You’ll never find a big bass that doesn’t like a good crawfish. It’s the fish’s favorite meal out of the many other fish and water critters the world has to offer.
With 30 million active participants in bass fishing, it’s important to find the best methods to up your game. It makes sense that you should use the best crawfish lure for bass when you’re out trying to catch them, right? Other lures may not be as effective, and below, we’re going to explain why.
Crawfish Lure Buying Guide
Here, we’ll go over everything you need to know about crawfish lures. After reading, you’ll be able to hit the market to choose the perfect one for your needs.
What Is a Crawfish Bait?
A plastic crawfish lure or crawfish bait is a lure that looks exactly like a crawfish, the preferred prey of bass around the country.
What they don’t know, however, is that it’s actually a soft-plastic lure designed to mimic the movements of a real crawfish. Ideally, you match the lure to your hook and line rig to maintain a realistic and functional appearance.
Species of bass from different regions prefer various kinds of crawfish. Like real crawfish, plastic lures come in several sizes, shapes, and colors to match the type of bass you’re fishing.
When To Fish a Plastic Crawfish Bait
You’re in the bait shop wondering, “plastic or live?” It’s a tough choice that many anglers deal with, and the answer depends on your preferences and how much you’re willing to spend.
To start, plastic bait is the cheaper overall option. While each lure typically costs more than a single live crawfish, you get way more uses out of plastic. Buying or foraging for crawfish every time you hit the water might not be affordable in the long run.
Further, plastic is easier to reel back before another cast. With live bait, you have to worry about losing the crawfish if you reel in too fast. If you only have a couple of hours to spare on your next fishing session, every second counts.
However, it’s just a fact that fish like live bait more. Your odds of catching bigger and better bass with a live crawfish are slightly higher than if you use plastic.
Why Use a Crawfish Bait Over Other Lure Types
Bass love eating crawfish. They’ve been doing it for millions of years, and they’re unlikely to stop even if they are attached to a hook and a hungry angler. That’s what makes the plastic lookalike bait work so well.
While you can still catch bass using other lure types, you won’t catch as many, and it will probably take longer. Crawfish are bass’ preferred prey. That means they’re more likely to go after a crawfish lure than another lure shaped like a different fish.
Also, just like there are so many types of bass, there is a wide variety of crawfish types from which to choose. Essentially, no matter what type of bass you’re angling, you can be sure that they’re into some sort of crawfish.
Rigs for Plastic Crawfish Baits
You might think that once you choose your crawfish lure, your job is done. You’re ready to go fishing, right? Wrong. Now, you need to figure out which rig type is best for the kind of fishing that you’re doing.
To answer all your questions about rigs, find a quick overview of the best rig types for crawfish lures below.
1. Texas Rig
Beginner and expert anglers alike for decades have used the Texas rig. It’s a tried and true method of threading a soft plastic lure that provides enough mobility while also increasing your chances of catching a fish.
Tying a Texas Rig is fairly straightforward. It involves threading a small, bullet-shaped metal worm sinker onto the line first, tying your hook, and attaching the lure.
You want to match the hook’s size and shape to the sinker to have the best chances of catching a fish. Generally, the deeper the water you’re trying to fish, the heavier your sinker should be. Also, lakes or ponds with thick vegetation might require a heavier rig as well.
2. Carolina Rig
The Carolina Rig is another time-tested method for catching a ton of bass. It’s a bit more complicated than the Texas Rig yet still accessible for beginners just starting off.
To tie the perfect Carolina Rig, you first need to line up a bullet-shaped or egg-shaped weight. Next, add a small bead and a swivel tie. Then, decide between a long or short leader depending on the water depth and current. Finally, tie a 3/0 hook or greater to the end and attach your lure.
Again, matching the hook size and sinker weight to water depth and conditions is the key to success with a Carolina Rig.
However, you also have to think about leader length as well. The longer your rig, the more chance it has of getting stuck on vegetation. You may have to tie it shorter than you’d like, even if you’re fishing deep waters.
3. Drop Shot Rig
If you’re looking for a versatile setup that you can use in shallow or deep waters, then the Drop Shot Rig might be the best option. It’s considered one of the most effective bass fishing rigs and is fast becoming the go-to setup for many people.
An effective Drop Shot Rig uses a 1-1/0 size hook, long leader, and heavy sinker. Unlike the previous rigs, you first tie the lure onto the line, following with the leader and a ball-shaped sinker.
The Drop Shot Rig’s shape helps the crawfish lure float more realistically than many other rig types. However, it might get caught in thick vegetation more often as well.
4. Shaky Head
Some bass are pickier than others, requiring a bit more incentive to get them onto your hook. To solve this, you can attach a Shaky Head hook and lure in addition to your crawfish lure. It helps bobble the plastic bait, making it seem more lively and attractive to finicky fish.
If your fishing spot is full of finicky bass and you haven’t had much luck, it might be time to switch to a Shaky Head. They’re good to use year-round in high or low-visibility and float pretty well in shallow or deep waters.
Remember, though, that you do have to match the color of the jig to your lure. Otherwise, the bass might think it’s undesirable prey, leaving it alone until you fix the issue.
