The magic of lipless crankbaits

With the best of the rattle-bait time of year upon us it’s good to understand how and what makes this a magical bait, what presentations work, and when is it most effective. Let’s consider the conditions and presentations that will benefit you for a long time.
The first thing to understand is the best timing based on water temperature; when we see water temps like we are having now - 44 to 50 degrees F, the best of the rattle-bait bite is upon you. Yes, believe it or not these cold-water temperatures are great reaction-bite presentation time and a rattle-bait is one of the best baits to cause a reaction bite. The rattle-bait ability to fall on a drop presentation or yo-yo, as it’s called, is just hard for a largemouth bass to pass up. It taunts them like no other, making a bass, within striking distance, vulnerable to taking a whack at your bait. It is also a bait that when it is slow-rolled over rock, grass or rip-rap it becomes very fishy. It catches fish and if you’re working it around this cover you will catch fish. The key to success is understanding when to speed up, slow down or rip it up if it grabs the structure. This is just an experience thing, don’t let it frustrate you just keep working the structure until you find the magic speed and depth to run it in and you will quickly become an experienced rattle-bait fisherman.
It’s also a bait that color means more to success than many baits I have in my arsenal of winter baits. Color can mean everything. The reason is that in the cold water we see multiple stains of water color, often during the same fishing day. My suggestion is to rig about three different colors, before you hit the water, and try to figure out which is the best color. It may be location oriented, so if your catching fish on one color moving may require you to start back over choosing the right color. If none of your first choices work change them up to three new colors and start all over searching until a color strikes home.  
My choice of rattle-baits is, without a doubt, SPRO Aruka Shad rattle-baits, they’re balanced well, they run true, they drop and flutter easily, and they just catch fish!
Captain Mike

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