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Best Square Bill
Strike King KVD Square Bill
Bounce this lure off rocks, logs, and other structure in shallow water to draw strikes from pressured fish.
Rapala Rippin’ Rap
Loud, flashy, and perfect for covering water quickly.
Best Deep Diving
Bass Pro Shops XPS Lazer Eye
A great choice for fishing deep when bass retreat to cooler water during the summer.
If you want to start consistently catching bass, then you have to prepare for any type of situation that may arise. This means having lots of different baits and lures ready to go at a moment’s notice. You should always have a bass lure ready for whatever the day has in store, from soft plastics and finesse-style baits to topwater and weedless rigs. But if you don’t have a few different crankbaits for bass in your box, you might miss out on a lot of fish. Crankbaits come in a variety of types and sizes, designed to work in different conditions, habitats, and seasons. Dialing in on which piece of fishing gear work best for your water takes practice and experimentation. Here are five to get you started.
Best Square Bill: Strike King KVD Square Bill CrankbaitBest Rattling: Rapala Rippin’ Rap Rattling Lipless CrankbaitBest Deep Diving: Bass Pro Shops XPS Lazer Eye Deep Diver CrankbaitBest Lipless: Strike King Red Eyed Shad CrankbaitBest Budget: Bass Pro Shops Tourney Special Rattle Bait
Crankbaits Help You Locate Fish
Crankbaits are a useful and effective tool for bass anglers to have in their arsenal. These bass lures can be fished throughout most of the year. They are often one of the first lures I fish when exploring new areas. They allow you to cover water fast and hopefully produce a bite so you can dial in your strategy.
I like to throw them when I begin fishing new water that I haven’t patterned yet. It is a good moving bait that allows you to cover large stretches of water at specific depths. They help you cover areas fast so you can find fish and focus in on a pattern.
Square Bill, Lipless, and Deep Diving Options
Square bill crankbaits are designed to be fished in shallower water and to be bounced off the bottom. The erratic movement of the lure hitting structure will generate strikes from bass. You should fish them without concern of getting hung up; their square bills are designed to take a beating and help protect the hooks from snagging on rocks and sticks. This lure is perfect piece of fishing gear for fishing in 0 to 5 feet of water and in cover.
Lipless crankbaits are another option for shallow water, and they excel in areas with vegetation. Working the edges of cover offers the perfect opportunity to trigger a big bite. If your square bill isn’t getting it done, throw a lipless for a change of pace. You might pick up some weeds here and there, but bass will still crush them.
After the spawning season, deep diving crankbaits are an excellent option. Bass begin to move back out to deeper water after they spawn, and you will need a lure to get down into the strike zone. Deep diving baits have an elongated bill to get the lure deep in the water column. When the heat of the summer rolls around, break out the deep-diving baits and head to big water.
Best Square Bill: Strike King KVD Square Bill Crankbait
One of the best square bill crankbaits for shallow water situations.
The KVD square bill crankbait is a proven tournament winner. This bass lure is perfect for bouncing off of rocks and structure while providing excellent action. The silent design makes it ideal for skittish and pressured fish. Fish these lures in shallow water, around rocks, woody debris, and above weed beds.
Best Rattling: Rapala Rippin’ Rap Rattling Lipless Crankbait
Make a ruckus in the water and let every bass know where the food is.
When you’re looking to draw attention to your lure, noise and commotion are key. The vibrating BBs inside this bait send a disturbance throughout the water column, attracting bass in the area. This lure is a perfect piece of fishing gear to use when you want to cover water quickly. If you don’t know where the fish are holding, you can cast them to likely places and burn them back to the boat. Once you draw a couple of strikes, consider switching to a less flashy presentation.
Best Deep Diving Crankbait: Bass Pro Shops XPS Lazer Eye Deep Diver Crankbait
The go-to bait for when the bass is down deep.
Bass Pro Shops
This long-billed deep diving bait is perfect for those hot summer days when all the bass are down deep. The realistic paint pattern combined with loud rattling makes this lure irresistible for bass. Get your bait down deep and in the strike zone when the water temps start to rise.
Best Lipless: Strike King Red Eyed Shad Crankbait
Fish effectively in shallow water from 0 to 7 feet.
If one of the best bass anglers of all time, Kevin VanDam, recommends a bait, there’s a good chance it will catch a few fish. This lure is good to throw along weed edges and in shallow water. It is a brightly colored fishing lure with a loud rattle to trigger aggressive bites.
Best Budget: Bass Pro Shops Tourney Special Rattle Bait
You don’t need fancy lures to catch fish. Bass Pro Shops
Spending $10 on one lure can take a toll on your wallet, especially when you have to constantly replace lost baits. This Bass Pro Shops bait is a classic design that will always catch bass. For a couple of bucks, you can’t go wrong with its durable and detailed design.
Q: How do I choose a crankbait?
To choose the right crankbait, consider a few factors like water depth, time of year, and water temperature. When the water is cooler during prespawn and early spring, square bills will be your go-to in shallow water and around structure. When the summer months roll around and the water begins to heat up, bass will move out deeper to find cooler temps. This is when deep diving baits will come in handy and get you in the game with those bass down in the water column.
Q: How deep do lipless crankbaits go?
Lipless baits are incredibly versatile because they can cover a good range of depths. You can fish them in inches of water or in 8 to 10 feet. Once you begin to get deeper than 10 feet, you will want a bait with a lip to get down further.
Q: What is the best color crankbait?
Finding the best color lure is relative to the area you fish. It’s smart to “match the hatch” and pick a color and pattern based on baitfish in your area. On Lake Erie, I like to use baits that resemble gobies, an invasive species that bass feed on. If you don’t have anything to particularly match, then try flashy colors that will draw attention. I often find red is a productive color when nothing else is working.
Experiment With Crankbaits to Locate More Bass
Crankbaits are one of the most popular lures for a reason, and it’s worth putting in the time to understand how to fish them. It’s not as simple as picking up any old bait and making a cast. Each crankbait is useful for a different situation, and when you begin to recognize where to fish them, your days on the water will be even better. Try out different styles this season and push yourself to improve your skills.