What Rod to Use for Lipless Crankbaits

To catch more fish, choose a specific crankbait rod to match each style of cranks and techniques. Lipless crankbaits require specific tactics and rods. A lot of fishing went into this guide to help you know what rod to use for lipless crankbaits.

Lipless crankbaits or “traps” as they’re often called, should be a staple in your tackle box. Although they have the same side-to-side movement of a billed crankbait, your technique is different in many ways.

Different Crankbait Rods for Different Cranking Jobs

Lipless crankbaits are great lures when the fish are clinging to structure or sitting on submerged steps. Especially in winter time, when bass are gathered near ledges and drop-offs, or sitting on bottom.

Lipless cranks sink but don’t dive, allowing you to fish the bottom efficiently with fewer snags.

Sinking rate varies with weight and size, but on average they sink about a foot per second. You can fish them shallow, you can fish them deep, and you can fish them up and down like a yo-yo. The more rod you have, the more control you’ll have over the depth and action.

Abu Garcia Vengeance Rod

The right lipless crank rod should have a lot of give in it, like this Vengeance from Abu Garcia Original photo from @the_reel_story on instagram

Longer Crankbait Rods For More Control

When you fish from shore, you want to keep the bait from sinking too deeply. Raising your rod tip high is the best way to do this, and the longer your rod, the more effective it will be. 7’6″ or even 7’11” rods are perfect for that.  You can use a 7′ rod, but if you have to settle on one rod, go longer. I wouldn’t recommend going below a seven foot rod for any crankbait.

Because you don’t need a lot of sensitivity, you should go with a glass crankbait rod. Your crank bait rod needs to have plenty of “give” in it. You want a parabolic rod, meaning the whole rod bends, without a stiff blank halfway up the rod. And, the pre-bite action of a lipless crankbait doesn’t require a lot of sensitivity. So, you don’t need to spend extra money on a composite rod for the lipless crank.

Longer rods also allow you to cast further. Casting further allows you to cover more water, which is one of the benefits of fishing a lipless crank. Rather than just reaching your target zone, you can cast well beyond it and bring your lure through it like it came out of nowhere.

You’ll find more fish this way. And, fish won’t see it coming, and that will give you more strikes.

Medium Action = Large Fish on Lipless Cranks

A medium action fiberglass rod will provide a more steady hook-set. With six or nine treble hooks, that’s important. Often you’ll only get one hook on the fish, and it won’t be right through the lip. You often get the skin on the outside of the jaw, or something like that. So the medium set gives a lot of power without jerking the hooks out of the fish.

That medium action will also allow your lure to bend in the direction of a bass when he jumps and does a head-shake. When a bass tries to shake the hook, it tests the connection of hook to skin. More rod flex means less stress on that connection that’s keeping your bass on the line. Here’s a breakdown of some good rods under $70.

As for the line itself, I recommend fluorocarbon. Read more here about fluorocarbon line choices.

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Baitcasting rod being held in a fisherman's hand on the river, with text overlay "Rod choice for catching with lipless crankbaits"

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