Crankbaits are traditionally hard plastic lures that are retrieved with a constant speed which triggers reaction strikes from bass. Most crankbaits possess a clear bill or lip that imparts the diving action to the bait. Those that don't, however, fall into the category of baits known as lipless crankbaits. Crankbaits are one of the most popular lures for bass fishing due to their year-round effectiveness and their ability to quickly locate schools of active fish. With the variety of different crankbaits available to anglers today, we've chosen to separate the products into four distinct categories. Aside from the Lipless crankbait category, the remaining categories separate the crankbaits by diving depth and include: shallow, mid depth and deep.
Lipless Crankbaits, often referred to as Rat-L-Traps - one of the original models of lipless crankbaits, are one of the most popular early spring lures for bass fishing. These lures lack the plastic lip by which most crankbaits are classified. The design of lipless crankbait lures offers anglers the ability to employ them in many different situations from shallow heavy vegetation to deep water rockpiles and everywhere in between. The storied past of lipless crankbaits includes the legendary wide open bites on Sam Rayburn and Lake Fork, giant smallies in the northeast and big bags of bass from the big fish waters of California. Lipless crankbaits can be retrieved with a steady pace, ripped through grass, yo-yo'd or fished much like a jig (a true California secret).
Shallow Diving Crankbaits
Shallow Crankbaits, which we classify as those that dive between 0 and 5 feet, are among the most popular shallow water lures in all of bass fishing. Shallow crankbaits enable anglers to fish a waide variety of structural elements with a very quick pace. Once anglers locate bass in shallow water they often choose a shallow crankbait because they can weed through stretches of unproductive water quickly while still presenting a lure in front of rogue fish. This technique proves to be very effective during the first wave of the spawn where many bass are just starting to migrate in shallow.
Medium Diving Crankbaits
Medium Diving Crankbaits, which we classify as those that dive between 5 and 9 feet, are a popular choice of bass fishermen year round. Different regions of the country will find different uses for mid depth crankbaits. Some anglers find water deeper than 8 feet to be rather deep where as others may still consider it rather shallow. The mid depth category bridges the gap between the shallow divers and the ultra deep models.
Deep Diving Crankbaits
Deep Diving Crankbaits, which we classify as those that dive deeper than 9 feet, are one of the most overlooked lures that tends to yield great results. Deep water can often seem intimidating, but it has proven to be very productive for catching quality and quantity of bass. Deep crankbaits are typically used from the dead of summer into the late fall when bass tend to school up on deep water structure. Deep diving crankbaits are one of the top choices when fishing deep water ledges, rockpiles or simply a large group an angler has stumbled upon. Crankbaits in this category include models that can dive as deep as 22 feet and in some cases even further when employing some trick techniques.
Jerkbaits and Rip Baits
Jerkbaits and Rip baits also fall under the hard plastic lure category. Although many manufacturers also produce soft plastic jerkbaits, the products in this category are constructed of a hard material and feature a small clear lip like crankbaits. Jerkbaits and ripbaits can be used with the same constant retrieve as crankbaits, however, they are designed to be much more erratic reacting to angler imposed action. Jerkbaits and ripbaits have proven very effective when fishing for suspended bass, most notably in the winter and early spring when bass tend to be more lethargic and take some convincing to lure them into striking. Among the most popular models of jerkbaits are those that display a suspending action when at rest. Once the jerkbaits are reeled down to their maximum diving depth, they will remain at that depth without floating upward or sinking until the angler continues the retrieve. The result is a face to face meeting between a bass and an easy meal - you can guess what happens next. Each of the products in our jerkbait and rip bait section will detail the lure's action and its maximum diving depth. Some of the lures feature the suspending action while some display a higher level buoyancy and will float upward when left still.
Topwater Lures present one of the most thrilling methods of catching fish known to man. Watching your lure travel across the waters surface only to be viciously attacked before returning to the boat is what fishing is all about. The topwater category of hard plastic baits includes walk the dog lures, poppers, and wake baits. Each of these styles of lures has a distinct action atop the water's surface. Walk the dog lures, sometimes also referred to as spooks - a name of one of the more popular walk-the-dog lures, feature a side to side action that is imparted on the lure by the angler using quick twitches of the rod's tip. Popper style lures display a concave mouth which catches water creating a small "chug" sound. Popper lures are excellent lure choices for fishing specific targets due to their pronounced action that is created without moving the lure too far from the aforementioned target. Wakebaits are more or less crankbaits that do not dive far below the surface. We differentiate wakebaits from crankbaits as lures that are intended to be fished jst slightly subsurface leaving a v-wake trail in its path.
So what are spy baits and what is the spybating technique? The spybait technique originated on the shores of Japan's Lake Biwa which is notorious for the massive pressure it receives by fishermen both recreational and commercial. Like many techniques from Japan, anglers sought to create a more finesse approach that could appeal to bass that were thoroughly aware of intrusive techniques used to try and catch them. Originally, anglers started experimenting with little to no action baits and Jackall even introduced their I-shad that displays a similar subtle action concept. Fishermen in Japan have gone so far as to modify their existing jerkbaits and topwaters with blades and weights to sink down below the surface and make their way through the water with a straight plane of motion. From the early crude lures was born a new category of baits altogether - Spy Bait. The spy baits making their way to the market today are much more refined with precision engineering, quality components, incredible action and intricate paint jobs. Most spy baits possess dual blades or propellers which keep the lure moving through the water on a horizontal plane all the while emitting flash and vibration as it is retrieved. Duo Realis, Megabass and Jackall all make excellent spybaits.