January 29, 2015
Lipless rattlebaits are deadly on a variety of predators. Their secret? A tantalizing mix of tight wiggles and fish-attracting vibrations, most often complimented by raucous internal rattle chambers. These baits are also incredibly versatile. You can burn them over grassbeds, crawl them along the base of a weedline, or execute an aggressive rip-fall routine just about anywhere. Staples of serious anglers for decades, lipless rattlebaits are available in a variety of profiles, sizes, and colors — with variations in action, pitch, and volume adding to our ability to tweak presentations until we find the hot combination for the conditions at hand. To help speed your search for must-have rattlebaits, we offer the following look at some of our favorite lipless wonders.
Bill Lewis Rat-L-Trap
- Named after the battered Ford station wagon from which lure-maker Bill Lewis initially sold his wares, this classic bait has been busting bass since the Sixties. With its trademark wiggles and noisy cargo of #4 chilled shot, the half-ounce version is a staple of countless bass fans. But a variety of sizes are available, as are relative newcomers in silent and knocking options to compliment the legendary rattler. Finishes run the spectrum, from Avocado Zombie to Blue Streak.
Cotton Cordell Super Spot
- A perennial money winner in tournaments large and small, the iconic Super Spot packs a sonic punch plus great vibration. Armed with size 4 trebles, the 3-inch, ½-ounce version is a favorite for firing long casts and covering water with a raucous, tight-shimmying retrieve. But don't overlook the 3-inch suspending version, which dives to three feet and is perfect for plucking sluggish bass from shallow grass. Available in a wide variety of patterns from Royal Chrome to Foxy Mama.
Jackall Lures TN/70
- In-Fisherman friend and bassin' ace Jeff 'Gussy ' Gustafson sings this bait's praises, and not just because he cashed a check with one at the Walmart FLW Tour event on legendary Sam Rayburn Reservoir in March of 2014. Gustafson likes the external tungsten ballast, which helps expand the internal rattle chamber while keeping the nose down even at slow speeds or when paused on bottom, and says the bait's a knockout for tossing into the carnage when bass harass shad on the ceiling. The 5/8-ounce, 2.8-inch bait comes in a variety of traditional and ghost patterns.
LiveTarget Yearling Baitball Rattlebait
- Built to imitate a clutch of year-old baitfish, this unique rattlebait is available in two sizes, each offering a distinctly different profile. The 3-incher looks similar to standard lipless designs, while the 2½-inch version sports a bulging belly and more slimly tapered posterior. Both weigh 5/8 ounces.
Livingston Pro Ripper
- The Pro Ripper couples classic lipless design with advanced Electronic Baitfish Sound technology — EBS, for short. As a result, you get textbook wiggles and flutters, plus the acoustic croaking noises of frightened baitfish. While it works in clear water, EBS really boosts attraction in low-vis conditions. Look for the 2½-inch, ½-ounce sinking bait in a dozen colors.
Rapala Rippin' Rap
- As its name implies, the Rippin' Rap excels on aggressive rip-pause retrieves, yielding hard vibrations on the uptake and subtle flutters on the fall. But this tall, thin-bodied lipless wonder does so much more, handling a variety of speeds and manipulations in style. Available in three sizes and 12 colors, the bait sports VMC trebles, deep-set 3-D eyes, textured scale, fin, and gill detail, and a booming, multi-BB rattle system.
- Unveiled in 2014, the Ruckus is built to boost the volume of bass presentations, thanks to a thunderous dual-frequency rattle system that broadcasts both low- and high-pitched soundwaves as it shimmies through the strike zone. Such auditory prowess makes the bait perfect for low-vis situations and other occasions where it pays to be heard. Stretching 3 inches and weighing 7/8 ounce, the Ruckus wields black-nickel Big Bite trebles and is available in a variety of colors. river2seausa.com
Sebile Flatt Shad
- A unique lipless contender, the Flatt Shad features a bulging belly and low center of gravity that helps it swim well throughout a wide range of speeds. Silent but deadly, it features no rattles. Look for sinking, extra-heavy, and suspending options in a host of colors, including a few hollow choices that showcase the liquid-sparkle filling's seductive sloshings on the retrieve. sebile.com
SPRO Aruku Shad
- Designed by legendary bassman Roland Martin, the Aruku Shad keeps its head down, making it perfect for bottom-pecking and weedless presentations alike. Cloaked in lifelike finishes accentuated by etched scale patterns and 3-D eyes, it comes in 3/8-, ½-, 5/8-, and 1-once versions, all with Gamakatsu trebles extra-loud rattles.
Storm Rockin' Shad
- Storm took a page from its Thin Fin playbook, giving the Rockin' Shad a fat, flattened head and thick-walled body that combine to push water and pulsate on the retrieve. We also like the bait's head-down, side-to-side rocking action on the fall. As a plus, the internal multi-ball rattle system generates generous sonic stylings. Other amenities include 3-D holographic eyes premium black-nickel VMC trebles and stellar paintjob available in 15 patterns. Comes in 2½- and 3-inch sizes.
Strike King Red Eye Shad
- A favorite of competitive kingpin Kevin VanDam, the Red Eye Shad shines over shallow grass and deep structure. KVD praises the bait's unique shimmy on the fall, which lends credence to a variety of twitching and rip-pause retrieves. It also features VMC cone-cut trebles, large 3-D eyes, and free-floating rattles. Available in ¼-, ½-, and ¾-ounce sizes in a fistful of pro staff-inspired finishes.
XCalibur One Knocker Xrk
- While the sound chambers of many lipless baits house multiple noisemakers, the One Knocker Xrk marches to a different rhythm, thanks to a single, large tungsten-lead rattle. Ideal for tricking bass jaded by the nonstop serenade of multi-rattle baits, it yields a distinctive think-thunk-thunk. Comes in a variety of finishes, in ¼- through 1-ounce sinking options — all outfitted with XCalibur Tx3 premium trebles.