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Greg Hackney's Favorite Spring and Early Summer Bait

lipless crankbait

My favorite spring and summer bait is a Strike King Red Eyed Shad, a lipless crankbait. When the bass are aggressive in either the pre- or post-spawn, they’re feeding heavily. You can cover a lot of water with a lipless crankbait. When the grass in a lake hasn’t popped out on the surface, I can reel that lipless crankbait right over the top of the grass. In the early part of the spring, when fishing cold water with dead or dying grass, nothing beats a lipless crankbait for producing bass. 

Another thing I like about the Red Eyed Shad is that you can make it look and act like a shad, a bluegill or a crawfish, simply by changing the color of the lipless crankbait. You also can cast this bait a long way. I like a medium to a medium-fast retrieve, depending on the day and the water clarity. The more stained the water is, the slower you will retrieve the bait. The clearer the water is, the faster you should retrieve the bait. 

When I fish the Red Eyed Shad around grass, I want that crankbait to make contact with the grass. If the water’s warm, you want to rip the lipless crankbait out of the grass, but if the water’s cooler, you want to pull the lipless crankbait out of the grass to allow the bait to stop and restart. If the bait’s coming along at a steady retrieve, and it hangs in the grass and hesitates, and then you rip it out of the grass, that may be the only way you can get a bite. The more times a lipless crankbait makes contact with grass, the more bites you’ll receive. 

In the early season, I like the Delta Craw color. My second favorite is Gold Sexy Shad, and my third is Chrome Sexy Shad. A lipless crankbait is a good lure to fish to cover a lot of water at any time of the year, but my favorite time to fish a lipless crankbait is from early spring to early summer.

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