I had the pleasure to spend Monday fishing on Lake Powell, Utah with Dakota Gotcher and Jon Holland who work at the SEBILE lure company based in Colorado. On Tuesday, Russell Gray of SEBILE also joined us.
We spent the first few hours Monday in Wahweap and Warm Creek trying to troll up stripers or pull some bass out of the shoreline brush with little to show for our efforts. So we motored to the back of Last Chance Canyon and tried trolling (to no avail) for stripers there. A handful of boats were back there peppering the shoreline with lures for bass. They were penetrating the outside edges of the brush, but weren’t taking their boats deep into the brush in order to hit the shoreline sheltered within the brush beds. So I took my boat into the brush in order to fish the shoreline within the cane beds that wasn’t being reached by the other boats back there.
Key was wherever rock slides or rock points entered the water along the shoreline within dense brush. Depth was only a foot or two in those places, but there were several nice largemouth and a lone wolf walleye using the shoreline rocks embedded within the brush as their base of operations.
Our lure of choice for this was the SEBILE Crankster MR 65. This fat crankbait has a short square lip and deflects sharply, shooting wide to the side whenever it hits brush. As you watch it, you’ll see it shoot way out to the side quickly when it deflects away from brush. In this way, the Crankster avoids most brush, recovering and getting back on track. In especially thick brush, if it can’t shoot far enough to the side to go around brush, so it has no alternative but to come up and over brush, then it will roll over onto its back to do so. You’ll simply see the lure belly color as it goes up and over brush, and that puts the hooks on top of the lure momentarily, helping it pull through brush without snagging. Once it gets through and arights itself again, you’ll see the Crankster’s back color again.
To fish a treble hook crankbait in cover, I use nothing less than 20 lb test line and a powerful rod. We used 20 lb test braided line with 20 lb test Yamamoto Sugoi fluorocarbon leaders (about 6 feet leader length).
Practice makes perfect, and with a little self-training, you can learn how to fish brush all day long without hardly ever snagging with the SEBILE Crankster MR 65. I know a statement like that may be hard to believe by some, but it’s true. Once you get adept at this tactic, you’ll be amazed how snagless the Crankster can be. There’s definitely a knack to ripping the rod tip and therefore the lure sharply the exact instant whenever you feel it bounce brush. That kind of gets it ricocheting off the brush before it has a chance to bog down in it. On the other hand, if you don’t learn to develop this knack, you may spend a lot of down time retrieving the Crankster stuck on brush. It’s hard work to fish this way, but rewarding.
On Tuesday, we went out to Gunsight Bay for a few hours and we repeated our results using the Crankster in brush there until the wind and whitecaps got too bad.
Most productive Crankster colors were Natural Shiner and Holo Greenie. Then again, those were the only colors we tried, and they worked, so why change?
The Crankster MR 65 has a very noisy rattling sound – you can hear it rattling in the water from far away.
It has a large free-floating tungsten bead inside the belly. When casting, which in this brushy situation really means underhand pitching within the dense brush fields. the large tungsten bead rests in the very tail tip of the Crankster as it dangles below the rod tip. This makes it as easy to pitch and as accurate to place as a flipping jig. In fact, we were pitching it to any rocks or other attractive-looking spots in the brush fields, pitching the Crankster exactly as you would a flipping jig, and then reeling it in and ricocheting it off the rocks and against the brush as we swam it back out to the boat. Most pitches were 20-30 feet in length to close-by targets. Fish were not using the brush alone, but were keying off rocks or sudden small depth changes or any other object or irregularity in the brush potentially had holding fish on it – but brush alone didn’t seem to do the trick. There needed to be some other reason, like a rock, for a fish to be there. Again, we got the boat inside the brush beds so the boat was deeper into the brush itself than where we had seen that most other anglers were casting their lures at the outskirts of the same brush beds a while earlier. Then we tried to find rocks mainly, but any other focal points along the shoreline that bass would use as ambush points. If you see rocks, obviously fish there. However, if you also see an unexplainable open area within the brush, that too may mean rocks (even though you don’t see them) or a hard bottom of some kind so that brush won’t root or grow there – there could be rocks there, even if you can’t see them.
We did catch fish on a few other models of SEBILE lures also, but the Crankster MR 65 bouncing through the brush was the one that brought us most of our luck this trip.
By the way, don’t think you can do powerfish this way with the smaller size SEBILE Crankster MR 55 – you can’t. The MR 55 is more of a smaller finesse crank that’s perfect for less strenuous fishing conditions.
Story by Russ Bassdozer