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Kevin VanDam on Lipless Crankbaits

Kevin VanDam

I believe a lipless crankbait will catch bass at any time of the year – mainly because it’s not restricted to a certain depth. You can fish a lipless crankbait 2 inches under the water, 6 inches under the water and in 10-feet-deep water and yo-yo it off of even deeper bottoms. With the new technology that’s been developed in lipless crankbaits, they have become much more efficient bass lures than the lipless crankbaits have been in the past. 

For instance, many crankbait manufacturers started putting rattles in their crankbaits, which seemed to be an effective tool to get more strikes on a crankbait, especially when bass were actively feeding. But how could we fish a crankbait that made so much racket when the bass weren’t aggressively feeding and preferred a much more subtle bait? So, Strike King came out with a silent crankbait that would run through the water without making any noise at all. 

lipless crankbaitThen anglers have wondered what else can be done with the crankbait to make it attract more bites. The engineers at Strike King have come up with a tungsten rattle that gives off a sound more like a knocking noise than a rattling noise. Because the lipless crankbait is so versatile and comes in so many sizes and colors, you can choose to fish a lipless crankbait that mimics any of the prey species on which the bass are feeding at the time of year that you’re fishing. For example, if the bass are feeding on crayfish, a crayfish-colored lipless crankbait, like the Red Eye Shad, will match the bait that the bass want to eat. As the weather warms up, and bass start feeding on sunfish, there are colors of lipless crankbaits to match sunfish. Because there’s several different varieties and colors of shad, you can choose a shad-colored crankbait that matches that prey species.

I’m often asked if I only can have one color of lipless crankbait, what color will I choose? My first choice will be a Red Eye Shad in the sexy shad color. My second pick will be a chrome-colored lipless crankbait with either a blue or a black back. Those chrome-colored lipless crankbaits probably have caught more bass all over the country than any other color of crankbaits you can fish.  

Something else I’m often asked is, what type of retrieve do I most often use when fishing a lipless crankbait? Actually that retrieve depends on the water color, the time of year, the water temperature, and what the bass are feeding on at the time I’m fishing. However, one of my favorite ways to fish the lipless crankbait is to cast it out, let it fall to the bottom and then rip it up off the bottom.

One of the major improvements that’s made a big difference in the effectiveness of the lipless crankbait is that the Strike King engineers have developed a Red Eye Shad that when you cast it out, it falls with a swimming action, just like a shad that’s been injured or dying. So, you can get plenty of bites not only on the initial fall of this lure but also when you jerk the crankbait up off the bottom, since it appears to swim up quickly. Then when you kill the bait, it slowly starts swimming back to the bottom.  You can give the lipless crankbait a wide range of different types of retrieves to get bass to bite this bait. 

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