The shake, rattle and roll of a lipless crankbait are music to the inner ears of any bass.
Even though bass lacks eardrums to hear, these fish has an extremely versatile sense of hearing. Bass detect high-frequency sound waves through the inner ear and sense low-frequency sound through its lateral line. Bass also receive a hearing aid from water in which sound can travel five times faster than it does through the air.
Rattling lipless crankbaits such as the Bill Lewis Rat-L-Trap deliver plenty of sound for bass to hone in on the lure even fishing in muddy water or low-light conditions. The versatility of these lures also allows bass anglers to employ the noisy baits in a variety of ways.
Here are some of the most effective methods for fishing rattle baits throughout the seasons.
1. Burning Banks With Rattling Baits
The thin body of lipless crankbaits makes these lures ideal for high-speed retrieves. Burning these sinking lures triggers reaction strikes when the crankbaits bang off of rocks along a riprap bank or logs and stumps on a mud flat. This retrieve is ideal for covering water quickly while searching for bass in the shallows (less than 5 feet deep). The best seasons for burning lipless crankbaits are summer and fall fishing when bass are actively chasing shad.
2. Ripping Weeds With Rattling Baits
During spring and fall, bass congregate on weedy flats where a lipless crankbait really shines for its ability to tear through the vegetation. By controlling the retrieve speed, you can run the lure at various depths of the weed columns. Slowing down the retrieve allows you to fish the lure over deeper weeds while speeding up crankbait lets you fish higher in the vegetation. Ticking the top of the grass works best for luring bass out of the cover, but if the rattle bait starts bogging down in the vegetation, a quick snap of the rod will rip the lure through the weeds to trigger strikes.
3. Yo-Yo-ing The Bottom With Rattling Baits
Hopping lipless crankbaits off the bottom in a yo-yoing fashion is an effective way to catch inactive bass throughout the winter and early spring when the water is cold. After the lure settles to the bottom, slowly lift your rod so the rattle bait rises a foot or two and then let it fall again on a semi-taut line. Strikes usually occur on the fall so watch for any line movement indicating a bite.