Best Crankbaits for Shallow Water

Fishing in shallow creeks, ponds, or rivers can be productive if you have the right bait. A crankbait is a good choice when you’re targeting larger fish that live in shallow waters, such as largemouth bass, walleye, or trout. To catch those fish, you’ll need to find the best crankbait for shallow water fishing

Comparison of the Best Crankbaits for Shallow Water

Crankbait FAQs

There are many crankbaits to choose from to attract fish, including fish found in shallow or “skinny water.”

1. What is crankbait?

Crankbait is a type of lure that moves in the same way that a target’s food does. Bigger fish eat smaller fish, so a crankbait usually have a lip that helps it move like smaller species of fish. They also look like fish to try to fool their target. 

Tackle box with fishing lures
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They have hard bodies with hooks, usually treble hooks, attached to them. The lip that helps it dive is on the underside of the head of the bait and the tow line, where the fishing line ties off, is on the top of its head. 

2. How does shallow water crankbait work?

Crankbaits have two categories, those with lips and those without lips. Lipped crankbaits always have a piece of plastic or metal on the underside of the head that helps it dip, dive, and wiggle like a fish. It helps attract the attention of a larger fish.

Lipless crankbaits are easy to spot because they don’t have the lip on the underside of the bait’s head and there is a tow point on top of the head. They can move like smaller fish due to their internal weight and their interior structures. 

3. Where can you purchase crankbait?

Gray fish caught by fishing
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Any store that sells fishing gear should have a variety of crankbaits available for shallow water fishing. Fishing in shallow water is challenging, so many fishing enthusiasts like to go after the type of fish found in low water conditions.

Crankbaits are also available online at Amazon, eBay, and fishing websites that sell lures.

How We Reviewed

To help readers find the best crankbait for fishing in shallow water, we read about crankbaits, their features and how they work to find those that do the best job in water less than four feet deep. Then after reading about them, we also read testimonials and reviews to finalize the list for the best choices. 

Overall Price Range for Shallow Water Crankbaits

Fishing rods and lures
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Let’s be honest here, it’s pretty impossible to give a realistic price range for crankbaits. There are hand-made, or limited run, baits which can be extremely expensive, and assembly-line baits made all over the world that vary in price as well.

We’ve included images and “check price” buttons of each of these baits so that you can easily see the prices, in real time, as well as any shipping or handling that may be an issue with that bait.

Crankbait Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose Shallow Water Crankbaits

When choosing a crankbait for fishing expeditions, considering these three factors can help you buy the right ones:

  • The depth that you’re fishing
  • Temperature of the water
  • The bait’s color and profile

The Depth You’re Fishing

Whenever it’s possible, choose a lure that will go just a little deeper than the water in which you’re fishing. So, if you are fishing a depth of four feet, choose a bait that will go five to six feet deep to change the bait’s depth occasionally to have more success catching fish. 

Fishing reel casting
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The best way to determine how deep a crankbait can go is to look at the bill or lip. The larger it is, the deeper the bait can go. So, if you are fishing shallow water, look for crankbaits with small lips or bills.

Also, crankbaits without lips are shallow diving baits so that you can use them in shallow rivers, lakes, and streams. 

Water Temperature

During the months when the water is colder, you’ll want to choose a crankbait with a tight wiggle. How do you determine the size of their wiggle? Their size determines it; the smaller the bait, the tighter the wiggle. The larger crankbait has more erratic behavior, which is suitable for fishing in warmer water. 

Color and Profile

Did you know that fish can distinguish color? In dirty water, use a bright color, so fish can see and strike at the bait. During the warmer months, consider crawfish colors and patterns if you’re going after bass as crawfish is what they like to eat.

Bluegill patterns work well in weedy, shallow water such as lakes. Also, try to match the size of the fish you see to the crankbait. If the fish is larger, try a larger lure. If you can’t see the fish, start smaller, and move up in lure size.

Assorted fishing hooks and baits
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When fishing with crankbait, move the lure quickly and erratically. Small fish like shad or crawfish are trying to escape being a meal, so they move erratically to escape their predators. 

Best Crankbait

To help you find some great crankbait to fish with, here is our list of great crankbaits. 

