Your crankbait fishing success is largely dependent upon your ability to create reaction strikes by deflecting the lure off of cover. You’ll certainly catch a few bass by simply retrieving a crankbait through the middle of the water column, but banging a big crankbait into everything you can find will often produce the biggest bites of the day.
I’ve always had a hard time implementing this technique in the 6 to 14-foot depth range. Because most of the mid-depth crankbaits on the market are constructed with a round lip, hang-ups have been a big nuisance. I started playing around with the Bomber Fat Free Shad Square Lip several months ago, however, and it has really added a whole new dimension to my crankbait fishing.
Here’s what I really like about it:
Square lip means fewer snags
Shallow squarebill crankbaits have played a major role in bass fishing for several years—they dive roughly 3 to 6 feet and their unique bill shape allows them to deflect off of hard cover with ease. This allows anglers to cover water with amazing efficiency and cast into heavy cover without worry of annoying snags.
The Bomber Fat Free Shad Square Lip combines the effective squarebill design of shallow crankbaits and the very popular profile and action of the original Fat Free Shad into a single crankbait. As a result, I’ve been able to put this crankbait into places I never have before.
This crankbait comes in two sizes—the 2 1/2-inch model runs 6 to 10 feet deep and the 3-inch model runs 10 to 14 feet deep. Both of these models have proven very effective for me this year when targeting both prespawn and post-spawn bass. When a big weather front comes through an area this time of year, shallow bass are notorious for sliding off of nearby break lines and tucking themselves into the thickest cover they can find such as manmade brush piles and rocks. This crankbait has given me the ability to target and catch these fish.
Its square lip design has been equally effective around all types of hard cover. It doesn’t matter if I’m fishing manmade brush piles, hidden laydowns, deeper stump flats or scattered rock—it deflects extremely well. While many other mid-depth crankbaits require you to “baby” them around cover, that hasn’t been the case with the Bomber Fat Free Shad Square Lip. I can maintain my normal retrieve speed while knocking into submerged cover with very few hang-ups.
It kicks very aggressively to the side when it collides with something, but returns to center within just a few reel cranks. Its ability to quickly return to center allows you to keep the crankbait in the most productive strike zones longer without losing any depth.
In order to get a crankbait down to its proper operating depth and cover water quickly, long casts are essential. Whether you’re a beginning angler or a seasoned veteran, you’ll be able to appreciate this crankbait’s outstanding castability.
While using this crankbait, it hasn’t mattered whether I’m casting in stiff winds or calm conditions—it casts like a darn rocket. It feels a bit heavy on the back cast, but that’s a good thing in my opinion. It allows you to catapult the lure a ridiculous distance.
I’ve had a lot of success using the Bomber Fat Free Shad Square Lip in clear water and I think it’s largely due to its castability. I’m able to stay way off of stump flats and brush piles without getting close enough to spook the finicky post-spawners.
If you have as much luck as I’ve had with this crankbait, you’re going to catch a bunch of fish with it. After a bunch of fish catches and collisions with cover, I haven’t noticed any hook rash or paint chips whatsoever.
I recently had (what felt like) a good bass wrap me around a manmade brush pile while using the Fat Free Shad Square Lip. Despite my best efforts, I lost the fish, but guess what? I didn’t lose the crankbait. I pulled… and pulled… and pulled for at least 5 minutes and somehow I brought the brush pile—about the size of my front deck—to the surface and retrieved the crankbait. The strength of the split rings was outstanding. There was no bending, warping or loss of shape whatsoever. I’m still using the same split rings without any problems.
Because this is basically a squarebill on steroids, I’ve been ramming it into all sorts of junk to catch bass. There have been absolutely zero cracks, splits or loss of paint anywhere on the lure. I’m also very pleased that the lip has remained very firmly attached to the body without any separation.
The Bomber Fat Free Shad Square Lip has a loud clacking noise throughout the retrieve. Throughout my experience, I’ve noticed that sound can play a big factor in drawing big bass from thick cover—if you irritate ‘em enough, they’ll come out and crush it without even being hungry.
This has certainly been the case with this crankbait. Even in clear water, the rattle seems to pull bass from brush. Ideally, you’d like to hit the brush with the crankbait, but if you misplace your cast, don’t get frustrated—the bass seem to travel a good distance to eat it.
If your favorite fishery has a lot of cover in the 6 to 14-foot range, I absolutely recommend this crankbait. You can run it through just about anything, easily make great casts with it and it will last for a long time. Not to mention, it’s priced at just $5.99.