by Charles Stuart
first introduction to lipless crankbaits was when I
won twenty of them in a raffle on Lake Cayuga in upstate New
following week, I tried in vain to catch fish with
this noisy, skinny looking object. What I did catch was wood,
weeds and rocks. So the lures remained in the bottom of the
tackle bag collecting dust like so many baits that I believed
were for catching fishermen, not fish!
years later, I was fishing a tournament in Alabama
with another angler who was catching so many fish I had to stop
to see what he was throwing. When I saw the rattletrap on his
line, I watched how he would change the retrieve constantly and
move the rod tip from left to right and well as up and down.
you ever heard the expression, "the light
suddenly came on"? Well I realized that the lures I had won
all that time ago could actually catch fish, but I still needed a
lesson in how to use them correctly.
a "trap" on the line and tried to mimic his
retrieve tactics. Once again I hooked wood and weed. Maybe it was
just me, but I could not get the damn thing to run the way he
did! Then I realized that the reel I was using had a retrieve
speed of 5.1 to 1. I looked at his reel to see that he was using
a 6.3 to 1! Click! On went the light (again) and I switched to a
high retrieve reel. After the second cast, I hooked and landed my
first "trap" bass, a nice three-pound fish. I caught 4
more fish that afternoon and placed well in the tournament
standings for the day thanks to this bait.
So, here are the tools
you will need and a few tips on "working the lure".
prefer a six to six and a half-foot medium action rod
with a high gear ratio (6 to 1 and above) baitcasting reel for
larger baits. A spinning reel will work better with the smaller
sizes but again, check the ratio.
Perhaps for those of you
who are not familiar with gear ratio, I should explain. When you
turn the handle of a fishing reel one complete turn, you will
have gathered a certain amount of line back as the spool turns.
The higher the speed ratio, the more line you bring back on each
turn. For crankbaits, spinnerbaits and lipless crankbaits, a high
retrieve is excellent. Of course there are situations when you
may need to slow down a spinnerbait or regular crankbait, in
which case you should choose another reel with a lower gear
ratio. However, for the lipless variety of crankbaits, a
high-speed reel is the key.
diameter and breaking strain should be your next
consideration, Heavy line with a larger diameter will keep the
bait higher in the water than a thinner and less pound test line.
Situations dictate what line you can use, but as a rule of thumb,
if the water is deep, you want the bait to run deep. Use ten to
fifteen pound line with little or no stretch. This type of line
will allow you to "feel the bait" as it runs through
the water. Do not use a braided line unless you feel comfortable
using it. To me, the monofilament or co-polymer lines are
excellent for this particular style of fishing. In skinny shallow
water presentations, choose a fifteen to twenty pound test line
which will allow you to muscle fish out of shoreline structure
without too much difficulty.
size selection! Well they come in many sizes, so try
to match the size of the baitfish in the area. If you do not see
any bait fish to "size up with", start with a small
quarter of an ounce offering and change up until the fish bite.
As for color selection, try chrome and blue, chrome and black and
the white with a green or red back. All these work for me in most
situations. Of course, your lake or river may need another color,
so do not be afraid to experiment.
as you retrieve your lure, speed up and slow down.
Also move the rod slowly as you retrieve from left to right. Then
on the next cast, up and down. Try to remember when you fish any
artificial bait that it is supposed to imitate a fish, and fish
do not swim in straight lines! So why would you just throw a lure
and turn the handle of your reel until it comes back?
Stuart is a pro angler, journalist and NY State Guide who fishes
the B.A.S.S., RED MAN, FOXWOODS and the ABC Tours in the
Northeast. Born and educated in England, Charles fished
professionally in England when he lived there. Charles has now
lived on Long Island, NY for over 15 years. He's fished most
lakes, rivers, streams and ponds on the island. He has fished
from the Canadian border to Florida in search of largemouth and
One of Charle's
objectives is to use the knowledge he has gained to teach young
fishermen and women the joy of the sport and the art of
"catching". Charles feels that, unlike other sports,
all members of the family can enjoy fishing together. To Charles,
fishing is a sport that does not place pressure on a child to
succeed, thereby building the child's confidence and self-esteem.
Charles is sponsored by
Bullet Weights, G.Loomis, Budz Fishin Wayz, Gamakatsu, Lake Hawk,
Chevy Trucks, Hawg-ly Lures, Power Resources cranking &
trolling motor batteries, Uncle Josh, Ike-Con Fishing Tackle,
Snap-Set Spinnerbaits, Map-Trap, and Stamina Components.
You can email Charles