Best Lipless Crankbaits: Quick Crankin’ in the Shallows

Last Updated on August 24, 2022

The lipless crankbait is a highly slept-on lure used primarily when fish aren’t biting.

They look exactly like a typical crankbait minus the fact that they’re lacking the square bill you’re used to seeing on the front.

I’ve used quite a few of these hard baits with the Berkley Warpig and Rapala Rippin’ Rap being my two favorites. 

Let’s talk about these interesting lures, which ones work the best, and how we can use the best lipless crankbaits to hook some bass when they aren’t hitting.

Berkley Warpig
Best Overall
Berkley Warpig

This lipless crankbait for bass is great for burning because of its natural shape and realistic color pattern.

It has a blunt and slightly concave nose so it cuts through the water and has a loud rattle that generates a lot of attention.

Rapala Ultra Light Rippin’ Rap
Best for Burning
Rapala Ultra Light Rippin’ Rap

You’ve got about 10 different color combinations to choose from based on the conditions and time of year.

I’d go for the most natural presentation possible and lighten up on sunny days, darken down on cloudy days.

Yo-Zuri 3D Slow Sinker
Best Suspended
Yo-Zuri 3D Slow Sinker

It has a rolling and twitching action so it will essentially spin through the water as you retrieve it. This presentation again, goes back to the injury or erratic nature of these baits. 

The goal is to make a bass think that something is wrong and if they believe that the baitfish is unable to defend itself for whatever reason, it’ll strike the bait.


Top 7 Picks for the Best Lipless Crankbaits 

Lipless crankbaits are designed to cut through the water quickly and really draw a lot of attention with their internal rattle. 

They closely mimic a number of baitfish and the realistic color patterns only enhance the presentation.

These lures are designed for cold water fishing in the early Spring before the spawn and late Fall because they work best in shallow water. 

Let’s break down the top seven choices for the best lipless crankbaits money can buy. 

1. Berkley Warpig 

Berkley Warpig lipless crankbait

The Berkley Warpig might be one of my favorite lures of all time.

Berkley is not known for their hard baits so this might come as a shock to many of you that it would be my favorite choice. 

That said, if anyone remembers the Choppo, you’ll understand where I’m coming from. The Choppo was one of the most successful topwaters of all time and it still is to this day. 

Back to the Warpig. This lipless crankbait for bass is great for burning because of its natural shape and realistic color pattern.

It has a blunt and slightly concave nose so it cuts through the water and has a loud rattle that generates a lot of attention. 

There’s nothing really I can say that’s negative about it besides the fact that it’d be nice if they provide variable size options so you could switch it up every now and then.

It only comes in a ¼ ounce size. 

2. Rapala Ultra Light Rippin’ Rap

Rapala Ultra Light Rippin’ Rap lipless crankbait

I’ve reviewed the Rip Raps a few times now so you know I’m a big fan. It’s got a deep belly profile designed to look like a shad. 

It has the realistic eyes you’d expect paired with a loud internal rattle that is great for murky water. Burn it, rip it, do whatever you want with it when the bass aren’t biting.

The smaller size is great for slower conditions if the water is a bit cold or you find yourself fishing midday Summer

You’ve got about 10 different color combinations to choose from based on the conditions and time of year.

I’d go for the most natural presentation possible and lighten up on sunny days, darken down on cloudy days. 

It weighs about 3/16 of an ounce so it’s pretty small but again, there’s a time and a place for everything. If the bass aren’t biting, pull this out and give it a shot. 

3. Strike King Red Eye Shad

Strike King Red Eye Shad lipless crankbait

If I can’t prove it to you, maybe Kevin Vandam will. He won the 2010 Bassmaster Classic using this very lure and attributes it to the dying baitfish presentation. 

Every angler worth his or her weight will tell you that if you can make your lure look like it’s injured or dying, you’ll dramatically increase your chances of catching bass.

The red eye shad does this with a variety of different color choices. 

You have at least a dozen different options and they all come with red 3D eyes and a floating internal rattle that generates a lot of attention. 

The action on this lure is erratic and if you pair that with the color bass will immediately think they have an easy meal on their hands and take the bait. 

4. Cotton Cordell Super Spot 

Cotton Cordell Super Spot lipless crankbait

When you’re looking for something a little different you’ll want to look outside the primary brands that I always recommend.

This option from Cotton Cordell has a lot of bonuses that you won’t find in many other lures. 

First, it has a wide profile which actually helps prevent it from getting snagged up. This means you can fish it closer to the weeds to try and pull the big bass out of hiding. 

It also features multiple rattles which create a lot of attention. Pair that with the reflective design and it shines in the eyes of bass when in clear water and the sun is bright. 

It comes in a ½ and ¼ ounce size and 12 different colors so you can cater to the current weather and surroundings. 

This lure is the brainchild of Hall of Famer Cotton Cordell and it’s designed to cut through the air which also makes it a great option for bank fishing

5. Booyah One Knocker

Booyah One Knocker lipless crankbait

I love my Booyah lures and the One Knocker is no exception. This is a great alternative to the Strike King Hard Knocker if you need something lipless. 

It has a rattle with a lower pitch making this a great option when the bass aren’t biting. The Hard Knocker is an aggressive look while this one is a bit more subtle. 

I’d like to pull this out on an overcast morning when there’s a bit of a chill in the air in early Fall.

Lipless crankbaits are great fall lures because they’re more gentle and are designed to imitate injured baitfish with their action. 

Best of all this lure comes in sizes ranging from ¼ ounce to ¾ ounce and a number of colors. This gives you versatility to start high and work your way down if you’re not getting any bites. 

