As you’d probably expect, the most productive lipless crankbait techniques reflect the design, action, and more importantly the vibration of this style of lure. Lipless crankbaits create massive vibration by their side to side rocking, unlike lipped lures that have a side to side wobble. I’ve mentioned this before on this blog, but to illustrate the difference, shake your head as if to say “no”. That’s like the side to side wobble of a lipped bait. Now tilt your head from side to side as though you are trying to touch your each of your ears in turn to your shoulder. That’s more like the action of a lipless crankbait.
It’s a combination of internal weight size and position within the lure, the shape of the crankbait body and the placement of the tow point that create that rocking motion.
Lipless Crankbait Techniques 101: Ripping!
“Ripping” crankbaits is one of a couple of very productive lipless crankbait techniques and involves letting the lure sink until it’s just touching the tops of the aquatic vegetation (or slightly below it), and then using sharp upwards jerks, or rips, of the rod tip to lift the lures back up and out of the weed. The lure is worked back to the rod tip using a series of these rips, making constant contact with the vegetation and occasionally requiring and extra hard “rip” to tear it free. Usually when the lure tears free is just the moment when a fish is most likely to strike.
To allow my lure to be in contact with the weed and yet not get so buried that no fish will ever find it, I like the lipless crankbaits that I make for ripping to have a slightly head-down, tail-up orientation that places the hooks behind the lure body and up and away from the weed, as shown in the diagram below.
To achieve this I move the internal weights forward and the towpoint slightly backwards, which adjusts the “pivot point” and gives the head down angle of attack. As moving the towpoint backwards also creates greater surface area of the flat face in front of the tow point I’ll often narrow the face by removing a little wood from each side, which tightens the action and improves it’s stability for being aggressively ripped through grass.
I also like to adjust the amount of internal weight so that the bait sinks at a controlled rate, rather than plummets through the depths like a stone. By creating a relatively slow sinking lure you can have a lot more control over your fishing depth when using the “countdown” technique. Plus, a properly weighted lipless crankbait tends to flutter on the drop – which results in a surprising number of hits taking place between rips as you are maintaining a semi-taut line while your lure comes back down to contact the grass.
There is no substitute for experimentation when it comes to getting the weighting and the towpoint location right – stick with it because the results are well worth the effort!
If you’d like to learn a lot more about making lipless crankbaits, along with lots of other styles, the check out my Crankbait Masterclass.