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Lipless crank question

Gregg S

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Hey guys,

Here is a question from someone who has not used lipless/rattle trap type baits much:

Do you have to retrieve all of them fast to keep off the bottom? Do they sink to different depths, so that you can find a shallow runner to fish slower? Comments welcome.


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I've been fishing a lake that has a maximum depth of around 4 feet and the bottom is covered with vegetation. I've been using 1/4 and 1/2 ounce rattle baits. I really have to rip that 1/2 ounce bait back with a 7 to 1 speed baitcaster to keep it out of the weeds. If I pause at all, it grabs some green. I tried a 3/4 ounce but I couldn't crank it fast enough in water that shallow. The 1/4 ounce was easier but I did not have the color in that bait the fish were hitting on. The good thing is that the fish have no problem catching up with it. The speed may be why it has been working.

You have to develop a feel for how fast to crank to keep it running just over the top depending on the depth. Light lures can be run slower, but even in cold water, you'd be surprised at how fast you can retrieve a bait and still catch fish. The old adage that you have to fish slow in cold water really doesn't hold true with lipless crankbaits.

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I use lipless cranks a lot in spring. You want to rip em. The strike most often is out of aggravation. The yo-yo, as Steve mentioned, is also a deadly technique.


I was fishing EXTREMELY clear water today. I kept a close eye on what the bait did when slowing down, here it is.


With a heavy lure the nose dives, this is why the yo-yo works. Injured Minnow. You would find that the fall is when you'll get a hit. Both the large and light baits, like the 1/4, can fall to it's side. The action will change and the cast will be wasted. Don't let the line slack on the yo-yo. It'll help.


If you are not doing the yo-yo keep the horizontal line mid to high in the water column.


Good patterns are chrome, blue and chrome, firetiger, and of course.. red crawl.


I like Rat-L-Traps and Rapalas... They seem to have a proper balance and you can play with the retrive more with out messing up the action 10 # 12 # mono...

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Let me boost your confidence in rattlebaits a little. Last year from Mid june to September the rattlebait was my main stay. I quit counting after a thousand fish on them.


In the original in Fisherman Study guides on rivers[ that's what they called them back in the day] the rattlebait was the lure they recommended for active smallmouth and walleyes in moving water.


i carry a box of rattlebaits year round and use them in everything from high, cold muddy water, to low, warm, what passes for clear water in my flow. I vary sizes and retrieve speeds and work them upstream, crosscurrent and downstream. Smallmouth, walleye, rock bass, the occasional catfish, pike and gar all take them.


One tip, I have found that kirbing the hooks increases hokups and landing ratios.

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