LotFancy Fishing Lures Crankbaits from Sizes 1.57 to 3.66-inches

LotFancy 30 PCS Fishing Lures Kit, Topwater Lures Crankbaits, Minnow,...

This set of crankbaits offers a variety of lipped and lipless crankbaits for fishing bass and walleye, as well as other shallow-water fish. 

Key Features

This 30-piece crankbait set features baits of all sizes and colors. They come with stainless steel hooks underneath the bodies or on their tails. The lipless baits have tow points usually on the top of their heads, but some of the baits have them on their tails. The lipped baits have tow points at the lips.

The design of each of these crankbaits gives them a lifelike appearance. They have three-dimensional eyes with high-resolution details on the body in an assortment of colors. These plastic lures have a wide range of uses, such as fishing in shallow water, or for both salt and freshwater fish. 

They include gravity balls inside the body of the crankbaits to attract fish with their noise. The rattle is low frequency and makes them sound as lifelike as they look to other fish. This set of lures has both shallow water and deep-diving baits, so you get a variety that will work for different water depths.

LotFancy 30 PCS Fishing Lures Kit, Topwater Lures Crankbaits, Minnow,...
  • 【30pcs fishing lures】 This fishing lures set includes Minnow, Popper, Crank, Rattlin. Sizes from 1.5 to 3.6 inches,...
  • 【High Quality Materials】Fishing baits adopt sharp stainless steel hooks, 3D lifelike eyes, High resolution body...
  • 【Wide Range of Use】Vivid color plastic fishing lures will attract both freshwater and saltwater fishes including...

Pros and Cons

This list will briefly describe the pros and cons of these baits.

Pros
  • Good variety of crankbaits for fishing
  • A carrying case is available
  • Lifelike baits
  • Cost breaks down to less than a dollar per lure
Cons
  • An information guide is not available with baits to help beginning anglers
  • Smaller than they appear online

Rapala Rattlin 05 Fishing Lures

Rapala Rattlin 05 Fishing lure (Baby Bass, Size- 2)

The lure in this package is a single crankbait that is available in a variety of color patterns.

Key Features

This crankbait is lipless, so it fishes shallow water, and it’s available in several color patterns to lure fish. Some of the color patterns include bass, bluegill, shad, and crayfish patterns. Also, they have BBs inside of the bodies to mimic the sound of real fish, which also acts to attract predator fish.

The bait has a balanced design and can run fast or slow, depending on how you move them in the water. The lures cast out a long way and dive when they get into the water to mimic live bait. They come with black nickel treble hooks and tow points on the head. This small bait only measures 2 L x 1 H x 0.4-inches W.

Rapala Rattlin 05 Fishing lure (Baby Bass, Size- 2)
  • Great action at slow to very fast retrieve rates.
  • Sinking
  • Long-Casting

Pros and Cons

Here are some of the good and bad points about this crankbait.

Pros
  • Lifelike movements
  • Sinks slightly when in the water
  • Rattles to attract fish 
  • Variety of patterns available
Cons
  • Lipped options are not available
  • Drags slightly in the water

Bassdash SwimPanfish Multi-Jointed Lure

Bassdash SwimPanfish Multi Jointed Panfish Bluegill Swimbaits Topwater...

This crankbait lure is also known as swimbait. It is jointed to give the bait more realistic swimming action.

Key Features

This crankbait doesn’t have a lip, so it is suitable for more shallow waters. The color patterns vary from Bluegill to Sunfish patterns in a variety of colors. Along with single fish, they are available in packages of four or six. 

The baits consist of an ABS material, so they are durable and can handle fighting fish and bouncing of logs or rocks. These are suitable for shallow water fishing at depths of one to three feet. Each fish has six segments to give them a side to side swimming action, so they look realistic to predator fish.

These hard crankbaits have two treble hooks underneath the body to better hold onto bass and other fish while they are fighting your line. 

Bassdash SwimPanfish Multi Jointed Panfish Bluegill Swimbaits Topwater...
  • The high quality hard swimbaits made of ABS material can withstand the wear and tear from fighting fish
  • Cranking with topwater depth from one to three feet
  • The 3D bluegill is 6-segment jointed to enhance the life-like swimming action, which causes the lure to swim in a...

