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How To Fish A Lipless Crankbait

“Ever Heard The Saying “Silent But Deadly”? Silent Crankbaits Can Make A Massive Difference To Your Results In Hard Fished Waters.”

Doc Lures

How To Use A Crankbait: Masterclass

Silent crankbaits can be a wonderful asset in any tackle box – and a much underestimated lure fishing weapon, too! These days every lure maker under the sun seems to be out there trying to make the noisiest crankbaits that they can. Unfortunately, too much noise (or the wrong noise) can actually be counter-productive! Read: It can reduce the effectiveness of your lures by warning fish off!

There are good reasons why silent crankbaits should have a very important place in your arsenal. Likewise, there are lots of reasons why loudest is often not best – a fact often missed by both professional and recreational lure makers. I’ll talk more about this in future articles, but we’ll at least scratch the surface in this article!

Silent Crankbaits Vs Noisy Crankbaits

First of all, what are silent crankbaits? It sounds like the answer should be obvious, right? There is a tendency to refer to any wooden lure as silent because most don’t have rattles built in. But actually, silent crankbaits are usually not silent – whether they contain rattles or not. Hooks and rings rattle and bang against the lure body creating noise. And although it’s a softer, more muted noise for wooden bodied lures (compared with hollow plastic), it’s still noise!

So really, most “silent crankbaits” should instead be referred to as “quiet crankbaits”! An exception is my Shhh! ultra silent crankbait, which is shown in the pics on this page. This lure completely overcomes noisy hooks and rings, resulting in a truly silent crankbait that takes fish in some pretty heavily fished waters. It’s one of the project lures in my Crankbait Masterclass, for those interested in learning to make and fish with this lure.

Silent Crankbaits And Hard-Fished Waters

Catch and release is the normal thing in most of our waterways, most of the time. And that’s a great thing! But have you ever thought about how it affects the fish’s willingness to take your crankbaits? Let’s analyse that a little. First, don’t believe the line that a fish doesn’t remember what it swam past 5 minutes ago.

Like all wild animals, a fish’s very survival depends on it remembering and avoiding dangerous events. They can remember stuff for months, if not years. So when we catch a fish on a particular lure and then release it to fight again, we have very effectively taught it not to eat that lure again.

And since sound travels a long way under water and fish have exceptionally sensitive hearing, we have a problem.

Fish hear a lure long before they see it – and if it sounds like something they have learned from experience not to eat, you’re on the back foot. That’s also why you could go through every lure color in the box and not get a touch: color becomes irrelevant because the fish is on guard just from the sound. It’s also why popular factory lures can get ignored in hard-fished waters. Fish may hear it but not come to investigate – or may even swim the other direction. And the louder the lure is, the easier they’ll hear it!  

So now you know why many tournament pro’s switch to a “silent” lure towards the end of a big competition. And remember, big fish get big by living longer. Which means they have probably experienced a lot more sounds in their lifetime and are very good at deciphering which ones are to be avoided.

The bottom line? If fish are being finicky, are shy due to excessive fishing pressure or if the conditions are still and calm, a custom wooden “silent crankbait” can make a real difference to your results!