean their bait off while being retrieved. This is the most important quality as it makes casting far more efficient and allows you to cover water much faster.
Open Water Fishing
The best style of rod for open water lipless crankbait fishing is a 7-foot fiberglass pole. This applies when targeting both smallmouth and largemouth bass.
We recommend these dimensions and materials because fiberglass rods have a softer tip, giving anglers more leverage to set the treble hooks in the fish's mouth.
One of the most popular lipless crankbait rods is the Dobyns Fury Series Casting Rod. This is a great option because it's made of fiberglass but built with a carbon fiber rod's strength and durability. These rods bend a ton and really allow you to play the fish all the way back to the shore or boat.
Heavy Summer Grasses
Summertime is great for lipless crankbait fishing. The grasses get thicker, and big bass are on the hunt for small, darting baitfish. In these conditions, a 7'4" heavy-fast action graphite rod will give you the power to rip a lipless crankbait through the weeds without getting tangled.
A great model with these specs is found in the KastKing Perigee II Series. These rods have a really nice tip and are heavy enough to rip baits clean-out of heavy grasses. If you use anything with more give, such as a fiberglass rod, you'll end up pulling out an entire clump of vegetation with your lure.
The key to fishing lipless baits is to intentionally get stuck in grasses and rip your lure out quickly. Weeds will fall away from your hooks, and it's one of the best ways to trigger a reaction strike.
Best Line for Lipless Crankbaits
Choosing the right line for lipless crankbait fishing is extremely simple. Many line types will work, so this shouldn't be your main focus when designing your setup.
The one type of line that never fails to catch fish is P-Line's 15lb Fluorocarbon. It transfers vibrations really well and makes lipless cranks vibrate in just the right way. This line is also more responsive and helps you keep the bait in the right depth range.
Baitcasting Reels & Gear Ratio
The most important thing to consider when looking for a lipless crankbait reel is the gear ratio. Faster retrieval speeds create a tight swimming action and anglers who fish a slow reel quickly wear themselves out.
A reel with perfect gear ratio for lipless crankbaits is the Pflueger President XT Low Profile Reel. Its ratio is 7:3:1 and retrieves 31" of line per rotation of the handle. In particular, this model has a super smooth 9 ball bearing system, and rubber knobs allow for excellent grip. It's also hard to ignore the sleek and futuristic design of the body.
There's nothing better than this reel. We have a guide to the best rods for the President XT Baitcaster that can be read for more information.
Bait Sizes and Depth Ranges
In general, you don't want to fish lipless crankbaits all that deep. They have better performance higher in the water column where there's more life and aquatic plant life. The only time you'd ever want to fish in 20 to 30 feet of water is if the fish are schooling near the surface.
Focus on depths between 2 and 7 feet. This is where bass hunt the smaller baitfish hiding in the grasses along the shoreline. We'll discuss the different sized lipless cranks to throw in this water column.
5ft - 7ft (Larger Sizes)
When casting in waters that are 5 to 7 feet in depth, you can get away with throwing a larger lipless crank. Anything between 1/2 and 3/4 ounces is ideal and will best match the baitfish size in this region.
The most popular bait of this size is Rat-L-Trap's 3/4 Ounce Lure. It hammers fish year-round, especially in the red and color pattern. We have a detailed guide to the best Rat-L-Trap colors for more information.
2ft - 5ft (Smaller Sizes)
In depths between 2 and 5 feet, a smaller bait is usually more effective. This is especially true if you haven't scouted the lake and don't know the local baitfish' size. Anything between 1/2 and 1/4 ounces is generally very effective.
The Rat-L-Trap 1/4 Ounce Mini Trap is the most popular bait of this size. If you don't already own a small lipless crankbait in blue, chrome, and orange, give this bait a try. Make sure to rip it fast in shallow waters to get the fish's attention. In these depths, bass have a limited range of sight, and a darting action is much more enticing.