Product Spotlight:Best Hard Bait Lures, Stickbaits, Crankbaits There are so many different types of crankbaits, jerkbaits, and stickbaits on the market you can get lost on what you need to get, or distracted by all of the different colors and styles that it’s hard to make a decision on just the right ones. Each style has it’s own unique purpose. Whether it’s to cast farther, or to get down deeper, or get some more action out of the lure, they all have a purpose, and chances are you will select many different styles so you are ready for different fishing situations and type of fish you want to target. Crankbaits and jerkbaits are very popular among bass fishermen. They are made to imitate prey for predatory type fish. They can be made of plastic, a composite material like foam, or wood, with the wood lures being more expensive. To me, I catch fish on every type of crankbait, so I do not have a preference. What I’m looking for is the shape, and motion of the lure, and the bill or lip shape and size of the lure. But let’s walk through each of the different types real quick. Stickbaits, Crankbaits, Jerkbaits MaterialsWoodWood crankbait type lures are a risk, unless you go with a name brand that you know and trust. Some of the problems with buying wood crankbaits is that they can sometimes crack and split, on the lower end brands. I have had it happen to expensive ones too. If you buy six lures, chances are that one of them won’t work very good, except for the really good brands. I wouldn’t discount them entirely, however, as there are really good brands out there, and there are a lot of really awesome ones made by fishermen that build them out of their garage as part of a small business. Read the reviews, before buying any wood lures, to make sure that you don’t see a problem with other customers having issues with the quality or durability of the lures. Wood obviously come from trees, and trees have different density and aren’t all the same, so they are all going to be just a little bit different in their motion as they are pulled through the water. PlasticA lot of crankbaits made today are made from different kinds of plastics. The advantage of using plastic is that they will be the same weight, well balanced, running attitude and vibration, and usually are less expensive to make. They also work really great with added rattles in many of the models on the market today. The extra rattles can draw in the fish from a distance and entice them to strike. They can also crack or split, like wood lures, but instead of cracking under normal use, they will crack when you hit them against a rock or hard surface while casting. This doesn’t happen too often, so it is my preferred choice of material for my crankbaits, jerkbaits, and stickbaits. CompositeComposite materials can consist of a lot of different materials, but the most common material is compressed foam. Foam is super tough and will last through just about anything. My biggest complaint about foam baits is that even though there is a lot of capabilities with the use of foam, but most of the companies that start up to make foam baits don’t spend a lot of money on research and development, or investment in the product at all for that matter. There are a few companies that are better at it than others, but read the reviews before buying from a lure brand that is previously unknown to you, or not recommended by a trusted source. If you find one you like, they are usually cheap enough to take a risk, but buy one or two before you invest a lot of money into them to make sure they do what you want them to do in the water and don’t swim all funky. Crankbaits, Jerkbaits, Stickbaits Bills or LipsThe crankbait bill, or lip, is an important feature for the lure. It can change the action, or wiggle of the lure, and change the depth of the lure dramatically. Some of them are even lipless, or have no bill. Types of Bills or Lips: •Square Bills•Diamond Shaped or Wedge Bills•Rounded Bills•Lipless (No Bill)Square BillsCrankbaits with square bills are best used in the shallows from 1 to 4 feet deep. You can also run a crankbait with a square bill over submerged objects and structures, as well as some types of weeds and vegetation, and it will just bump around and not get snagged, as often. Diamond Shaped or Wedge Shaped BillsThe diamond shaped bill on a crankbait is very similar to the square bill crankbait. It will deflect off of submerged objects and heavy cover, and it will also run shallow, but it can dive deeper than the square bill when it is retrieved at a faster pace. Rounded BillsIf you are looking for depth, and not fishing in a lot of cover, then the round bill is the way to go. The bigger the bill, the deeper it will go. Some round bills can dive up to twenty feet deep, and the really big bills can dive up over forty five feet. The round bills will run true right out of the box, with no adjustments needed. Lipless Lipless crankbaits dive very shallow, and are used to cast up into the shore lines, or up along the shore from the bank without getting snagged. Striper fishermen also use these in the delta in areas of shallower water that the big hogs are hiding. Body StyleThe true purpose of a crankbait, stickbait, or jerkbait can be seen in it’s body style. They come in all kinds of shapes and sizes. CrankbaitsCrankbaits are shorter, and have a much fatter body, while jerkbaits and stickbaits have a long and slender body. A crankbait usually has two treble hooks, while jerkbaits and stickbaits will typically have two or three. A crankbait is meant for bass of all types, as they will dive deep with tightly contained but rigorous action. Sure to entice a big bass to come up out of the structure and weeds that they hang in, to strike. They are small to medium sized to mimic a nice snack for a predatory fish. Jerkbaits Jerkbaits don’t have as much of a variety in the types and lenghts of the bills, because of that they are more for casting, and fishing in the top three feet of water. They work great in shallow water, and along the shoreline of creeks, ponds, and lakes. They allow you to not dive deep and get hung up on vegetation and structures in the water. StickbaitsStickbaits are typically longer and can be slender or thick. These can be shallow or deep diving, and work the best for trolling for big lake trout mackinaw, or stripers, as well as brown trout, rainbows, and many other species of fish. Stickbaits are made to look like medium sized fish that predatory fish will go after for a larger meal, and because of their aggressive nature will also go after them when they are angered by them. The jointed types of all styles provide more back and forth action to get more attention, and added rattles inside the lure will get more attention in murky waters. Summary - What are they Best for?Shallow Waters: JerkbaitsShallow to Medium Waters: Jerkbaits and Smaller or Lipless CrankbaitsMedium to Deep Waters: CrankbaitsTrolling Shallow, Medium, or Deep Waters: StickbaitsIf you are new to stickbaits, jerkbaits, or crankbaits, it’s a good idea to just pick up a couple of different styles in different colors to find the ones that you like the best for the type of fishing that you do. Most fishermen will fish both shallow and deep waters during the course of the year. Using the rights lures at the right location at the right depths will ensure your fishing success, and limit the frustrations and cost of constant snag ups. CHASEBAITS FRILL SEEKERLIVETARGET CRAWFISH CRANKBAIT FIRE TRUCK REDLUNKERHUNT JERKBAITYo-Zuri Crystal 3D Minnow Jointed Deep DiverNomad Design DTX MinnowRapala Dives-To Crankbait LuresMegabass Vision 110 Jerkbaits LuresWarriors Tackle Supply - Fishing Lure Gift PackOne Time Purchase or Monthly Gift SubscriptionDisclosure: This post is brought to you by the Mendenhall Outdoors team. We highlight products and services that you might find interesting. We frequently receive products free of charge from manufacturers to test. This does not drive our decision as to whether or not a product is featured or recommended. If you click a link on this page, then go on to make a purchase, we might receive a commission – at no extra cost to you, and does not impact the purchase price of any products that you may purchase.