The best rimless shots of 2022

Published August 23, 2022 13:52

Few lures cover the entire water column and attract as much attention as a skinny, loud crankbait. When Cotton Cordell introduced the Hot Spot in 1958, it was an instant hit with anglers looking to chase schooling fish and one of the only crankbaits that could reach deeper than 10 feet. Without a diving lip, this sinking bait can be run at virtually any depth by varying the retrieve speed. The lack of a bill also helped lure the lure through the bar cleanly instead of diving nose first into the salad. Aside from the all-important addition of lures by Rat-L-Trap creator Bill Lewis in the 1960s, relatively little has changed in the composition of most lipless lures in more than 60 years. But like all things singing, small changes make big differences when the conditions are right. Here are some of the best crankbaits on the market – modern designs that are sure to turn heads the next time you’re looking to get fish to bite.

Things to consider before buying a lipless lure


Different sizes of rimless jigs allow anglers to “match the hat” and better mimic local forage. Most importantly, it allows anglers to adjust the depth at which they are fishing. If the fish are held deeper, a larger, heavier lipless bait will go down there and allow you to maintain a good retrieve speed. Likewise, a ¼ ounce. the lipless jig is shallow and is perfect for taking advantage of bass holding fry still in the shallows after the spawn. Some manufacturers even offer a ⅛-oz. size that is bad medicine for thin bass, carp, crappie and white bass when fished with light-action spinning gear.

Noise room

Different machines will produce a different sound, depending on the size, number and construction of the noises inside. The original Rat-L-Trap had a magical underwater sound profile similar to a school of panicking shad, but fish can become conditioned to those vibrations. Some manufacturers offer “one-tap” versions with just one big BB inside to give a different sound, some use tungsten taps for a sharper sound, and others may even forego the rattles altogether. Having a few of each design allows you to offer something different on tough days or after you’ve already caught a few fish and the bite starts to fade.


Some fish will wait for the lure as it passes rather than engage in the strike. Round bend hooks can increase the chance of an initial hookup on these bites, but the weight of the lure makes it easier to shake than many types of lures. The best rimless carts will have premium hooks that are frighteningly sharp. Standard ½- to ⅝-oz. lipless crank hooks should come with a minimum size 4 treble hook to increase the hook ratio and allow some belly in the hook bend to help keep the fish hooked. If you are hooking with round bends, a rod with a softer tip will be essential to give the fish room to fight. Check out this article on some of the best chair rods to help narrow down your search.

The best overall


Booyah Hard Knocker Booyah

Why did he make the cut: Top shelf finishes in a shad profile make this difficult for bass and other game fish. The high quality equipment and good price means you’ll find it just as hard not to bite.

Main features

  • Sizes 2 ¼, 2 ½ and 3 inches
  • ¼-, ½- and ¾-oz. weights
  • Available in 15 colors


  • Gamakatsu premium hooks
  • Enticing flutter-spoon action in the fall


  • Not as good as its discontinued predecessor

The Shad Shaped Booyah Hard Knocker might just be the most versatile lure in my toolbox. In addition to the mess of fish it causes when burning over brush or grass, it has a perfect fly drop when fished with a lift-and-release drag for fish located under balls of shad or other baits. The lure is based on PRADCO’s hugely popular but discontinued Excalibur XR50 lipless lure. It may not be an exact clone, but it’s as close as you’ll get to that famous lure without spending more than $50 on an auction website. Booyah’s Hard Knocker is also available in a one-knocker model, which is available in the same sizes and colors but features a single large bead in the noise chamber to give more of a matching clack sound with that of a pulsating lobster. away with tail flicks. Booyah gave anglers the best of both worlds with hooks, using a larger treble hook on the front for positive hooks and a smaller round bend on the back giving you the ability to land fish with short stroke.

The best silence

Aruku Shad Silent 75

Why did he make the cut: The SPRO Aruku is one of the few silent rimless mounts available to offer fuss-free flash and shake.

