Hard Baits

Shallow & Squarebill Crankbaits

Find out everything you need to know about how to use shallow diving and squarebill crankbaits for bass fishing to help land your next monster bass!

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Fluoro Mainline


Braid Mainline


Mono Leader


Recommended Rod & Reel

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Medium, Medium-Heavy

Shallow & Squarebill Crankbaits


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Shallow Diving Crankbaits Squarebill Crankbaits

Shallow Diving and Squarebill Crankbaits are among the most popular artificial lures used by bass fishermen in the United States and beyond. They are usually reeled in very quickly so they’re ideal for covering large bodies of water in a short space of time. 

Crankbaits come in a number of different types, so it can be difficult to know which ones to choose. You will find all kinds of sizes, shapes, weights, colors, and lips. When deciding on which crankbait to use, the lip size is important to consider because it determines the diving depth. In most cases, the bigger the lip, the deeper the dive. 

This guide will focus on shallow diving crankbaits and tell you everything you need to know about what they are, what setup to use, the best techniques to use, and the best products on the market. 

What Are Shallow Diving Crankbaits?

A shallow diving crankbait or squarebill crankbait lure is a fishing lure made from plastic or wood. They are designed to mimic the appearance and swimming action of small prey like crayfish or baitfish. They’re useful in a variety of different fishing locations, including lakes, rivers, and reservoirs. That’s why they are a popular choice among bass fishermen everywhere. 

Shallow diving crankbaits usually have a lip size of 0.5 inches or no lip at all. This allows them to dive anywhere between 3 and 10 feet into the water. Lipless crankbaits typically connect to the line from the top of the lure instead of the nose or the front, as is usually the case with other types of lure. This method of connecting to the line means that the force of the water pushes the lure downwards during retrieval. 

With floating crankbaits, you use a throw and retrieve method. However, shallow diving crankbaits allow bass fishermen to use different methods that are more active. Using a shallow diving crankbait can help you entice fish that wouldn’t otherwise strike. 

Best Shallow Diving Crankbait Setup

Getting the right setup for your shallow diving & squarebill crankbaits is key if you want to be successful. When it comes to choosing a rod, it’s important that you get the right weight. If you go for something too light, it will feel like you’re casting out a heavy rock. But if you go for something too heavy, the lure will feel too light and you will struggle to maintain accuracy. So, go for a medium to medium-heavy rod. When choosing the action of the rod, go for medium-moderate to medium-moderate/fast. This gives you enough stiffness to feel the bite properly but not so much power that you rip the hook out of the mouth or miss bites altogether. 

You have a bit more flexibility when it comes to choosing a reel. However, most experienced crankbait anglers use a reel with a gear ratio of 4:1 or 5:1 to slow the lure and give more power for reeling in big bass. Look for something that offers a lot of line capacity because you will be making long casts when using a shallow diving crankbait. 

shallow diving crankbaits squarebill crankbaits

The diameter of the line that you choose has an effect on how deep the lure will sink. If you are fishing in shallow waters and you don’t want the lure to sink too much, you can use a heavier line. Alternatively, some bass fishermen experiment with finesse crankbaiting using smaller crankbaits and lighter lines, but this method can be very difficult. 

When selecting crankbaits, the color is very important. On sunny days, when bass are going after bait fish like shad or minnows, silver or chrome crankbaits perfectly mimic them and entice more fish. On cloudy or rainy days where visibility in the water is likely to be reduced, white crankbaits show up better so the bass don’t miss them. In very stained or muddy water, bright colors like orange will help the bass find your bait. 

How To Fish Shallow Diving & Squarebill Crankbaits

Once you have the perfect setup, you can start working on your technique. When fishing with shallow diving crankbaits, letting them sit for a few seconds before retrieval is an excellent technique. When you cast a crankbait, you should aim to hit the bottom of the lake or a rock. As it deflects, it gives the impression of an evasive maneuver and this catches the attention of the bass. You should then let it sit for a few seconds to allow the fish to catch up and bite. This is an especially good technique in shallow waters because it helps you avoid snagging. 

