Best Lipless Crankbaits for 2022

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Best Lipless Crankbaits for 2022

Lipless crankbaits are simple lures that can be fished effectively by anglers of all skill levels. Beginners can cast one out and reel

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Lipless crankbaits are simple lures that can be fished effectively by anglers of all skill levels. Beginners can cast one out and reel it back and expect to see results, while more advanced anglers know that bouncing them off rocks and switching up retrieve speeds generate even more bites. It all starts with choosing the best lipless crankbait for the particular job at hand. One that works in super-shallow water might not excel when bass are suspended deeper, and one that’s great in submerged grass might not be as good around timber or rocks. Here’s a lineup of lipless crankbaits that you shouldn’t leave home without:

Best Lipless Crankbait for Burning: Berkley Warpig

Key Features

  • ¼ and ½ ounce sizes
  • Fusion19 treble hooks
  • Thin body 
  • High-pitched rattle

Why It Made the Cut

This is the best lipless crankbait for burning because it has a natural shad shape, and it runs true when reeled fast or slow.

Pros

  • Blunt nose bounces off cover
  • Runs true at any speed
  • Variety of desirable color patterns

Cons

Product Description

Berkley reentered the hard-bait game with a vengeance several years ago, and while topwaters like the Choppo made an immediate impact, the Warpig flew under the radar. That’s a shame, because it catches fish and is easy to work. It draws in strikes with a high-pitched, loud rattle. It’s profile has a deeper belly than many other lipless crankbaits. The Warpig can be burned, killed, yo-yoed, or hopped, and it’ll always remains upright, ready for your next direction.

Best Lipless Crankbait for Generating Bites on the Fall: Strike King Red Eye Shad

Key Features

  • Weight: 1/4 , ½, and ¾ ounce 
  • Length: 2 ¼, 2, ⅝, 3 inches
  • Free-floating rattles
  • 26 colors

Why It Made the Cut

The Strike King Red Eye is best for generating bites on the fall because it imitates a dying baitfish and thrives in shallow water.

Pros

  • Shimmies like a soft plastic stickbait on the fall
  • Signature color patterns 
  • Easy to work shallow to deep water 

Cons

  • No floating or suspending version available

Product Description

Kevin VanDam introduced this lure to the world when he used it to win the 2010 Bassmaster Classic on Alabama’s Lay Lake. Retrieved steadily, the Red Eye Shad looks like a standard lipless crankbait. The real magic happens when you pause or “kill” it—at that point, it does a death shimmy reminiscent of a dying baitfish, which looks like an easy meal for a bass. Fish that are following or lying in wait will be triggered to bite. Strike King has added a “Tungsten 2 Tap” version for a different sound profile in recent years. 

A gold best lipless crankbait

Key Features

  • 2.75 inches
  • 3/8 ounce
  • Suspends at rest
  • Quality hardware

Why It Made the Cut

The IMA Suspending Vibration is the best suspending lipless crankbait because it’s the one I reach for when fish demand a dead stop to trigger bites.

Pros

  • Quality Japanese hooks
  • Tight, pulsing action
  • Marries best qualities of lipless crankbaits and jerkbaits

Cons

Product Description

Japanese manufacturer IMA took the basic shape of their popular Rock-N-Vibe lipless crankbait and increased the size while decreasing the weight to make it suspend perfectly. It acts like many other lures in its class on a straight retrieve but comes to a sudden and abrupt stop when you pause or kill it. That pause gives hesitant fish that are unwilling to leave their territory extra time to make their decision.

Key Features

  • 4.1 inches
  • 1.3 ounces (slow floating) or 1.6 ounces (sinking)
  • Bluegill colors

Why It Made the Cut

Bigger bass sometimes demand a bigger lipless crankbait and that’s when I tie on the best magnum lipless crankbait, the Imakatsu Magnum. 

Pros

  • Super-lifelike color schemes
  • High-quality Japanese treble hooks
  • Hyper-realistic finned profile

Cons

Product Description

While the Magnum Gillsonic mimics a bluegill, it can be employed any time bass feed on larger forage—including gizzard shad, tilapia, and crappie. This is not just a larger lipless crankbait. Instead, it takes the styling and engineering normally found in expensive swimbaits and brings them to lipless crankbaits. It also features two different line ties to adjust the diving angle and an extra eyelet on the nose for adding weight to adjust the sink rate.

Key Features

  • 3 inches
  • 1/3 ounce
  • Dual-frequency rattle chambers

Why It Made the Cut

The Rat-L-Trap is the best floating crankbait because you can fish it over shallow cover without snagging. 

Pros

  • Can be fished high in the water column
  • Available in both traditional and “natural” color patterns
  • Proven baitfish shape

Cons

  • Efforts to weight the lure properly may take trial and error.

