Lip Lingo

Crankbaits Talk Smack and Catch Monster Limits Doing It

FSF Staff October 25, 2015

The crankbait is a staple with experienced bass fishermen. With a simple retrieve, the bait naturally wobbles and rolls to portray its lifelike profile and color pattern, and usually elicits violent strikes. An advantage to throwing a crankbait is the amount of ground an angler can cover, especially when bass are holding in deep cover on large expanses of open water. It’s for this reason crankbaits are often referred to as scout baits.

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XCalibur Silent Square Lip

Crankbaits catch bass in any type of water, calm or choppy, and from dawn till dusk. These fabulous freshwater fakes feature built-in action designed to function when the angler simply retrieves the lure. This is a reaction bait—bass commit because it appears the prey is escaping.

The depth at which a crankbait will run depends on many factors, including line diameter, lure design and speed of retrieve. However, the most influential feature of any crankbait is its lip, and fully understanding when to throw which crankbait is what separates the pro in the front of the boat from the amateur in the back. While the size of the lip certainly influences how deep the lure will swim, the angle at which the lip is attached to the lure also plays a role, in addition to the precise shape of the lip. As a rule, lures with large and long lips dive deep, while those with small and narrow lips run closer to the surface. Flat lips create a tighter action that easily deflects structure, while lips with a pronounced curve tend to wobble more. One universal aspect is that crankbaits are contact lures, meaning they are best fished by bumping the bottom and bouncing off stumps and logs while running it through or next to a variety of dense cover.

There are as many choices in crankbaits as there are bass fishermen, with countless variations and innovations ideally suited for nearly any depth. To be properly prepared for any freshwater venue, it makes perfect sense to carry an assortment of lipped crankbaits so you’ll be ready for any scenario. The follow selection will certainly keep you connected.

Crankbait Tips

1. Employ an erratic retrieve
2. Tune the lure to track straight
3. Strong, razor sharp hooks are essential
4. Reel in to the strike to set the hook
5. Concentrate on speed and depth control
6. Frequently inspect your line above the lure
7. Fish bright crankbaits that make plenty of commotion
8. The right crankbait rod will have a relatively slow action
9. Hold your rod tip low and off to the side for increased sensitivity

In general, crankbaits run deeper when fished slowly on light line with long casts. To achieve the greatest level of control, experienced freshwater fishermen turn to at least a 10 lb. test monofilament with high stretch characteristics because bass are less likely to throw the small treble hooks. Alternatively, there is a class of anglers who only throw crankbaits on braid, believing it drives the hooks home. In either case, for best results baitcasters with a gear ratio of 4:1 to 5:1 are ideal.

Crankbaits are especially effective around wind swept points with gravel bottom. They are also deadly when bounced off submerged boulders, heavy timber, stumps and logs. Crankbaits are also an excellent choice in the vicinity of drop-offs and ledges with varying depth. However, they are not well suited for fishing heavy vegetation, although many anglers do well cranking them over the top of submerged grass beds.

 

XCalibur

Silent Square Lip
Model: XCS10024
Body Length: 2 in.
Weight: 0.5 oz.
Max. Swim Depth: 3 ft.
Finish: Black Chartreuse
Website: xcaliburtackle.com
MSRP: $6.99

Design
The Silent Square Lip’s wide wobble and semi-roll triggers vicious strikes from finicky bass, while its paddle design prompts it to bump and run off cover. The lure’s impressive buoyancy backs the bait out of trouble while etched scales resemble the real deal.

Features
Super stealthy with no rattle
Designed by bass pros Alton Jones, Edwin Evers and Timmy Horton

 

Storm

Arashi

Model: ASQS03612
Length: 2.12 in. Weight: 0.5 oz.
Max. Swim Depth: 3 ft.
Finish: Hot Blue Shad
Website: stormlures.com
MSRP: $8.99

Design
The square circuit board lip designed for increased deflection makes the Arashi a perfect match for contacting structure. The Arashi starts descending at slow speeds and quickly reaches its maximum diving depth of 3 feet, remaining in that range through the retrieve.

Features
Self-tuning line tie features a free moving design that keeps the lure tracking true
Rotated hook hangers nest the hooks close to the body for improved action

 

Mann’s Bait Company

Baby 1-Minus

Model: SB413
Body Length: 2.5 in. Weight: 0.25 oz.
Max. Swim Depth: 1 ft.
Finish: Tennessee Shad
Website: mannsbait.com
MSRP: $5.79

Design
With its tiny lip, the Baby 1-Minus is made to fish ultra shallow water. This is the lure that gave Mann’s Bait Co. ownership of the top 12 inches of the water column and make it the number one super shallow tournament winning crankbait for over 20 years!

Features
Slow retrieve results in lure running just below the surface, while a fast retrieve will drive the lure to a maximum depth of 12 inches
Red eyes create a wounded bait appeal big bass can’t resist

 

LIVETARGET

Threadfin Shad

Model: TSB60S804
Length: 2.37 in. Weight: 0.5 oz.
Max. Swim Depth: 4 ft.
Finish: Pearl/Gray
Website: livetargetlures.com
MSRP: $15.99

Design
Why present a single bait when you can create the illusion of multiple baits? With a mid-size square lip designed for increased deflection in the most active level of the water column—3 to 4 feet below the surface—the LIVETARGET Bait Ball Series does just that.

