By: Steven Narup
When you hear the word crankbait what is the first thing that comes into your head? When I hear the word crankbait, I think of a round billed diving lure that can be fished in all sorts of different situations. In this article, I am going to talk about crankbaiting, and what it can do for you.
Crankbaits come in all sorts of different shapes and sizes. They come in long versions such as a stick bait or jerkbait that dives down,Yo-Zuri, Smithwick, Rapala all make good baits like these. Crankbaits also come jointed in lures such as the Jointed Rapala. The most common form of a crankbait is the rounded bait. Many people even use lipless crankbaits like Rat L Trap, which can produce nice fish for you in winter as well. Crankbaits even come in floating, sinking and suspending models.
The colors that cranks come in are endless. They come in imitations of baitfish such as baby bass, perch, shad, and even crayfish. They even come in a wide variety of other colors as well that do not necessarily represent a baitfish. One of my favorite color crankbaits is called Mistake, this lure is made by Bandit.
When I fish a crankbait, I prefer a six and a half to seven foot medium heavy action baitcasting rod. I favor a slow gear ratio reel such as a 3:2 retrieve. When picking the proper line keep in mind that the wider the diameter of the line the less depth you will gain with your lure. I use 10 to 12 pound monofilament when fishing a crankbait; unless I am fishing thick cover then I will go to a 15-pound monofilament. I really like some of the lines that Berkley has to offer.
Now letís get into fishing the bait, I for the most part crank with the round body crankbaits, I really like many of the baits that Bandit produces. There are many different ways to fish these as well. Several ways to fish them are to just reel the bait in, you can give the bait a stop and go retrieve, or you can even jerk the crank with your rod. When trying to figure out a good crankbait pattern it is best to try a few of these retrieves to see what the fish wants.
When you just reel, the bait in you can use the bait as a searching tool. With this method, you can cover water quickly and you can feel what is on the bottom of the lake.
I normally do a moderate reel retrieve speed to cover water quickly. If the bass are sluggish, try to slow down the bait to give them time to catch the bait. When you fish the crankbait with a stop and go retrieve you reel in the you stop reeling in momentarily, most of the time the fish will take the bait when you pause or right before you start it up again. This can be a deadly approach if done at the right times. Last technique of fishing a round bodied crankbait is to jerk it like a stickbait. All you do is get the bait to its maximum depth then you make quick snaps with the rod tip.
At times, a lipless crankbait can put a quick limit in you boat. There are many different versions of these baits. I really like the bait that Bill Lewis makes itís called the Rat-L-Trap. Just like the rounded crankbaits, there are a few different ways to fish these flat baits as well. Just a few are to just reel it in jerk it like a jerkbait or even yo-yo it. Reeling crankbaits in is the easiest way for a beginner to fish these baits. When you yo-yo the bait you should let the bait sink to the bottom, then you lift your rod tip up and pick the bait off the bottom and then let it sink down again. I do not know what the bass think it is but I personally think that this technique imitates a wounded shad or a crayfish.
Jerkbaits too can be a top producer at times, There a bunch of different ways to fish these as well. You can just reel the bait in, you can jerk it, and this is how the bait got its name. These lures come in Floating suspending and sinking versions. With the sinking and floating models, the bait will dive a few feet under the surface. With the suspending jerkbaits, I like to give my rod a few quick snaps to get the bait down then begin reeling it in. When you just use the bait with a jerking technique, I usually give the bait a few hard snaps then I shortly pause and keep doing this to give the bait an erratic side-to-side swimming action.
When I fish a crank bait I like to find weeds and rip the bait in and out of them, this usually will cause a reaction strike. I even fish the diving rounded baits around wooded timber, when the bait hits off the wood it will dart in one direction also causing a reaction strike. Even just fishing the bait out in the open can produce at times, spring and summer can be two of the hottest times to fish a crankbait this way. You can even found isolated clumps of grass and just tick the tops then rip the bait, hard, this most often causes a reaction strike from the bass.
Deep cranking is also a fun task to do. When doing this I like to get the deepest diving bait out possibly a bait that will dive twenty to thirty feet down. I like to be able to kick up the mud at the bottom. This can catch nice size large and smallmouth bass. This technique is mostly used when the water temperature drops during the colder periods of the year such as early spring, late fall and winter.
Crankbaits are great baits and can be used in many different ways, as you have seen above. At times, they will be the best lure in your box, you just have to find out the best time to use them. So long, for now and until next time have a great day out on the water.
Tight Lines and Good Fishing!