Product Description

The Bill Lewis Rat-L-Trap was one of the first popular lures in this category, and remains a staple for serious anglers today. What’s really impressive is how the company has expanded the lineup, creating dozens of productive colors and different sounds like the Knock-N-Trap. The floater has the same shape and sound as other Rat-L-Traps, but adds the ability to stay high in the water column. If you’re fishing shallow grass or other cover, this is the best lipless crankbait to tie on. It stays just above the cover, preventing snags and allowing you to fish cover effectively. If you want to fish the floating Rat-L-Trap a little deeper, you can add lead tape to make it sink slowly or suspend. 

Key Features

  • Available in ¼ and ½ ounce
  • 2 1/2 and 3 inches
  • #4 treble hooks
  • Multiple rattles

Why It Made the Cut

If you want the best budget lipless crankbait you can’t do better than the Cordell Super Spot. It’s a proven winner with a low price tag.

Pros

  • Casts extremely well
  • More buoyant than other lipless crankbaits
  • Effectiveness proven for decades

Cons

Product Description

Bass Fishing Hall of Famer Cotton Cordell designed and produced a number of legendary products, and one of them is this early lipless crankbait. Its design is both aerodynamic and hydrodynamic, which makes it easy to cast and work. Even though it’s got a relatively low price tag, it competes with its more expensive brethren on any given day.

A silver best lipless crankbait

Key Features

  • 1.5 inches
  • 3/15 ounce
  • Deep belly profile

Why It Made the Cut

Sometimes bass want a lipless snack rather than a lipless meal, and that’s when you go to the the Rapala Ultra Light Rippin’ Rap.

Pros

  • Loud BB rattle system
  • Distinctive hard vibrations
  • VMC Black Nickel hooks

Cons

  • May not appeal when bass are eating larger forage.

Product Description

Even on the big bass factories of Texas, Florida, and Mexico, sometimes the fish feed on smaller prey and aren’t tempted by large lures. That’s when this little Rippin’ Rap comes into play. It also shines in areas that receive a lot of fishing pressure. 

The Rippin’ Rap can be cast a country mile on conventional bass gear and maintains its posture whether it’s being burned, ripped, or hopped. Rapala’s legendary construction and tuning mean that this is a great choice in clear water, when fish are hunting by sight, or in stained environments when they’re relying on vibration to feed. You can also use this lipless crankbait to catch trout and panfish. 

How to Choose a Lipless Crankbait

Lipless crankbaits differ from one another not only in terms of size and shape but also in their sound profiles. The diameter and composition of the pellets inside determine whether they create a deep sound or something more shrill. While some contain many BBs, others have a single tungsten ball for the “one knock” sound. 

Choosing the right color depends on your conditions. The classic silver with a blue back is always a great choice. Natural baitfish colors are best for clear water. Red is best for early spring. Sometimes, when fish are pressured, it pays to get creative and try a color like bubble gum. 

Methodology

To whittle down the huge selection of lipless crankbaits, I did the following: I shook them to figure out the aggressiveness of their sounds. I banged them off rocks and dock poles to test their durability. I also used my years of fishing experience and covering professional bass fishing to make my selections. 

In the end, there are lots of really good options available, but these seven excelled more than others. No matter which style you prefer, make sure the hardware (line ties, eyelets, and treble hooks) is top-notch because these lures are notorious for losing jumping fish—especially the big ones.

FAQs

Q: What is the best color for a lipless crankbait?

The best color for a lipless crankbait is one that matches the dominant local forage, given the water clarity. In cleaner water, pick natural baitfish patterns, and in dirtier water, consider at least a touch of a fluorescent red, orange, or chartreuse. Bright reds are best in the spring, particularly on lakes and rivers with submerged aquatic vegetation, and traditional chrome with a blue or black back still produces just about everywhere.

Q: What is the best size lipless crankbait?

The best size lipless crankbait matches the baitfish in your local waters while still allowing you to fish the lure in the proper section of the water column. Most manufacturers make a ½ ounce model of approximately 3 inches, which is a good starting point. Go smaller or larger to account for variables, including depth and the size of the fish you’re catching.

Q: How deep do lipless crankbaits go?

Most lipless crankbaits sink, so in theory, you can let them fall to the bottom in any depth of water and then creep them back along the lake’s floor. In reality, however, they excel in shallower water, and that almost always means less than 10-feet deep and often less than 5-feet deep. Sometimes, particularly in clear water, fish want the lipless crankbait burned along the water’s surface, no matter what depth they’re holding in.

Read Next: The Color of Your Bait Matters If You Want to Catch Big Bass

Final Thoughts

No single lipless crankbait is the best for all situations. Depending on the fish’s mood and what they’re eating, two anglers fishing side by side with comparable but different lures may have wildly varying results. Fortunately for serious anglers, there are a wealth of lipless crankbaits available. By fine-tuning your choice of profile, sound, and color, it’s possible to find the one that triggers the most strikes from the biggest fish.

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