Features
ICAST 2013 New Product Showcase Winner
An ideal crankbait when bass are feeding on juvenile shad

 

Bagley

Balsa B

Model: BB3
Body Length: 3 in.
Weight: 0.56 oz.
Max. Swim Depth: 3 ft.
Finish: BSO
Website: bagleybait.com
MSRP: $9.39

Design
The Balsa B claims to be the original balsa badass—super buoyant, unstoppable, built to raid timber and pull shoulder-wrenching bass right out of their holes. The square lip slips through junk, teasing fish until they have to strike. Designed for big bass in heavy cover, scale up your tackle and throw the Balsa B right into timber.

Features
Work through dense branches, letting the lure deflect and float where it pulses like a nervous baitfish
Credited with four Bassmaster Classic wins

 

Bomber

Model A

Model: BO6ATS
Body Length: 2.12 in.
Weight: n/a
Max. Swim Depth: 8 ft.
Finish: Tennessee Shad
Website: bomberlures.com
MSRP: $5.99

Design
If you were limited to only one crankbait, you’d do well making it a Model A. Its timeless design, workhorse durability and true-running dependability define the meaning of a go-to lure. With a maximum diving depth of 8 feet, the Model A is an ideal lure for covering large swaths of open water.

Features
Armed with razor sharp Excalibur TX3 hooks
Excellent multi-species lure available in more than 30 different finishes

 

Lucky Craft

Pointer

Model: 78SP
Body Length: 3 in.
Weight: 0.37 oz.
Max. Swim Depth: 5 ft.
Finish: Sexy Chartreuse Shad
Website: luckycraft.com
MSRP: $15.99

Design
The Pointer has been designed with a relatively small lip, yet its slim profile allows the shad-body lure to easily penetrate the water column. Rather than a steady retrieve, the Pointer is extremely effective when worked below the surface with an erratic walk-the-dog action.

Features
Internal brass weights create a low center of gravity and keep the bait directly in the strike zone
The Pointer wobbles and vibrates when retrieving motion is paused

 

Rapala

Scatter Rap

Model: SSCRC-05
Body Length: 2 in.
Weight: 0.31 oz.
Max. Swim Depth: 5 ft.
Finish: Helsinki Shad
Website: rapala.com
MSRP: $9.29

Design
Rapala’s new Scatter Rap lip has taken the bass fishing industry by storm. An ideal lure for Florida lakes and ponds with an average depth of 5 to 10 feet, the Scatter Rap features an exaggerated curvature in its wide and broad lip, resulting in an aggressive, evasive and erratic action lunkers aren’t familiar with.

Features
Scatter Rap is manufactured of balsa wood
Strong VMC black nickel hooks for reliable connections

 

Jackall

Soul Shad

Model: 68SP
Body Length: 2.7 in.
Weight: 0.31 oz.
Max. Swim Depth: 6 ft.
Finish: SS Shad
Website: jackall-lures.com
MSRP: $14.99

Design
Jackall brings a new style of crankbait to the U.S. A hybrid between a jerkbait and a crankbait, this slick lure features a slim profile and exaggerated diving lip that enables it to be fished with a steady crankbait retrieve, or with a more erratic jerkbait type of retrieve. Let the fish decide!

Features
Slim body design results in improved hook sets
Specially designed magnetic weight moving system increases casting distance

 

Livingston

Dive Master

Model: #14 Body Length: 3 in.
Weight: 0.62 oz.
Max. Swim Depth: 14 ft.
Finish: XXX Shad
Website: livingstonlures.com
MSRP: $11.99

Design
With a monster lip and massive profile, the DM 14 is a big fish bait designed to reach depths few crankbaits can achieve. This is the lure to toss when big bucketmouths stage in deepwater structure well past the double-digit mark.

Features
Internal LEDs illuminate eyes to a glowing bright red
Electronic croaking sound provides an unfair advantage

 

SPRO

Little John DD

Model: SLJD70SPN
Body Length: 2.7 in.
Weight: 0.75 oz.
Max. Swim Depth: 20 ft.
Finish: Spooky Nasty
Website: spro.com
MSRP: $12.53

Design
The new Little John Deep Diving crankbait was designed by John Crews to be the best ultra deep diving crankbait ever created! Pros claim the DD dives deeper, casts farther and fishes easier than any other deep diver. A unique tungsten weight transfer system and aerodynamic design make this deep diver simple to cast and retrieve.

Feature
Huge profile designed to entice monster bass from their lairs
Massive lip nearly as long as the bait digs up to 20 ft. below the surface

 

Strike King

X D

Model: HC3XD-590
Body Length: 2 in.
Weight: 0.43 oz.
Max. Swim Depth: 12 ft.
Finish: Sexy Shad
Website: strikeking.com
MSRP: $6.29

Design
With a huge lip sporting a uniquely curved bill, the Xtra Deep version of Strike King’s Series 3 is perfectly balanced to create a steep dive angle, enabling this small bait to dive faster and deeper than crankbaits of similar size.

Feature
Large 3D eyes and flashy metal flake finish screams “eat me”
Integrated flat surfaces send out shockwaves bass feel from great distances

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