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Lure Review

Wintertime Bass Fishing with the Live Target Crappie Lipless Cranks


Date: 11/23/14
Tackle type: Lure
Manufacturer: Live Target
Reviewer: Zander

Total Score: 7.96 - GOOD

Got the wintertime bass blues? Finding those quality bites harder and harder to come by? Maybe it is time to put away some of those wide wobble crankbaits and reach for a good old fashioned lipless crank. Only in the case of the Live Target Crappie calling this bait "old fashioned" might not be accurate as the company puts a new spin on an old formula. Let's take a closer look at the Live Target Crappie Series to see if this bait has what it takes to get you to put down some of your favorite traps to try something new.


Live Target Crappie 70SK Specifications

Type Crankbait
Diving Depth


Length 2 3/4 inches
(65SK model is 1 1/2 inches)
Weight 5/8 ounce
Material Plastic
Hooks Daiichi
Colors 5
Original Made in China
MSRP $11.49

Impressions: There are a lot of good lipless crankbaits out there and my go to baits have typically included the Lucky Craft LV500, Strike King Red Eye Shad, and of course the good old fashioned Rat-L-Trap. These four baits have accounted for over 80% of the fish I have ever caught on a lipless crank, and like so many other baits once I became confident with them there was little reason for me to experiment with new baits that resided outside my arsenal.

Live Target puts a new spin on the lipless crank with their juvenile crappie imitators

But what if adding a new bait could increase both your strike and catch rate? Which is exactly what Live Target sought out to do by creating a series that introduced a more realistic looking Crappie design than anything else on the market. While there are other lipless crankbaits out there that exhibit quality finishes there isn't any bait on the market that can quite match the realism that Live Target brings to the table when it comes to imitating a juvenile crappie.

These baits feature incredibly realistic finishes

Quality/Construction: These baits not only have a very distinct profile, complete with a thin tail and protruding fin design, but the high quality detailed paint finishes that Live Target has become known for. These are some of the most realistic looking lipless baits you can find and feature scale patterns, 3D texturing, and detailed paint finishes that really bring the lure's to life. 

The matte version may look a little dull outside of the water but once in the water it comes to life and is preferred on cloudy and cooler days

Overall construction and hardware on this bait are above average and unlike many other lipless crankbaits these bait's come with high quality Daiichi hooks that are good enough to fish with right out of the box. If you targeting any fish bigger than largemouth, like Stripers for example, than you will still want to upgrade to a thicker wire hook.

Each bait comes armed with Daiichi hooks

While all of the Live Target bait's feature the same basic layout there are five different patterns to choose from which include Metallic Gloss, Natural Matte, White Crappie, Yellow Matte, and Yellow Metallic.

Quality Ratings for Live Target Crappie 70SK Crankbait

Finish (1-5)
Detailing (1-5)
Hardware (1-5)
Craftsmanship (1-5)
Rating (= Tot/Pos * 10)

There are two sizes to select from with the 65SK (2 1/2") and the 70SK (2 3/4"), and though they are almost the same length the 70SK has a much wider profile. Matching the hatch is important when fishing lipless cranks and there are enough sizes and patterns in the Live Target Crappie for anglers to be dangerous, though a larger, and heavier, lure would be a welcome addition for fishing those really cold days when you need to get in front of deeper holding fish. 

At rest and during retrieves the bait goes nose down, which also helps it effectively deflect off structure

Performance: We have been fishing this bait for over 18 months on a variety of different bodies of water from California to Wisconsin. While we did fish these baits in warmer conditions we logged many more hours on the water with the Crappie in the cooler months when we typically turn to lipless baits.

Notice how narrow the tail is on the bait, one more realistic attribute

As with other crankbaits the deeper you want to fish the more likely you will want to tie on the larger bait. This also provides an opportunity to use heavier lines with less stretch, though I personally love fishing lipless baits with braid to better transmit vibration, contact and strikes. I found the Crappie to be a pretty tight wiggler, which is what you want in a lipless crank, especially in cooler water when fish prefer something more subtle than a wide wobbling billed hardbait. 

Next Section: Making those retrieves count...









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