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Product Reviews: Lipless Crankbaits

By Russ Bassdozer

Rattlebaits are the boisterous and disorderly element. They're the bold defiant ones that deflate every ego trip we value as anglers. There's no stealth. No artful cunning required. No skill to slip noiselessly into a spot from up-sun, up-wind, unseen and unheard. There's no blending in with the great outdoors. No need for camouflage clothing. No mastery in order to make a perfectly splashless cast. No, not when this chaotic alarm clock of a lure strikes twelve! There's no way you can claim superior angling achievement in outfoxing a wily, wise old moss-backed lunker that had resisted all lurely temptations until your loudmouth rattlebait blares by.

Whacka! Whacka! WHACKA! As far as you can cast it, you can hear it amplified underwater. Shacka! SHACKA! SHACKA! It overloads and excites the senses even before a bass sees it. RACKA! RACKA! RACKA! Within striking distance, a cacophony of noise causes the cauldron of sensory excitement to boil over. Fish on!

We've given rattles to new-born babes for centuries. It's only since the late 1960s that we've given rattles to bass. That's when lure maker Bill Lewis got the notion to load a shad-shaped lure with BBs to find out if maybe he'd catch a lot of fish with it? He did.

Over thirty years later, his Rat-L-Trap lure remains an important and enduring fish-catcher. If I counted correctly, Bill Lewis Lures offers nine models of Rat-L-Traps. There are very few tackle boxes today that don't include a Bill Lewis Rat-L-Trap.

The Cotton Cordell Super Spot is a second popular rattlebait. It comes in six models. The Super Spot is known and loved by many bass anglers.

Those are the big two in terms of name recognition. Yet every company that makes crankbaits also has their own brand of rattlebaits. We're not talking dozens but hundreds of models of rattlebaits out there. That's a lot of maracas..

Daiwa TD Vibration
TD Vibration. Model 107S. 5/8 oz.

If you haven't heard of the Daiwa TD Vibration rattlebait, the 107S 5/8 oz model is one of the best rattlebaits ever made. It's loud, deadly and I don't go rattlebaiting without it in the Platinum Gold (bottom in photo) or the threadfin shad color called "Foil Perch" (top in photo). Especially on big bass lakes, the TD Vibration has no problem handling a #2 belly treble and #4 tail treble.

Lucky Craft Rattlebaits
Lucky Craft offers no less than 8 lipless rattlebaits to North American anglers.

I've written an exhaustive  twenty page product review on Lucky Craft lures including topwaters, jerkbaits, lipped crankbaits and lipless rattlebaits. Click here to read My Lucky-est Choices.

Those are just a few of the rattlebaits I use, and some of the reasons why.

Rattlebaits may be lipless but they're not toothless when it comes to biting back at bass.

An angler only has to reel it in straight and quick, and the lure will do the rest all on its own. It will automatically RATTLE, VIBRATE and FLASH all by itself, which is what makes the lure so effective, even for novices. All anyone needs to do is to retrieve it straight, quick and in close contact to weed tops or flat bottom, and start getting hits! You also get a great SHAPE right out of the box. Pick up a shad or bluegill about 3 inches long. Now pick up every single lure in your tackle box and rank them as to which lure comes closest to the natural bait shape. I will bet you that your rattlebaits match the bait shape better than anything else you own! A lot of hooked bass shake lipless crankbaits and throw them when they jump out of the water. Many people replace the hooks on lipless crankbaits with Mustad Triple Grip trebles, making it harder for bass to shake them loose.

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