Best Square Bill Crankbaits Reviewed: The Ultimate Pre-spawn and Early Fall Lure

When bass are actively feeding on crawfish in transition zones pre-spawn, or when they’re keyed in on shad and bluegill in the fall, it’s very hard to beat a squarebill crankbait.

Designed for a tight wobble that imitates the writhing wriggle of a small fish, they excite the eyes, ears, and lateral line of bass simultaneously, and the erratic darting action created when that big bill hits hard cover draws reaction strikes like nothing else can.

If your spring and fall fishing trips aren’t panning out as you’d hoped, it may be time to stock up on square bill crankbaits.

Below, we’ll review our favorites, explaining why they’re guaranteed to tilt the odds in your favor:

 

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Best Square Bill Crankbaits Reviews

Strike King KVD Silent Square - Best Square Bill Crankbait for Pressured Lakes

Strike King Lures, KVD Square Bill Silent Crankbaits, 2 3/4' Length, 5/8 oz, 2 Hook, Phantom Perch, Package of 1 (Model: HCKVDS2.5-464)

Amazon 

Size: 2” (⅜ oz.), 2 ½” (7/16 oz.), and 2 ¾” (⅝ oz.)

Depth: max 5’

Ideal use: Any visibility, high-pressure situations

Most of us fish lakes that are pressured by legions of anglers every weekend. In situations like that, a little finesse goes a long way.

Enter the Strike King KVD Silent Square Bill.

Designed with a tight wobble and a unique “hunting” action, this crankbait moves erratically even when there’s nothing hard to hit. When pulled through grass or along the edge of a live weedbed, it wriggles to announce its presence, running to a maximum depth of 5 feet.

Find a stump, some rocks, a blow down or other hard cover, and that fat bill demonstrates its value. Ideal for creating erratic deflections that trigger reaction strikes, the Strike King KVD Silent drops the internal rattle, offering greater finesse to avoid spooking wary bass.

Available in three sizes, I tend to prefer the larger size in spring, when lethargy makes big females lazy. Colors like “Delta Red” that mimic crawfish are hard to pass up pre-spawn anywhere bass forage for these nutrient-rich invertebrates, but in fall, I switch to brown options like “Orange Bream” that look and move like fat bluegill.

When I find bass in shallow water on a pressured lake, you better believe I reach for the Strike King KVD Silent Square Bill, and you should too.

Pros:

  • Excellent range of colors and patterns, with multiple crawfish, bluegill, and shad options
  • The lack of internal rattles is less likely to spook pressured bass
  • The big bill deflects easily off hard cover
  • Runs with a unique “hunting” action

Cons:

  • ???

Strike King KVD Rattling Square - Best Square Bill Crankbait for Aggressive Bass

Strike King KVD Square Bill 2.5 / Sam Rayburn Red Craw

Amazon 

Size: 2” (⅜ oz.), 2 ½” (7/16 oz.), and 2 ¾” (⅝ oz.)

Depth: max 5’

Ideal use: Any visibility, aggressive-feeding situations

The Strike King KVD Rattling Square Bill is just what you need when you’re all but alone on a lake or when a recent rain has colored the water to match your morning coffee.

Identical to the Silent version above, except that it features an internal rattle to increase vibration and sound, the Rattling Square Bill is deadly when bass need a little help keying in on your crankbait.

And like its quiet kin, this square bill sports that tight-wiggling “hunting” action, while deflecting erratically on impact with hard cover. 

When the bass are feeding aggressively, this is one of my favorite options.

In the spring, options like “Natural Red Craw” make a lot of sense to me. In the fall, I switch to “Natural Bream” or “Natural Pumpkinseed.”

In murky, muddy, or stained water, bright options like “Chartreuse Shad” are hard to pass up.

Pros:

  • Excellent range of colors and patterns, with multiple crawfish, baitfish, and shad options
  • Internal rattles make it easier for aggressive bass to find
  • The big bill deflects easily off hard cover
  • Runs with a unique “hunting” action

Cons:

  • ???

6th Sense Curve Finesse

6th Sense Curve 55 Finesse Squarebill Crankbait (Bluegill Spawn)

Amazon 

Size: 2.17” (⅜ oz.)

Depth: 1-3’

Ideal use: Low-visibility, high-pressure situations

The 6th Sense Curve Finesse is a small crankbait that catches big bass.

As its name suggests, it’s designed around a finesse presentation, downsized to entice a strike from wary bass and armed with a muted rattle that won’t scare fish even when you’re fishing behind another angler.

For me, the 6th Sense Curve Finesse is an ideal muddy, murky, or stained water crankbait for pressured lakes and rivers, and it’s a top choice for pre-spawn fishing in colors like “Boiled Crawfish.”

I’d probably prefer the Strike King KVD Rattling Square Bill when the bass are aggressive, but when they’re spooked, and the water isn’t clear, I think this is the better crankbait.

As you’d expect from 6th Sense, the paint jobs are simply awesome. The small bill allows this lure to dive to a maximum of 3 feet, and in shallow, low-visibility water, it moves with a tight wriggle and irritating darting on contact with hard cover make an easy pick for our shortlist.

