Techniques For Using Lipless Crankbaits In Winter

By on January 14, 2016
Angler Phil Marks with a Red Eye Shad bass. (Credit: David A. Brown / Wired2Fish)

Lipless crankbaits are a great choice for wintertime bass fishing because of the near-perfect way that they mimic lethargic fish movement. After all, the waters are cold and bass aren’t moving much, save for a few flicks to the side done at a slow and determined pace to save energy.

But that’s exactly why using these crankbaits is such a good option with the cold weather. A lipless crankbait is a near-perfect imitation of bass behavior during this period because it has a tight little wiggle instead of a wider action, such as that provided by a square bill crankbait.

But it’s not enough to know how they move in the water during the wintertime, you’ve got to know how to throw them to get some bites. So here are a few techniques you can try the next time you’re casting for bass into some cold, wintry water.


All of the ways that you can throw a lipless crankbait will do a good job of covering water, including the classic fast retrieve. To go above and beyond that favorite, why not try out a presentation that goes beyond a typical horizontal plane?

Yo-yoing the bait is a good option to get that done, taking a vertical, up-and-down approach to catch the bass lurking below. What’s great about this method is that it keeps the bait in front of the bass’ face longer. Use it to attack little corners and ridges that sit just outside of the grass to help entice them out. Weather is a consideration when using the yo-yo retrieve, so look for clear and sunny conditions to maximize its effectiveness.

Using a Berkley Warpig lipless crainkbait. (Credit: Walker Smith / Wired2Fish)

Using a Berkley Warpig lipless crainkbait. (Credit: Walker Smith / Wired2Fish)


Another technique that can tease out a few bass from their grassy hiding spots in the winter is worming. Now as the name implies, worming yields a presentation that you’d see with something like a long and skinny plastic bait. The difference is in the speed of the retrieval. What you want to do is cast the lipless crankbait out into the grass and retrieve it like you do with a worm, but just a little bit faster. What worming does is get right into the home turf of bass and tempt them to bite. And if it gets snagged, you may also get some reaction bites when you rip it out of the weeds.

Boat Stalls

During the post spawn, when big bass are chomping down on shad, some nice target spots are around boat stalls near spawning areas. On any dock, it’s nice to show the bait to fish at different angles. And if there are posts, you want to hit them if you can to trigger reaction strikes.

For more on using lipless crankbaits in winter to catch bass, including another tip on using buoyant baits to hover above bass beds, check out this post on Wired2Fish.

Top image: Angler Phil Marks with a Red Eye Shad bass. (Credit: David A. Brown / Wired2Fish)

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