Main features:

  • 3 inches
  • ⅝-oz.
  • Available in seven colors

The pros:

  • It is one of the few silent rimless manipulators still in production
  • The premium hardware and finish hold up well to abuse


  • Lack of options leaves an angler desperate

Sometimes the action of a lipless lure is on point, but the noise causes a bit too much turbulence for fish in clear or pressurized water. Although Cordell’s original hotspots were made without noise, anglers are hard pressed to find a good lipless crank that works in stealth mode these days. The SPRO Aruku Silent is one of the few options currently on the market and anglers may want to have it handy in case the bite turns sour and the fish want something they haven’t seen before. The shadow-shaped profile is similar to many modern crankbaits and the weight is concentrated at the front of the lure to keep it nose down when the lure burns back to the boat. The lure is equipped with Gamakatsu premium treble hooks. The combination of a size 4 on the front and a size 6 on the back makes hooking up a little easier with those fish that hit the lure on instinct when it slides by, but still comes off the grass relatively clean. The only downside to Aruku Silent is the lack of variety. If you want to reduce the size to ¼ oz. lure to suit new fish of the year or move up a size to work deep grass, out of luck.

The best budget


Bill Lewis Rat-L-Trap Bass Pro Shop

Why did he make the cut: This tried and true performer still dominates the market without a painful spike at the box office.

Main features:

  • Sizes range from 1 ¾-inch to 4 inches
  • Available in ⅛-, ¼-, ½-, ¾-, 1- and 1 ½-oz. weights
  • Available in 112 colors (and counting!)

The pros:

  • Affordable cost without performance loss
  • Amazing variety to suit every fishing condition
  • The famous “gone fish” sound profile.


  • The hook can be used to replace
  • Some finishes are easy to chip

It’s hard to improve on the winning formula that the folks at Bill Lewis Lures came up with in the psychedelic ’60s with the original Rat-L-Trap. With the exception of new colors and some minor improvements to the hooks, the first lipless lure with internal noise hasn’t changed much, and neither has its price. Despite the increased material costs, the original Rat-L-Trap still comes in at a few dollars less than some of the flashier new models. Shop around and you can find it for half the price of other noise baits. But, you won’t be able to tell the difference in performance between the modern Rat-L-Trap and the “Traps of old”. The color and size selections are incredible, with offerings ranging from ⅛-oz. Small trap in 1 ½-oz. Magnum Force Trap to fish deep for larger game and even saltwater species. The only drawback I’ve had in years of “piece and smell” sessions with Rat-L-Traps is that the factory hooks from Mustad are good, but not as nice as some of the premium brands. Paints of some color selections, especially the chrome offerings, can also chip and peel after a little abuse from the reefs, logs and many fish faces it may come in contact with.

How I made my choices

In addition to more than three decades of fishing for bass, walleye, catfish and other freshwater sport fish, I have had the opportunity to work with manufacturers and sales representatives of various tackle companies, as well as dozens of fishing guides on reports of fishing. I have always had a lipless crankset in my boat, and these choices are based on personal experience with these lures in various fishing conditions.


Q: What is the best color for a lipless lure?

Color selection for lipless baits will vary based on the type of forage you want the lure to represent. In early spring, when crawfish begin to emerge from the mud they’ve been burrowing in all winter, no bass angler would be caught dead without a red lipless bait tied on the line. As the year progresses, game fish from bass to walleye will start feeding on shad, so a silver or shad fixer will get the nod. On cloudy days, a bright gold color will attract strikes better than silver. Some anglers swear by using lipless black trollers when the water is extremely murky and the noise startles them. Black provides a better silhouette of the target in dirty water when color is not as critical.

Q: How deep do rimless chairs go?

Since they sink, lipless baits will go as deep as the angler has the patience to let them sink. You can fire them in shallow water with a quick retrieve, or you can let them drop to 20 and even 30 feet of water and slowly reel them back in or reel them back in with a pull and retrieve technique. of release to cause a reaction shot. For the most part, anglers tend to take a lipless bait and retrieve it at a steady pace when trying to cause a strike in 2 to 12 feet of water. Check out this article for some different choices that stick to a certain depth range.

Q: Can you control a lipless lure?

Yes! Lipless casts are especially deadly for white bass and crankbaits when trailed behind a slow-moving boat. Unlike jigs with diving jigs, lipless rigs will work at virtually any depth, depending on the amount of line released and the speed of the boat. The downside to flipping lipless lures, however, is that the angler must spend much more time knowing the correct speed and distance from the boat for each size lipless lure.

Final Thoughts

The above selections provide a great starting point for building a lipless bait box for those times when you’re trying to draw a reaction strike, but variety is a major contributor to catching fish better than your buddies when everyone’s chasing the schooling fish. or fishing. the same pattern. Like chips, you can never have just one brand of lipless bait in your arsenal. While I tend to stock up on these three baits and dance with what I brought to the ball, I’m not afraid to try a new sound when the fish start to tire of the same old song and dance.

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