Squarebill Cranking Basics and a Look at Rapala’s BX Big Brat

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Randall Tharp equates squarebill cranking bass to that of off-roading with 4×4 trucks – quality baits are purpose-built for colliding and deflecting off all types of cover while mimicking most forage. With the prespawn around the corner, now is an excellent time to revisit or learn about squarebill cranking, inspect tackle, and ultimately formulate a strategy for putting them to work on your favorite waters come game day.


Squarebills come in a range of sizes, shapes, and colors, all of which can have a significant impact on success. Tharp shares some attributes specific to the Rapala BX Big Brat that makes it one of his go-to big fish baits for power fishing the shallows. The most crucial tip to success is making regular contact with the cover, be it artificial (e.g., docks, rip-rap, pilings), wood, grass, rock and even sandy bottoms. As evident in the underwater video, the extended bill on the BX Big Brat helps keep the hooks clear from cover while the hard plastic shell protects the balsa core and makes the bait nearly indestructible.