No doubt about it, lipless crankbaits are one of the most versatile tools available for catching walleyes, and they are still underused, despite being a mainstay in most of our tackle boxes.
The great thing about rattle baits is their ability to fish so many different depth levels. Traditionally, a rattle baits is simply casted and reeled straight in in shallow to mid-range depths, but we’re big fans of using these baits for walleyes on deeper structure from 15 to 30 feet of water.
In these deeper conditions, you fish the bait the same way you would fish a jig: cast it out and let it his the bottom, then rip it up, let it fall, rip it up, let it fall until a walleye drills it. These lipless crankbaits create a reaction bite, similar to what you might see with a Jigging Rap.
One of our favorite lures for this presentations is the #7 Rippin’ Rap.
So when the right time to bust out the Rippin’ Raps? They works particularly well in darker water environments when the fish are quite aggressive, though they’ve been known to work in clearwater situations, as well. We’re had success with this bait all year: spring, summer, fall and even through the ice in the wintertime.
You can fish lipless crankbaits on a spinning rod or a bait casting rod, though most anglers tend to favor the latter. Jeremy Smith’s go-to rod is the St. Croix Legend Glass rod, which has a nice long bend and is designed for throwing crankbaits. The key is using a rod that will keep the small treble hooks pegged in the walleye’s mouth. Pair it with 12# monofilament line and you’ve got an extremely stretchy system that will keep walleyes hooked and get ‘em in the net.
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