If you’re not using miniature crankbaits to cover water and locate bluegill, you are missing out on a fun and effective way to find fish.
In this article, I’ll cover the 5 best crankbaits for bluegill…trust me you want a few of these in your tackle box.
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Table of Contents
Rapala Ultra Light Rippin’ Rap
The Rapala Ultra Light Rippin’ Rap is a panfish-sized lipless crank perfect for bluegill fishing. It comes in two sizes: size #03 is 1-⅛’’ and 1/16th oz, and size #04 is 1-½’’ and 3/16 oz. Naturally, the smaller size will be better suited for targeting bluegill.
Like most other lipless cranks, this sinks fairly fast. It vibrates fast and rattles as you retrieve it. Sinking lipless baits, such as this, are incredibly versatile because you can fish them at almost any depth with ease.
Fishing the Rippin’ Rap is easy. Just cast it out, let it sink to your target depth, and start a steady retrieve, but if you want to get a reaction strike you can change things up.
This bait is designed to be ripped, hence the name Rippin Rap. Let the bait fall then give your rod a quick snap up to rip the bait. Lower your rod to let the bait fall again and repeat. This quick aggressive action will often trigger fish to strike even if they aren’t hungry.
Lipless cranks like the Rippin’ Rap are especially versatile, so they can be fished almost anywhere. They are effectively used as a search bait to cover water along grass lines. If you catch some grass, just give the lure a strong rip to shake the grass free.
This lure catches a ton of fish, but it has one big disadvantage. Lipless cranks snag very easily, especially around hard structure, so avoid using them around hard snags like submerged trees.
That being said, sometimes snagging is inevitable, so I’d recommend getting more than one. You don’t want to find yourself without a lipless crank when you need it.
Yo-Zuri Snap Bean
The Yo-Zuri Snap Bean is a unique ultralight crankbait, and it’s a great choice to target bluegills! Its design and action is best compared to a squarebill crankbait but downsized to a panfish level. This bait comes in one size; it’s 1 inch long, 1/16th oz, and slow sinking.
This lure is simple to use. Just cast it out and start reeling. Add in some short pauses and twitches to mix things up.
This retrieve is especially effective if you pause next to some structure. Many bites will come on the pause because the bait sinks slowly like an injured minnow.
It sinks slowly, so it excels when used in shallow water. For this reason, it will be especially useful if you’re fishing from shore or don’t have access to deeper water. Pond fisherman will find the Yo-Zuri Snap Bean especially useful to target bluegills.
Eurotackle Z Cranker
If you’re looking for an ultralight diving crankbait, you need the Eurotackle Z Cranker. This crankbait is 1.5 inches, 1/8th oz, and dives up to 5ft deep. It’s perfectly balanced and works great for bluegill.
The Z Cranker has an incredible side-to-side wobble diving action on the retrieve. Use this crankbait on a medium-slow retrieve. Add some short pauses into your retrieve, because this lure floats slowly on the pause. The pause often triggers a strike from a curious fish.
This crankbait is best used in deeper water, at least 5 ft or more, so you can get the most out of the diving action. Use this crankbait in open water around schools of baitfish like threadfin shad.
The action of this crankbait is enhanced when it hits the bottom or other hard structures. You can feel this bait deflecting off rocks and wood. That deflection often triggers a reaction bite.
Rapala Ultralight Shad
The Rapala Ultra Light Shad is another diving crankbait perfect for bluegill fishing! This crankbait is 1-½’’, 1/8th oz, and dives to 5 ft.
At first glance, this lure seems pretty similar to the Eurotackle Z Cranker, but there is a major difference. The Z cranker is a slow floater and the Ultra Light Shad is a slow sinker.
Also, the ultralight shad has a more slender profile and works better fished at a fast retrieve than the Z Cranker.
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Rebel Teeny Wee Crawfish
If your fish are eating crawfish, you should throw The Rebel Lures Teeny Wee Crawfish. This lure is a realistic crawfish crankbait. It’s an old-school classic that is popular for trout and smallmouth in creeks, but it’s also perfect for bluegill.
The Teeny Wee Crawfish is only 1-½’’ in length and 1/10th oz; it’s the perfect size for all panfish. It comes in a regular and deep model. The regular model dives to 3 ft and the deep model dives to 5ft.
To fish this crankbait effectively, keep the lure running on or near the bottom, like a real crawfish. Crawfish live in lakes, ponds, rivers, and creeks, so you can have confidence fishing this crawfish crankbait almost anywhere.
Honorable Mention – Eurotackle Z Viber
The Eurotackle Z-Viber is a really unique bait worthy of an honorable mention. Although they are best suited for crappie and perch fishing, they have earned a reputation for catching some of the biggest bluegills, through the ice and in open water. This is the crankbait I pick up when I’m in search of some trophy-sized panfish.
The Z-Viber is like a cross between a blade bait and a lipless crankbait. It comes in three different sizes suitable for bluegill fishing. There is the 1/8th oz, the 1/16th oz, and the micro which also weighs 1/16th oz. Fish this lure with a rip and fall action for big bluegill and crappie.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can You Catch Bluegill On A Crankbait?
The wobble and action from a crankbait is an excellent way to catch bluegill. Cast and retrieve the crankbait in open water, adjacent to weed lines and structure to find staging bluegills.
How Fast Should You Reel A Crankbait For Bluegill?
To effectively fish a crankbait, you should reel at a speed that entices a reaction strike. This may be slow, medium, or fast depending on the type of crankbait and fish in the area. Experiment with different speeds to determine which is producing the best action or ‘wobble’.
What Type Of Line Should You Use For Crankbaits?
A fluorocarbon line is best for crankbaits, because the line sinks, unlike traditional monofilament. This allows your crankbait to reach its maximum depth and creates less surface drag on the water.
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