The Evolution of Lipless Crankbaits in Ice Fishing

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Although the word is out, lipless crankbaits are still a relatively new phenomenon for multi-species ice fishing. We’ve caught scores of bass, walleyes, crappies and even bluegills on these productive baits thanks to the wide range of sizes, shapes and colors.


Perhaps nobody knows this as well as Tony Roach of Roach’s Guide Service who bases his operation on Minnesota’s famed Mille Lacs Lake. Roach explains how lipless baits like the Rapala Rippin’ Rap and Slab Rap have become year-round tools for a variety of gamefish and especially so on famed big fish waters like the Bay of Green Bay, Lake Winnipeg and Lake of the Woods.

He details his go-to rod, reel and line combo for fishing lipless crankbaits for walleyes, with emphasis on the importance of a braided mainline to a fluorocarbon leader for maximum action, sensitivity and hook setting efficiency. He points out some key differences in body profiles and sound attributes between a couple leading baits and when to use each based on the conditions.