Square bill crankbaits are one of the best ways to generate reaction strikes from bass in shallow cover environments. You can fish them around grass edges, dock pilings, stumps, logs, or other vegetation or brush types.
Heavy fluorocarbon line should be used when fishing Square Bills in heavy cover to avoid nicking and damaging your line. At the same time, a medium-heavy rod with moderate to fast action works perfectly when bass fishing with Square Bills.
What is a square bill crankbait?
Square Bill Crankbaits are shallow diving baits with square-shaped lips designed to deflect cover and structure more effectively than their rounder counterparts. Used primarily in shallow to mid-depth water environments with wood, rock, or grass cover as they excel at deflecting cover more effectively than their more typical rounded counterparts.
When fishing a square bill crankbait, your line must stay tight. Treble hooks on these baits are susceptible to getting caught in cover such as heavy grass or rip-rap banks; to prevent this from happening more frequently use heavier lines like 15-20lb fluorocarbon, as this increases its abrasion resistance and decreases any chance of hook tangling in cover.
When fishing a square bill crankbait in thick grass, patience and slow work of your lure are crucial for success. Make sure that its square bill makes contact with grass while deflecting off cover so as to produce irregular movements of a deflection off cover that could trigger bass into biting! When targeting hard cover such as rocks or dock pilings, however, faster and twitchier tactics should produce response strikes more readily.
What is a square bill crankbait good for?
Crankbaits can perform better and draw fish into striking, depending on their lip shape or bill. Square bills have an unique design that allows them to break off cover without becoming lodged, prompting many bass to strike at them.
Lake Guntersville offers both natural and artificial cover, such as hydrilla, milfoil, coontail, lily pads, primrose, and “gator weed,” all popular targets of largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, and spotted bass alike. Square-bill crankbaits work especially well when fishing these areas and other lakes with similar cover characteristics.
Fishing for bass requires using a rod with medium-heavy to heavy power ratings and moderate fast taper, to allow longer casts, faster fishing action, and tight line when hooked by bass. You also want one with moderate bend for staying on the bottom when fishing around cover such as boat ramps, riprap banks or standing timber.
What fish will hit a square bill crankbait?
Square-bill crankbaits are effective tools for targeting bass in heavy cover or on structure. Their square bill provides for better banging action against rocks, wood, and dock pilings without getting stuck – often prompting strikes from bass nearby.
Square-bill crankbaits can be fished around branches in dense vegetation such as hydrilla, milfoil, coontail, or lily pads; docks; trees/stumps; riprap banks and flooded boat ramps are also suitable.
A square-bill crankbait should feature either a bright shad or crawfish pattern in its box based on the time of year and water temps. Shad patterns work best in clear water while crawfish patterns may work better when bass move shallow for breeding or feeding on crustaceans. Some anglers switch up tactics when temps drop to increase strikes – for example using dark colors when fish become reluctant or fearful and switch back when temps increase! – and vice versa.
Where do you fish square bill crankbait?
Square bill crankbaits feature sharp corners, making them ideal for banging against cover like rocks, wood, and docks without getting caught up. In fact, its disruption caused by striking against cover often triggers fish to strike!
Square bill crankbaits offer another advantage by being suitable for fishing in shallower waters than other crankbaits can, making them perfect for targeting grass, brush, riprap, and other forms of cover in both clear and stained water conditions.
When fishing square bills in heavy cover, it is best to utilize thicker line. A thicker line will help avoid getting snagged up while offering increased abrasion resistance and improved casting accuracy.
When fishing a square bill in deep cover, its bait must reach the bottom. This will allow a proper hook set and reduce any chances of snagging.
When should you throw a Square bill crankbait?
Common wisdom holds that square bill crankbaits are most effective during the pre-spawn, spawn, and post-spawn periods when bass move the shallow cover to feed, breed and protect their fry. But these baits can also be useful when fishing along riprap, brush piles, and over vegetation such as swamped bushes.
Veteran Alabama bass guide Tim Chandler can often be found fishing year-round for clients and usually keeps a square bill crankbait in his tackle box as part of his arsenal. Tim explains that it is one of the best methods for quickly covering large areas quickly when looking for bass in shallow waters.
He advises using heavier lines than normal because you will likely hit cover often with your lure, potentially nicking the line and making retrieving at higher speeds more effective. He suggests 20- or 25-pound test line, as this will allow the bait to maintain optimal depth at higher speeds while being retrieved more aggressively off structures and cover. Square bill crankbaits’ aggressive lip deflects off structures more easily than round bill models do, providing optimal depth performance when retrieving faster.
What are the advantages of square bill crankbaits?
Square bill crankbaits offer many advantages for bass fishing, such as their wobbling hunting action and ability to deflect off cover to trigger reaction strikes. They’re especially effective at targeting bass near shallow cover like grass edges, rocks, wood ledges, flooded brush piles, or dense vegetation.
Sharp corners on a square bill allow it to hit against surfaces like rocks and branches without becoming stuck or caught, prompting fish to attack it aggressively.
Square bill crankbaits carry extra weight, giving it the power to run deeper and faster than its conventional round-bill counterparts. This enables anglers to target deep-water bass and those holding on ledges during summer months. Due to this additional heft, these lures should typically be fished using a heavy fluorocarbon line in 15 to 20 lb test for increased abrasion resistance when fishing in areas prone to snags.
How to Fish Square-Bill Crankbaits?
Square bill crankbaits can be effective tools in fishing any cover and structure, from grass edges, riprap banks, and stumps to rocks and hard bottoms. Squarebill crankbaits can also be used to search out shad or crawfish lurking under heavy vegetation and as an attractant bait to draw strikes from bass hiding deep within thick cover.
Square bills deflect off rocks, stumps, and other structures more aggressively than their round-off edges, helping displace water more effectively while creating a strong wobble that attracts fish.
For optimal Square-Bill fishing, ensure that the lip contacts as much cover and structure as possible to maximize deflection. As such, when fishing a Square-Bill the lip must make contact with as many surfaces as possible to maximize deflection – this requires using heavier line than typically required when crankbaiting (typically 15-20 lb fluorocarbon is ideal) to provide increased abrasion resistance when fishing snag-ridden environments.
Tips for using a square bill crankbaits
Square-bill crankbaits excel at chugging through rough cover like rocks, brushpiles, dock pilings, stumps, and flooded timber. Additionally, they’re effective around eelgrass flats and vegetation. If a particular piece of cover appears to be holding bass, don’t be intimidated to cast to it repeatedly – big bass may claim ownership over certain sections and be put off by your lure passing too closely by their face!
Square bill crankbait fishing requires a medium to moderate-heavy rod and reel with an initial gear ratio between 6.3:1 and 7.3:1, giving anglers maximum control over their bait’s action, particularly in stained to muddy water conditions. Randall Tharp relies heavily on square bills with shad-patterned designs in the fall season, favoring white ones in clear conditions and chartreuse ones in stained or murky waters. He prefers fishing square bill crankbaits over rocks like riprap, shallow rock bars, break walls, and chunk rock banks. Additionally, he often targets flooded boat ramps, hard-bottom banks, and areas lined with laydowns for maximum success. When fishing during colder months, he likes to vary his retrieve with some pauses or speed changes for a maximum surprise when fishing over lethargic bass. This often brings them striking.