Unlocking Bass: 3 lines for lipless crankbaits
By Fred Roumbanis
Lipless crankbait is the most versatile bass lure. You can burn it just under the surface, yo-yo it off the bottom or do anything in between. It will catch bass in all four seasons, in all 12 months and under just about any conditions you can think of. It's why you'll always find these lures in my boat, no matter where I'm fishing or when. Right now I want to tell you about fishing lipless crankbaits on different types of line and why your line choice is probably the most important decision you make when you fish a lipless crankbait.
I grew up fishing monofilament with just about everything — it's what we had — and it's still the best choice for certain types of lipless crankbaiting. I especially like to use mono in the early spring when I'm using lipless crankbaits on lakes with lots of vegetation.
The primary reason mono is the right choice here is its buoyancy. Unlike fluorocarbon, it doesn't sink, and it's less visible than braid.
Because of its buoyancy, monofilament "floats" your bait a little higher in the water column, and this is important when you're fishing a lipless crankbait over the early season grass. I use P-Line C21 Copolymer for this and sometimes go as heavy as 20-pound-test if I want to keep my bait up really shallow.
Remember, the heavier the mono, the higher your bait will ride in the water column.
When I'm fishing around grass that's getting thicker, and I want to crash my Rock N' Vibe into the cover and rip it loose, it's time to spool up some P-Line Spectrex Braid. Braid has no stretch, so when my bait hangs in the grass I can easily rip it loose with my rod tip.
That's when the strike comes — just as the bait pulls free with a burst of speed. Bass can't resist it, and you can accomplish this much more easily with a no-stretch line like braid than you can with monofilament (which stretches a lot) or fluorocarbon (which stretches a little). Braid will give your bait better acceleration, and that makes a big difference. I usually go with 30-pound-test; it's thin enough to give me plenty of casting distance and strong enough to pull my bait free from just about anything.
If I'm fishing a lipless crankbait in more open water — like around riprap or when I'm covering a lot of water on shallow flats and banks — I use P-Line Ultimate Fluorocarbon, usually in 10- to 16-pound-test.
As you know, fluorocarbon sinks and has little stretch, but those aren't the biggest reasons I like it for this application. I go with fluorocarbon at these times because it's super clear, with about the same refractive qualities as water, so the fish can't see it as well. That can be important in clear water situations with any lure.