Squarebill Crankbait Shootout

I hope this will help you with your shallow cranking and understanding of how to fish a squarebill crankbait.

The squarebill crankbaits were chosen between a price range of $5.99 - $19.99. The evaluation will be graded by 1 to 5 stars, with 5 being a perfect (best) score. Evaluations will cover price, color selection, hooks and function. Companies represented this year are Livingston Lures, Megabass, Bill Lewis Lures and Strike King.

Function

Megabass S-Crank 1.2 and 1.5: A unique profile is the first thing I noticed about this lure. Lay downs and stumps are what this bait does the best with its ability to “hunt.” Due to the sharp nose, bill design and angle, and body shape it has a great swimming action that will draw more strikes from both cover and open water. This bait is good to go throughout the year.
Rating: 5 Stars

Livingston Lures Primetyme 1.5: Livingston Lures is the only crankbait company, so far, that utilizes electronic baitfish sounds. With EBS MultiTouch Technology, you can choose between no sound or EBS craw, EBS shad and EBS original. In testing, the 1.5 model ran very shallow compared to other lures in this Shootout. Over all, the action was good. For lay downs and stumps, the bait was average when used around this type of structure. Fished over emerging grass, this lure really shined. Winter, spring and fall are the best times to utilize this bait.
Rating: 4 Stars


Strike King 1.5 and 2.5: If you are fan of bass fishing, you have heard of this crankbait. Kevin VanDam made it famous by winning a Bassmaster Classic with it. You can run this bait shallow and down to six feet pretty easy. It has a tight action and comes through lay downs and stumps okay. It is an all-around good shallow crankbait. It’s a good lure to use all year, except in very cold water.
Rating: 4 Stars


Bill Lewis Lures Echo 1.75: Its unique shape and rattles are the first things you will notice about this bait. It ran well and went through lay downs and stumps better than average. It has a wide wobble and with its sound chamber it would be best suited for late winter, early spring, fall, and for shallow night time cranking. This bait is deadly on grass fishing.
Rating:  4.5 Stars


Color Selection

Megabass S-Crank 1.2 and 1.5: They have a decent selection of colors that cover most bait fish patterns. I suspect they will introduce more colors this summer, since this bait is still rather new. Their finish appears to be top quality with great detail.
Rating: 4 Stars

Livingston Lures Primetyme 1.5: Another decent color selection, but the company is always looking to update. Finish appears to be good with great detail.
Rating: 4 Stars

Strike King 1.5 and 2.5: Strike King has the best color selection of all the companies tested. The finish can vary between large runs as they are produced in huge numbers due to demand. If not for that reason they would have been rated 5 stars.
Rating: 4 1/2 Stars


Bill Lewis Lures Echo 1.75: Bill Lewis Lures have a decent color selection with good attention to detail.
Rating: 4 Stars

Hooks

All baits I tested where satisfactory to good. It really comes down to personal preference of what you call a good hook.
Rating: 4 Stars for all

Cost

Megabass S-Crank 1.2 and 1.5: Coming in at $19.99 suggest retail, this would likely be a turnoff to the average, weekend warrior angler. However, most of the time, you get what you pay for; the S-Crank performs the best overall. For lay downs and stump fishing, this bait is a must-have for serious anglers.
Rating: 3.75 Stars


Livingston Lures Primetyme 1.5: Livingston comes in at $16.99 suggested retail. Again, this would probably turn off some anglers. But with its EBS technology, it's not a bad deal when you consider buying a bait-sound unit for around $400. Plus, this bait does perform well in a variety of conditions.
Rating: 4 Stars

Strike King 1.5 and 2.5: Strike King lands around the $5.99 retail price. It runs good and has the best color selection.
Rating: 5 Stars

Bill Lewis Lures Echo 1.75: With a suggested retail is $7.99, the Bill Lewis Echo performs good and sets itself apart from the other baits in certain fishing applications.
Rating: 4 1/2 Stars

If you’re into shallow cranking, having one or all of these baits in your collection would be a great asset. Give these them a try and see for yourself which one suits your style of shallow water cranking.

Get Your Fish On.

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