6. Yo-Zuri 3D Slow Sinker

Yo-Zuri 3D Slow Sinker lipless crankbait

Yo-Zuri is not exactly a mainstream brand but they pump out some good products every now and then.

A lot of the crankbaits reviewed in this guide are divers which mean they’ll sink well beneath the surface if you work them quick enough.

This one on the other hand is a suspended twitchbait so it’s designed to stay right beneath the surface. 

It has a rolling and twitching action so it will essentially spin through the water as you retrieve it. This presentation again, goes back to the injury or erratic nature of these baits. 

The goal is to make a bass think that something is wrong and if they believe that the baitfish is unable to defend itself for whatever reason, it’ll strike the bait. 

This one also has a super realistic 3D presentation with all natural flat sides and an almost transparent bottom half.

It’s also designed to prevent damage in saltwater so you can use it for inshore fishing for stripers as well.

I’d compare this to a quality stickbait like the Hydro Pencil from Yo-Zuri

7. Bill Lewis Rat-L-Trap

Bill Lewis Rat-L-Trap lipless crankbait

Here’s another popular floating lipless crankbait with a super realistic presentation. This one is designed to wobble like an injured baitfish. 

Again, the erratic action is what does this and makes it look like an easy meal for a bass that may be stalking nearby. 

This lure is a staple for Professionals in shallow grass and dense cover.

Since it stays above the cover in the column it won’t get snagged or pull in too many weeds and you can really clean house with a twitching presentation. 

Let it sink every so slightly and then twitch it. You could also use the yo-yo technique. 

This lure is not as beginner-friendly as some of the other options because you’ll have to hook it yourself with treble hooks and get the weight right to ensure you stay at the right depth.

This takes a little experience and some trial and error. Keep that in mind. 

How to Choose Lipless Crankbaits for Bass

bass fish caught with the best lipless crankbaits

Finding the best lipless crankbaits comes down to a gametime decision based on conditions. This is why I preach the importance of having enough options. 

If you have a few choices based on color and size then you’ll never starve on the lake. 

In the following sections, I want to outline some of the important considerations to keep in mind when choosing the best lipless crankbaits. 

Color 

Choosing the best lipless crankbait colors is simple because the rules never change. 

You choose the color based on your conditions. If the water is clear and the sun is shining, go for something bright and natural like chartreuse, bluegill, or shiner. 

If the water is murky and the sky is overcast, go with something more subtle and maybe a louder rattle because the bass can’t see the lure.

In some cases, murky water when the sun is shining is a great time to fish something bright. You can try and gather what little light reflection you have. 

In the spring, bass tend to feed on crawfish so go with a red craw color.

In the early fall, bass tend to feed more aggressively in the shallow water and it’s usually clear, mimic the baitfish and minnow colors. 

It’s simple but having the best color lipless crankbait will give you a sharp advantage. 

Size

I’ll say it again and again, “match the hatch.” Match the size of the prey you’re encountering in the water. If you see shad and they’re about 2-3 inches in length, throw something similar. 

Try to always keep your lures sized to the prey you’re seeing and if you can’t see anything, start bigger than you think you should be and work your way down. 

Keep fishing pressure in mind as well. If it’s a busy day on the lake or you’re tossing from the shore and you’re surrounded by other anglers, a big 4-inch crankbait isn’t going to cut it.

You need to size down in this situation. 

The best crankbait for bass is whatever the bass are eating at the time! 

Action

 lipless crankbait underwater at a depth of 10 feet for bass fishing

A lipless crankbait is designed to be aerodynamic. They remove the lip to force them to dive deeper into the water column. This is what you want them to do. 

A crankbait with a lip prevents it from diving so it sits right beneath the surface and it’s why we call them “suspended crankbaits.” 

Most lipless crankbaits have a rattle and depending on the type of bb inside, you could have a high-pitched screeching sound or a low-pitched gurgling sound. Each has their time and place. 

All lipless crankbaits are also designed to imitate an injured fish. This is true in both color and presentation. Using a fluorocarbon leader can even enhance this. 

The reason they do this is because it makes bass think they have an easy meal option.

Would they rather chase a worm for 50 yards or chow down on this bleeding shad they have right in front of them? 

Keep the action and presentation of your choice in mind before getting it wet. I’ve provided a wide variety of options above but I recommend the Warpig or Rattlin’ Rap if you’ve never fished a lipless crankbait before.

These have the most traditional presentations. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

What is the best size lipless crankbait?

The best size lipless crankbait mimics whatever the bass are feeding on in the water you’re bass fishing. 

When should you throw lipless crankbaits? 

You should throw lipless crankbaits in early Spring and late Fall. They perform best in water temperatures ranging from 40-60 degrees. 

Are lipless crankbaits good in cold water? 

Yes, lipless crankbaits are designed for cold water. 

What are lipless crankbaits good for? 

Lipless crankbaits are best used when bass aren’t biting or they’re feeling pressure from too many anglers. 

Final Thoughts 

I hope you enjoyed this breakdown of the best lipless crankbaits for bass and some of the fishing tips that went along with it. 

Remember the golden period of early Spring and Fall when fishing these bad boys. 

Lipless cranks are a great option when the bass aren’t biting and they’re a heck of a lot of fun to throw. 

The Berkley Warpig is easily my favorite option but I wouldn’t sleep on the Strike King Red Eye Shad either. 

Do you have a good lipless crankbait story? Feel free to tell us about it in the comments! 

Good luck out there!

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