Lipless Crankbait Comparison Results

Well gang, we have the results of our small lipless crankbait contest. To refresh, our three contestants are the Spro Aruku Shad Jr.(our reigning champ), the Koppers Live Target Bluegill Trap and the ExCalubur XRK 25. We took them all out on the same day, the same body of water, the same weather conditions and threw them on the exact same equipment.

The reason that we chose the small version of the lipless crankbait is simple. At this time of year, in our area, they catch more fish!

Let’s start with the specific criteria that we were looking at to compare and contrast the performance of these baits. Casting ability, running depth, wobble, running angle, speed necessary to achieve the wobble, how quickly they stopped and re-started their wobble, what happened when the bait was at rest on the bottom of the lake and, of course, how well did they catch fish!

I thought that the Spro would easily outcast the the Koppers and the ExCalibur because it weights 3/8 oz as opposed to 1/4 oz for the two challengers. I was wrong. Even with the lighter weight, the Koppers cast as long as the Spro with the ExCalibur bringing up the rear.

While all these baits are sinking baits and require a moderate retrieve to keep them off the bottom, there is always a sweet spot, if you will, in terms of speed to maintain a consistent running depth. Here the ExCalibur won the day. It can be retrieved at a slower pace than either the Spro or the Koppers and stay fairly consistent in the water column. While we had to make sure to raise our rod tips when in skinny water with the Aruku Shad and the Live Target Bluegill, that was not required for the XRK 25.

We have outlined in our run-up to this contest, the sound that each of the baits make so let’s get on to the wobble. The XRK 25 has the tightest wiggle, the Aruku Shad displayed more wobble than the ExCalibur but less than the Live Target Bluegill.

The Spro has a definite nose down running angle while the ExCalibur is somewhat nose down. The Koppers however stays almost horizontal in the water during the retrieve.

As for the speed necessary to activate the bait’s action, all of our contestants get going quickly. The surprise came in the next category when we stopped and restarted our retrieve to see which bait responded the fastest.

Here, the Koppers got going again in less time than the Spro while the ExCalibur took by far the most time and distance to re-establish it’s wobble.

We have mentioned in our in-depth review that the Spro is a great bedding lure because it stays nose down on the bottom without falling over onto its side. The Koppers does stay up albeit not nose down. It more resembles the posture of a bluegill on the bed, resting on it’s belly. It can fall over but does a reasonable job of staying upright. The ExCalibur on the other hand, just tips right over without hesitation.

Now that we’ve gone over all that, let’s get down to whether or not these baits caught fish. The answer is, yes, they all caught fish. For that matter, since there are still stocked bow’s in the water, all of these baits managed to elicit strikes from them as well as bass. However, much to my surprise, the Koppers Live Target Bluegill caught more than either our champ or our other challenger. At least on this day, the bass seemed to either want the Koppers more, or it just p***ed them off more than either the Spro Aruku Shad or the ExCalibur XRK 25.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not ready to relegate any of these baits to the old tackle box way up on the shelf in the garage. You know, the one where all non-performing lures end up after that years spring cleaning and yes, this is just one day of fishing them.

However, if I was at the tackle store and had to make a decision to pick up only two of them, I would opt for the Spro and the Koppers. We’ll do in depth reviews of all of them in the very near future.

See ya’ on the water …


Add Your Comments

Buu says:

Live Target makes an awesome lipless crank bait, no doubt, it is obvious upon the first look! Other two are amazing lures, I demand I round two for this grudge match!!!

"The Kid" says:

When you come out here, you will definitely get a shot at the title!

Pops says:

Thanks Daniel, we enjoy pitting proven lures against new ones. We’ll be doing some more in the near future on other types of baits.

DanielR says:

Interesting comparison gentlemen! I mainly use Koppers and River2Sea cranks, but I always enjoy reading other evaluations.