Ultimate Bass

Crank Baiting Heavy Timber Situations

Several people will know that my favorite lure to fish is throwing crank bait, and my favorite place on the lake to fish is the thickest cover I can find.  Now, many times I have fished with folks whom think I am crazy to fish a crank bait in this type cover but this can be one of the very best methods to throw a crank bait.

The reason to fish a crank bait in heavy cover is to show bass something different.  You want to trigger a fish into biting that’s already seen every thing else in your opponent’s boat.  These fish have been seeing worms, jigs and spinner baits all day long.  Fishing heavy cover means that there will be nasty thick cover to fish.  One of the very first things to look at is the line you are fishing.  Usually if a person climbs into my Bass Cat they will notice that for a guy from central Louisiana, I have some really light line on my rods.  I typically fish crank baits on 8-12lb line with most of the time having 10lb XXX P-line or Berkley Transition on my rods.  However on days that I fish the timber with crank baits, I will pull out my special rod called Betsy. Betsy is a 6’6” Quantum med-light action rod with a 5.1:1 ratio reel rigged with 17lb XXX P-line.  This heavier line makes this nasty cover a little less likely to cause break-offs due to frayed line.  The second key factor is to match the crank bait to the depth of water you’re fishing, or more importantly, the bill of the crank bait you are throwing.  Shallow running square billed crank baits will deflect off the limbs and snags of the trees and brush your fishing.  The third key to fishing crank baits in heavy cover is the retrieve.  You want to make as much contact with the limbs as you can.  Crank bait bites are reaction bites and nothing will cause more reactions on the bass’s part than the quick sudden moves of the crank bait careening off the limbs.  And rather than simply winding it back, fish the crank bait almost like a worm.  Walk the crank bait thru the cover, gently pulling the rod tip up taking up the slack line with the reel, and then do it again.  Finesse it just like a worm.  That way you gain control and lots of feel.  A steady cranking retrieval will result in hang ups and snagging in the brush.  The steady cranking is what usually makes the crank bait a great lure but fishing in heavy cover is a different story.  The final key in my cranking equation is the hook set.  Let the fish set the hook.  If you do a sweeping hookset or a hard hookset in the timber you will find some fish.  More than likely you will find some serious hang ups.  By letting the fish load up on the lure, you will have a less likely chance of jerking into the wood of the timber.  By not showing fear of hang ups and a love for the crank bait, you can use this technique to catch some great stringers in pressured water by showing them bait that they typically would never see.

 Chris Megee

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