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Strike King KVD 1.5 Hard Knock Squarebill Crankbait Review

If you were to run across me on the lake at any time of the year, I’d bet my house there would be a squarebill crankbait on my front deck. It honestly doesn’t matter to me whether it’s cold, hot or somewhere in the middle; in my neck of the woods, a big bass will eat a squarebill at some point.

I’ve been fishing with a really cool shallow-running crankbait lately called the Strike King KVD 1.5 Hard Knock Squarebill. Most of us are very well aware of the popularity and effectiveness of the original model of this squarebill as it has caught millions of bass throughout the world. But this particular model is a bit different and based on my testing, it seems to excel when the bass are pressured.

I live on one of the busiest tournament lakes in the region and every single weekend this place gets inundated with fishing pressure. As a result, the crankbait bite has really suffered the past few years. I used to be able to smoke ‘em on a plug and it’s really tough for anyone here to catch a good one on a shallow crankbait.

This particular crankbait, however, has been an outstanding addition to my lineup. The Hard Knock sounds a lot different than most shallow-running squarebills on the market and the bass haven’t heard anything like it. When they’re pressured and it’s tough to get a bite, this crankbait has been a go-to for me.

bass fishing crankbait line tie

The oval line tie is a great feature

I prefer using an oval line tie whenever I’m throwing a crankbait. It’s not necessarily a must-have for me but it certainly is a creature comfort for me. Not only does it allow for a wider and more erratic, hunting action throughout the retrieve but it also helps me tie my Palomar knot a lot quicker. It might sound a little weird but a round-shaped line tie can be a bit annoying when you’re tying a quick knot because the line can get stuck where the metal meets and will get frayed after a few dozen casts. When you get a bite, you definitely don’t want your line to be compromised and cause some sort of structural failure.

Although it seems small, I think folks will really come to appreciate this small feature. It offers a lot of action and convenient line tying no matter your skill level.

bass fishing crankbait on bass fishing reel

Very cool colors

I don’t think shallow crankbait fishing needs to be a fashion show. I’ve tested a bunch of squarebills over the years that might look like a million bucks but when you actually fish ‘em and try to catch fish on ‘em, they don’t run well at all. They’ll spin out if you reel them in too fast, they won’t get through cover well and it just turns into more of a hassle than anything else.

With that being said, not only does these crankbaits work great and come through cover with ease… but they also look awesome. Just a quick browse through Tackle Warehouse unveils an impressive 25-color selection that covers just about any situation you can imagine. You can choose from all kinds of different crawfish variations, baitfish options and sunfish colors.

My personal favorite, as pictured, is the “Bully” pattern. In my opinion, I think it can mimic both a crawfish and panfish depending upon the water clarity which is a big weapon to have on your front deck.

bass fishing crankbait in hand

The perfect size

I think folks get a little carried away with crankbait sizes at times. It’s not always necessary to use a big bait to catch big bass. I like the size of this particular crankbait because it looks like several different types of prey. Profile-wise in dirtier water, it’s very similar to the size of a crawfish. In clearer water, the Strike King KVD 1.5 Hard Knock Squarebill Crankbait is very similar to the profile to a mid-sized baitfish or a two-finger bluegill (stick your index and middle finger out and put them together… big bass love to munch on bluegill that size). I think that’s why the 1.5-sized squarebills have been such big-bass producers over the years.

Unique sound that closes the deal

This crankbait doesn’t sound like every other plug on the market. I’ve tested nearly all of them if feels like and the sound it emits is unlike many others with which I’ve fished. It has a very pronounced “clack” sound if you can picture that in your mind. There’s no rattle to it like most of the other popular squarebills out there. If you make a cast and start retrieving the Strike King KVD 1.5 Hard Knock Squarebill Crankbait back to the boat, you can actually hear it as it gets close to you.

I wish I could come up with a more descriptive way to characterize this little plug but I think Strike King did a dang good job with the name. It definitely has a hard knock, as of course, the name implies.

If you’re like me and frequent fisheries that get pounded by unending fishing pressure, I’d strongly encourage you to check out this crankbait. It runs true out of the box, the oval line tie gives it a great action and makes knot tying easy and my gosh… the color selections are simply beautiful. If you’re having a tough time getting bites when everyone is on the lake, don’t be afraid to give this plug a shot. It is a catcher and I normally always have one tied on and ready to fish.

The Strike King KVD 1.5 Hard Knock Squarebill Crankbait is available at