Pros:

  • Excellent range of colors and patterns, with multiple crawfish, baitfish, and shad options
  • Muted internal rattles make it easier for wary bass to find
  • The small bill deflects easily off hard cover
  • “Hunts” while running true

Cons:

  • Best in low-visibility, high-pressure situations

Booyah XCS 2

Booyah XCS Series Silent Square-Lip Crankbait Bass Fishing Lure, Rayburn Red, 2 5/16'

Amazon 

Size: 2 5/16” (½ oz.) and 2 ¾” (⅝ oz.)

Depth: 1-3’

Ideal use: High-visibility, high-pressure situations

While every square bill crankbait offers tight wriggles, Booyah’s XCS is built for a unique side-rolling action that mimics injured baitfish like shad and bluegill, flashing a peek at the side and belly for an enticing reflection that bass see and home in on.

Ideal in clear water, especially in the fall when bass are seeing shad as a regular meal, this shallow-diving crankbait is murder around blowdowns, brush piles, and rocky bottoms, where its flash draws bass in for a closer look and its deflections trigger reaction strikes.

Like the Strike King KVD Silent, the XCS skips the internal rattle, providing a finesse presentation that’s perfect for bass that’ve been feeling the pressure all summer.

“Tennessee Special” is one of my favorite color options for a fall square bill, and if you find bass hunting shallow water before they retreat into the depths to overwinter, this crankbait can be magic.

Pros:

  • Excellent paint jobs and etched scale patterns
  • Offers a unique wobbling side roll that mimics injured baitfish
  • The lack of internal rattles is less likely to spook pressured bass
  • Deflects easily off hard cover

Cons:

  • ???

Yo-Zuri 3DB 1.5

Yo-Zuri R1352 SSH 3Db Crank 1.5 Squarebill (F) 60Mm 2-3/8', Multi, One Size (R1352SSH)

Amazon 

Size: 2 ⅜” (½ oz.)

Depth: 3-5’

Ideal use: Any visibility, high-pressure situations

No one doesn’t like a Yo-Zuri crankbait, and their 3DB 1.5 Square Bill is among the best options you can choose for your next weekend on the water.

When the trees are turning green and the water is clear, it’s very hard to argue with tying on a 3DB 1.5 in “Brown Crawfish.” With patterns that good, these shallow running square bills are tournament winners, bouncing, darting, and deflecting off any hard cover you can find.

On more open bottoms, Yo-Zuri’s “Wave Motion Technology” produces plenty of wobble and wriggle, with the occasional roll thrown in to up the ante on action.

For me, that makes great fall options like “Gizzard Shad” really pop, and just a bit of roll creates an enticing flash that summons bass from a surprising distance.

Where perch are plentiful and the visibility is less than ideal, I throw “Prism Chartreuse Perch,” but “Black Back Chartreuse” is a constant winner in my book. 

Designed without internal rattles, this is another example of a finesse square bill that’s more than at home in tournaments and on highly pressured lakes and rivers.

Pros:

  • Amazing range of colors and patterns
  • Excellent paint jobs and etched patterns
  • Offers a unique wobbling side roll that mimics injured baitfish
  • The lack of internal rattles is less likely to spook pressured bass
  • Deflects easily off hard cover

Cons:

  • ???

Rapala Balsa Xtreme BX Brat - Best Square Bill Crankbait for Snags

Rapala Balsa Xtreme Brat 06 BXB06BOC: Balsa Xtreme Brat 06 Bone Craw, 6

Amazon 

Size: 2” (⅜ oz.)

Depth: 3’

Ideal use: Snags, snags, snags

Most avid fishermen know that balsa crankbaits float up and out of snags better than the standard ABS plastic. But they also know that a few hard slaps on the water to clear grass, or a day of impacts with rocks and stumps, can chew a balsa crankbait to pieces.

Rapala’s Balsa Xtreme BX Brat offers everything you love about balsa with none of the downsides. A balsa core is coated in plastic to provide the best of both worlds, reducing snags while providing the durability to allow you to fish hard.

The unique shape of these little crankbaits wobbles well, and the small square bill offers the erratic deflections that make this a prime lure for tournament winners.

Rapala offers the usual patterns and colors. “Blaze,” “Delta,” and “Tamale” are excellent spring choices, while “Silver” and “Pearl Gray Shiner” are fantastic in the fall.

And for murky, stained, or muddy water, options like “Chartreuse Shad” are reliably able to help bass pick out your lure from the background.

But like Yo-Zuri, Rapala also offers some unique patterns and colors that you should check out, including “Carbon,” Homer’s Buddy,” and “Haymaker.” They offer that “something different” that can trigger strikes when the old standbys just don’t get it done, especially on lakes that are seeing a lot of pressure.

Better than any of the other options on our shortlist for working brush piles and tangled branches where snags threaten every cast, I’d have at least a few patterns of the Rapala Balsa Xtreme BX Brat in my tackle box.

Pros:

  • Amazing range of colors and patterns
  • More buoyant than ABS plastic, reducing snags
  • The lack of internal rattles is less likely to spook pressured bass
  • Deflects easily off hard cover

Cons:

  • ???

Final Thoughts

As any avid bass angler will tell you, square bill crankbaits are essential spring and fall lures. 

These tournament winners offer the action you need to make the most of pre-spawn and early fall fishing, and we’re sure that at least one of the crankbaits on our shortlist will be just the addition you need to improve your chances on the water.

As always, we’d love to hear from you, so please leave a comment below.

About The Author
Pete Danylewycz
Born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, Pete grew up fishing on the Great Lakes. Whether he's casting a line in a quiet freshwater stream or battling a monster bass, fishing is his true passion.