Pros and Cons

Here are some good and bad points regarding this bait.

Pros
  • Jointed for realistic swimming action
  • Available in a variety of colors and patterns
  • Lipless, so they are suitable for shallow water fishing
  • Available in multi-packs
Cons
  • No lipped options
  • Sinks quickly in the water

Rapala Ultra-Light Minnow

Rapala Ultra Light Minnow 04 Fishing lure, 1.5-Inch, Chrome

The Rapala lure is an ultra-light minnow crankbait that fishes at depths of two to three feet.

Key Features

The minnow bait has an ultra-light body that is weighted to sink slightly and swim realistically when you’re reeling in the line. It’s wobbly, rolling action and bright colors will attract predator fish, and it has realistic three-dimensional eyes and external scales to help fool fish.

It measures 2 1/2-inches long and weighs 1/8th of an ounce. There are two sets of number eight treble hooks underneath the body with a tow point in the same place as the small unique lip. The bait is available in a variety of colors and patterns like a rainbow trout or yellow perch. 

Pros and Cons

This list of positives and negatives can help you decide if it is the best crankbait for your tackle box. 

Pros
  • Narrow profile for shallow water fishing
  • Available in a variety of colors and patterns
  • Realistic look and swim action
Cons
  • No rattling to attract fish
  • It’s not available in multi-packs

Strike King KVD 1.0 Square Bill Crankbait

Strike King HCKVDS1.0-514 KVD Square Bill 1.0 Chrome Sexy Shad

Strike King has an excellent reputation among anglers who fish shallow water.

Key Features

This bait is suitable for fishing in water with a depth of two to four feet. Bassmaster anglers who’ve had this bait in the competition have won with it, so it has a great reputation among amateur and professional fishing enthusiasts.

It has a mid-length lip with the tow point laying right above it. The small body measures one inch in length, and it has a realistic design, with erratic action to attract predator fish to strike it. It is available in three colors:

  • Sexy Shad
  • Brown Craw
  • Yellow Pumpkin Craw

Even though they are similar to each other, the crawfish cost slightly more than the sexy shad model. Each model has two sets of treble hooks, one that’s underneath the body and one on the tail.

Strike King HCKVDS1.0-514 KVD Square Bill 1.0 Chrome Sexy Shad
  • Department Name: Unisex-Adult
  • Material Type: Plastic
  • Sport Type: Fishing Boating Camping & Hiking Outdoor Lifestyle

Pros and Cons

Consider this list of pros and cons when considering this crankbait for your tackle box.

Pros
  • Suitable for shallow water fishing
  • Realistic look and movement to attract predator fish
  • Available in three colors
Cons
  • No rattling to attract fish
  • Price variations for similar models

Brand

Model

Lipped or Lipless

Length

Weight

Diving Depth

Material

Hook Type and Size

Rattles

LotFancy

Crankbait Set

Both

1.57 to 3.66 inches

0.10 to 0.28 ounces

Various

Hard plastic

Two sets treble hooks, various sizes

Yes, gravity balls

Rapala

Rattlin 05

Lipless

2 x 1 x 0.4 inches

0.6 ounces

Less than five feet

Hard plastic

Two sets if black nickel treble hooks, #5

Yes

Bassdash

SwimPanfish

Lipless

3.5 inches

0.85 ounces

One to three feet

ABS Plastic

Treble hooks, #6

No

Rapala

Ultra-Light Minnow

Lipped

2.5 inches

0.125 ounces

Two to three feet

Hard Plastic

Two sets of treble hooks, #8

No

Strike King

KVD No. 1 Square Bill

Lipped

0.5, 1, and 0.5 inches

0.48, 0.3 and 0.48 ounces

Two to four feet

Hard Plastic

Two sets of treble hooks, sizes unknown

No

The Verdict

After researching these five models to find the best crankbait, we decided that the LotFancy set was the best choice of crankbaits, especially for young anglers or adults just beginning the sport. The lures are an excellent way to start filling any tackle box.

We also loved the Rapala Rattlin 05 crankbait, as the brand is highly reputable, and many satisfied fishing enthusiasts love it.

Featured image by mirandableijenberg via ​Pixabay.

Janice Friedman
 

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