Alternatively, you can use a strong retrieval, catching up slack technique. Cast out and then instead of reeling in slowly, pull sharply to the side with your rod. Then, reel in the slack and repeat the process. This causes the crankbait to move through the water quickly, then pause before moving quickly again, mimicking the erratic action of a fish. 

In very shallow waters, you can use a shallow diving crankbait that sinks lower than the water level. This allows you to sit the bait on the bottom and stir up silt, which can lead to more bites. However, this is quite an advanced method so you should wait until you are experienced with other crankbait fishing methods. 

For a shallow dive, you should hold the tip of your rod high to suspend the crankbait at the right height. When looking for a place to cast out, it’s best to aim around structures. Most bass will wait for prey to pass by, so if you hit your strike zone near a structure and then mimic the actions of a fish, you will get a lot of bites. 

When To Use Shallow Diving Crankbaits

The reason that shallow and squarebill crankbaits of all kinds are so popular with bass fishermen is that they are good in a lot of situations. The majority of locations are crankbait friendly, but there are a few exceptions to be aware of.

Ponds and lakes that have a lot of tall vegetation can cause problems with snagging, so consider using a different type of bait. 

tips for squarebill crankbaits

Shallow locations are ideal for shallow diving crankbait fishing. You need to be careful about where you cast to avoid the heaviest cover and prevent snagging, but if you can position your crankbait well, you will get lots of bites. 

Shallow diving crankbaits are particularly good for targeting underwater structures. Bass tend to gravitate towards these locations, so there is a lot of potential for bites. Using the right shallow diving crankbait allows you to sit the bait in the water at the perfect height. It’s important that you know exactly how deep your crankbait will sink so you can position it perfectly. 

In most cases, fish tend to be more active and faster moving in the summer because the cold weather makes them lethargic. So, in the Spring and Summer, you can use fast reeling crankbait fishing techniques. However, fall is usually the best time to use shallow diving crankbaits. This is when the bait fish are at their most active and the bass are chasing them. So, if you mimic them with a shallow diving crankbait, you will get plenty of activity. 

Best Shallow Diving & Squarebill Crankbaits

Strike King KVD 1.5 Shallow Squarebill Crankbaits

Strike King have a reputation for quality and their KVD 1.5 Shallow Square Bill Crankbait certainly delivers on that. The square bill design creates a unique hunting movement motion, so the crankbait is constantly moving erratically and mimicking the actions of a real fish very closely. It also deflects brilliantly off cover, enticing the bass to strike. The KVD range comes without a rattle for a silent approach in waters where the bass are quite skittish. 

Catch Co Bubonic BUGZ Shallow Diving Square Bill Crankbait

This Bubonic BUGZ square bill crankbait is built around two excellent quality Mustad triple grip hooks that will catch anything that bites. The design is amazing too and the innovative printing methods make it look incredibly realistic. It also has a built-in rattle that will attract bigger fish. They’re built to last and they come in a variety of colors, so all good bass fishermen should have at least a few of these in their tackle box. 

Rapala Jointed Shallow Shad Rap 7 Fishing Lure

The Rapala Jointed Shallow Shad Rap 7 Fishing Lure has a unique jointed design to create more motion and an exaggerated rattling noise as it moves through the water. This perfectly mimics a wounded bait fish in distress, which draws in a lot of bass looking for an easy meal. Although it may not be the most subtle crankbait you can buy, it certainly gets results. 

JOHNCOO Crank Baits Fishing Lures Shallow Deep Diving Floating Swimbait

This well-designed JOHNCOO crankbait is built with the United States market in mind, so it’s the ideal choice. The high-quality ABS plastic is incredibly durable, making this crankbait a mainstay of your tackle box that will serve you well for a long time to come. The bright colors make it particularly good in murky waters and the built-in rattle will attract plenty of big fish.

All good bass fishermen need to have a stock of shallow diving crankbaits in their tackle box. These are some of the best options on the market to help you significantly increase your catch. 

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