I don’t claim to be the best in the crankbait field but I have made some observations that I would like to share. Thinking over it all, I find that I fish the crankbait the best in the spring and fall. In the summer, I usually fail to put it together unless it is a shallow cranking bite.
There are many great crankbait products. I like most of them! Generally I use the ones that are most effective when fishing grass beds and rock structures. There are three baits that I primarily use for this. The first is a custom made Persuader Stealth Shad 200 series; the only change I made to the bait is change the swivel to an oval type. The second bait is a Rapala DT6. Again I changed the swivel to the oval type. Also with the DT I like to take a small wire brush and wear the paint job up a little. The third is a Bandit 200 series. With it I like to use a maker to add some red to the gill line if it is not all ready there. I have been changing the hooks to Mustad’s if it does not come that way. Most of the time I will make the front one red. I am also doing some experimenting with making my own. I will order bait bodies and necessary components from surplus dealers like Stamina (www.staninainc.com). By purchasing the components myself I can build the crankbait for the exact condition I might be in.
When out on the water I feel that it is important to carry several different hook sizes and some suspending dots to change the dept of how my bait runs. By changing the size of a hook it will change the way the bait reacts in the water. Occasionally I prefer to have the head of the bait float up faster than the tail. The suspending dots help dictate the position of the bait in the water when it is stopped. I can never predict what situation I will be fishing in so I try to be prepared for anything.
While fishing crankbaits I like to use three different rods a 6′-6" medium action casting rod, 7′-0" medium action casting rod and a 6′-6" medium light action spinning rod. The 6′-6" medium action rod is for crankbaits that run at dept of 0′ to 8′. The 6′-6" length allows me to make more accurate casts if needed. The 7′-0′ medium action rod is for crankbaits that run from 8′ to 20′. The long length allows me to make long casts for clear water or maybe get the bait down deeper. The 6′-6" medium light spinning rod is used for fishing small crankbaits like a 1/4oz or less. I feel that the small crankbaits are often over looked for the effectiveness that they play on the tuff days.
There are a several things I demand from a crankbait. The first thing is that it run true after tuning it from the package. Some baits need to be tuned after taken out of the package. This can be done by bending the eye right or left a slight bit to get disered line. The second would be bill design. If a bait does not violently deflect from cover then I am not interested. The third is a Mustad Triple Grip Hooks I was sold on them after having one stuck in my hand. The fourth is the paint job. Many baits look good when they are moving, but if you stop the bait it needs to look unique to get the fish to commit.
I believe a key to deep or shallow water cranking is making my bait different from all the other anglers that fish there. Making some sort of change to my bait can make the difference on those places that are constantly under pressure. For example getting a bait that will just barely knick the top of the weed bed will probably work better than one that is six inches above. This is where I might change a line size or hook size to move the dept that the bait travels in the water. I feel that it is very important to contact something with my bait in order to trigger a strike. Even when fishing wood I try to get my bait in the nasty stuff. It is hard for me to fight the urge to cast away from the cover do to getting snagged. Most baits have bills on them that will help deter them from getting snagged. I try to use one with a coffin bill. They seem to work the best in most cases.
FishforFree2.com, Sqworm Tackle, Ambush Lures, Persuader Lures, Hart Tackle, and Feather Ridge Turkey Calls.com.