Are you ready to take your lure making (and fishing) to new heights? Then it’s time to learn how to make lipless cranks – not just because I think you need a new challenge, either! The good old lipless crank is an incredibly versatile fishing weapon that fills gaps left by other hard body lures. Fresh or saltwater, micro or jumbo, you need a couple of lipless crankbaits in your kit.
But 90% of wooden lure makers never attempt to make lipless lures. So where should you start?
Well, that’s exactly why I wrote this article. It’s for the “Lipless Crank Virgins” who want better fishing! Making lipless crankbaits is kind of a specialty of mine…. and I’d like to make it a specialty of yours too!
5 Tips For A Lipless Crank….
Tip #1: Think Outside The Box!
If there was ever a good reason to take up lure making, it’s to get deadly lures you can’t buy off the shelves,. Then watch your lure fishing skyrocket, right?
Take a look at the selection of lipless cranks on the tackle store shelf. What do you notice? They’re all the same! OK, not identical, there are different shapes, sizes, colors.
But try and find a floating lipless crankbait….
A suspending one…..
A silent one?
Scarce as hens teeth. I’m not saying that they’re non-existent, there are a few around. But the mass production process lends itself to sinking, noisy styles. And fish get wise to them. The ability to make something different, like a silent lipless crank, can connect you to fish that commercial lures won’t.
Tip #2: Weight It Well, And Pull From Above
A key thing to understand about these lures is that weighting is critical. Weight near the head and belly with minimal weight near the tail creates an imbalance. And that’s what creates the action – when the lure is pulled from above. So two things to keep in mind:
- Use very light wood for floating or suspending lures. Then weight them so that they are head-down at rest. This keeps the part of the lure that creates action in the water at all times. If they float too high they won’t dive and swim. If they are too heavy they won’t be floating cranks….
- The tow point of lipless cranks is always on top of the head. Placing it on the nose won’t cause the action you’re after.
Tip #3: Heavy Terminals Can Actually Help A Lipless Crank!
There’s something you won’t hear said in wooden lure making too often! But lipless cranks are a different style of lure. And they get their action in a completely different way.
“Normal” crankbaits have a left to right action. Lipless crankbaits have more of a side to side, tilting action. The best way to illustrate this is to ask you to shake your head as if you are saying “no”. This side to side action is what a lipped crankbait does. Now look straight ahead, and keeping your eyes forward tilt your head to one side. Then the other, and then back again. That’s the action of a lipless crankbait, right there…..
So, the hooks of a lipped crankbait swing from side to side as the lure swims – especially the tail hook. The drag and weight of heavy hooks can have a BIG impact on the action of the lure.
By contrast, the hooks of a lipless crank stay relatively stationary as it swims. So heavier hooks and rings don’t affect the action of the lure as much. In fact, heavier terminal tackle can help keep the lure right way up during use. That’s why you’ll often see a large front hook on lipless crankbaits, for the size of the lure.
Tip #4: Light Wood For Wide Action, Heavy Wood For Tight Action
I’ve written about lure making timbers on several occasions, so I won’t go over old ground here. Except to say: lipless crankbaits are a little more tolerant of heavier (denser) timber than other crankbait styles.
The body shape, internal weighting and towpoint/hook hanger location are the main factors affecting performance. But your choice of wood can still help or hinder your lipless crank design.
But that’s not to say that your choice of wood isn’t important…. It’s still critical!
You see, it’s the battle between the weighted and buoyant parts of the lure that create action. And when you use a buoyant timber the difference is more exaggerated, so the action is stronger. That’s fine if your lure is designed to have plenty of vibration when worked at slow speeds. But it goes against you if you’re trying to make a lipless crank that has a tight action and can be cranked fast…..
Tip #5: The Body Shape Around The Tow Point Is Key
Some lipless cranks have a flatish area on top of the head around the tow point location. Others are more narrow and rounded in that area.
Flatter areas work a little like the bib of a “normal” crankbait, the longer they are, the deeper the lure swims. And a wide flat creates a stronger action but reduces the speed the lure can be worked.
So for a fast lure with a tight action, keep the body shape narrow and round off the area around the tow point. And the opposite, of course, for cranks you intend for slower speed work.
This is a style of lure that I’d encourage everyone to learn! The lipless crank is like the Yin to a lipped crank’s Yang! It allows you to do things that standard cranks can’t do, like vertical jigging, high speed trolling and more.
If you’d like to see a demonstration of how I make a lipless crank, why not watch a replay of my recent webinar?