(Editor's note: The following is the latest installment in a series of fishing tips presented by The Bass University. Check back each Friday for a new tip.)
Lanky California pro Jared Lintner never leaves home without a healthy supply of lipless crankbaits, and it’s rare that he doesn’t have one or more tied on for a day of fishing. “I might have a slight lipless crankbait problem,” he said, pointing to an overstuffed tackle box.
While many anglers think that they’re just good in relatively shallow grass, or early in the season, he’ll have one tied on from prespawn through the fall. He’s caught fish on them as deep as 35 feet, and plenty on lakes that are free of vegetation.
“Everybody thinks it’s just a grass bait and that’s just fine and dandy,” he said, then noted that “odds are especially good in the prespawn that they’re biting a ‘Trap.’”
His favorites are the TN series from Jackall, both the 60 and 70 models, but he noted that it pays to carry of a variety of others: “At certain times, on certain lakes, they’ll get dialed into one sound.” What he likes about the TN is that they have a tungsten lip, which causes them to dive immediately upon hitting the water. When he rips one free from a clump of grass, they do the same thing, keeping the lure in the strike zone for an easy bass meal.
While they’re sometimes referred to as “idiot baits,” lipless crankbaits are also known for a lot of lost fish, and Lintner believes that specific tackle can minimize losses, even in heavy cover. He likes a 7’7’' Ritual Angling Reaction Bait rod. It’s a slow, medium-heavy with a parabolic action. It has the right amount of give that he wants any time he’s using treble hooks. The company also makes a 7’2” model with the same action, and soon they’ll be introducing a 7’5” version that’s “even more parabolic.”
Ninety percent of the time he throws his lipless crankbaits on 16-pound Sunline Crank FC. He’ll occasionally go down to 12, or up to 18 or 20, or even utilize Sunline Braid, but the 16 seems to offer the best overall performance. He’ll spool it on a Shimano Metanium HG (7.4:1) but occasionally during the fall will swap to a Metanium XG (8.5:1).
One trick that he’s developed to thwart short-striking fish is to swap out the factory trebles on most models with Trokar replacements – a No. 4 EWG on the belly hook and a round-bend on the tail. “For some reason, it works for me,” he said. “They breathe on it, you’re going to get a piece of him.”
As for colors, he likes gold, fire tiger and reds during the prespawn. He moves to bluegill and sunfish colors as the bass move up to bed. During the post-spawn through the fall, he’ll rely primarily on shad colors like ghost minnow and super shad, although he added that you “can never go wrong” with chromes, such as chrome/blue or chrome/black.
If you want to learn some of the other keys to Lintner’s lipless cranking success, including the one time of year that he doesn't throw it, check out his full video, available only by subscribing to The Bass University TV.