Best Plastic Crawfish Baits for Bass
Without further ado, here are our top picks for the best plastic crawfish baits for bass.
Best Overall – Rebel Lures Original Realistic Crawfish Crankbait Fishing Lure
Our pick for the best overall is the Rebel Lures Crawfish Crankbait.
This is our favorite lure because of its realistic look and movable parts. It presents very well underwater, and you wouldn’t be able to tell that it wasn’t a crawfish if it weren’t for the line coming out of the end.
We think this crankbait moves much better in rivers and streams than other lures, and the moving tail helps reduce drag so you can reel it in more effectively.
Despite its complex design, this Rebel Lures Crankbait’s weight is ideal for deep or shallow waters. It is slightly heavier than most, meaning you can pair it with a lighter sinker and make it more functional.
While you can catch a ton of fish with this lure, it does tend to lose durability faster than softer plastics might. Proper storage and careful handling go a long way with this one. To be clear, this lure attracts larger fish; however, small fish love the shape of it, meaning you might catch a few more throwbacks than you’d like.
- Excellent mobility
- Great weight
- Below-average durability
- Attracts smaller fish
Best Runner-Up – Strike King Rage Tail Claw
Taking our runner-up spot is the Strike King Rage Tail Claw, an excellent lure with fantastic water movement and versatile setup options.
The Strike King’s small size doesn’t hinder its performance underwater. It moves quickly and creates soft turbulence along its path, just like a crawfish would.
If you need to switch up your rig but don’t want to switch bait every time, then this lure might be just the thing. It works well with a variety of rigs, including Carolina, Texas, and Drop Shot.
While many lures focus on the tail, this plastic crawfish bait features springy pincers that act realistically underwater. We loved how they flail about when they hit the surface!
The lovely pincers might act well when they’re attached, but it’s fairly easy for them to come off with enough casts or a single nibble. Luckily, this lure is pretty cheap, so you can grab a bunch at once.
However, anywhere with a current is likely to take this lure away pretty quick, so it’s better to fish on tranquil waters when you use them
- Size and shape is perfect for attracting bass
- Great for different rigs
- Lively pincers for realistic appeal
- Pincers aren’t that durable
- Not great for rivers
Best Movement – Yo-Zuri 3DB Crayfish Slow Sinking Lure
If you’re looking for a lure that looks and acts like a crawfish, then you might be interested in the Yo-Zuri 3DB Crayfish Slow Sinking Lure.
Compared to the other crawfish on this list, this Yo-Zuri has the best head, body, and tail design. It floats extremely well underwater, the tail moving as you reel it in.
This is an excellent lure for deeper waters because it sinks very slowly, catching the eye of every fish no matter how deep they may be. You can pair it with longer leaders and rigs to pump up this effect even more.
Large bass are especially attracted to this lure because of the movement and shape, while smaller fish generally avoid it because of its size. The colors on these lures aren’t as vivid as those shown in the pictures. However, they may still work fine for your purposes.
This doesn’t always happen, but the claws can occasionally get in front of the hook, which can potentially prevent some of your catches.
- Realistic body
- Slow-sinking for better visibility
- Great for big fish
- Colors aren’t as advertised
- Claws sometimes get in the way
Best Materials – YUM Craw Chunk Soft Plastic Bait Bass Fishing Lure
This thick and meaty crawfish lure is our pick for the best materials because of its durability and bass appeal.
Despite having a soft plastic body, this lure is large and thick enough to handle a few nibbles and uses throughout the day. Its size is also very appealing to bass who think they’re in for a hearty meal.
All of the parts and labor involved in making the YUM Craw Chunk came from the United States, so you can be sure of the product’s quality and consistency.
Because the body is hollow, this crawfish lure doesn’t sink so quickly that fish miss sight of it.
While still a benefit, the body’s thickness also makes this lure a bit rigid, making it move less realistically underwater. You will need more weight than the average lure to sink this one fast enough to attract any attention.
- Large body to attract big bass
- Fishes slow on the bottom
- Slightly rigid so isn’t as realistic
- May be too light, making it less likely to be seen while sinking
Best Budget Option – RUNCL Probite Craw Baits
Those of you looking for more bang for your buck should check out the RUNCL Probite Craw Baits.
Compared to the other lures in our ranking, the Probite Craw Baits are the most affordable per piece without sacrificing too much on quality. Because these lures are inexpensive, you can improve your bait color variety in your tackle box. That way, you can be prepared for whatever type of bass you want to fish.
Despite their small size, these lures’ big claws displace a ton of water, making them move more and appeal to bass that are further away.
You might find that these lures don’t last that long, but that’s not a deal-breaker when so many fish are into them. The big claws might be good for movement, but they do get caught in thick weeds and fallen branches a lot more than other lures might.
- They’re well priced
- Wide color variety
- Big pinchers are realistic
- Below-average materials
- Get caught in vegetation
We’ve mentioned several great options above that are likely to get you the catch you’re aiming for on your next fishing trip. By mimicking the movements and look of a bass’s favorite treat, you’ll be pulling them in without hesitation.