At the beginning of the year, I had decided that since crank baits were my nemesis, I was going to dedicate to them and learn how to catch bass with them. It didn’t take long after I set my mind to it, to start catching fish on a regular basis. In the past, I never really gave them a chance. I’d make 10 or 15 casts to likely spots, and when they didn’t produce I’d put it down. I wouldn’t pick a crank bait up again until it was time to load the rod locker for the trip home.
Now, that I am catching fish with them, there are a few obvious reasons why I did not in the past. First and foremost was, anytime I got near brush or timber, I would instinctively pick up a spinnerbait. If that didn’t work, next was a jig and finally a soft plastic. Never did it cross my mind to try a crank bait in a place that I might hang it up. Well come to find out these can be some of the best places to work a crank bait. I know, believe me, I know, crank baits today are expensive, and the thought of purposely casting a $10-$20 lure someplace that you may not see it again is tough to do.
With the advances in today’s crank baits also comes advances in rods and line, with a correct rod and proper line for the application you can feel the brush and logs as your bait comes in contact with them allowing you to slow your retrieve to let the bait float out. That said, contact is key to triggering strikes. So, if you want to catch fish on crank baits, you have to get over the fear of losing them. What worked for me was getting on a bite that you had to hit the cover to draw a strike, so you could crank the bait down to cover and then use your rod to pull your bait through the cover, in doing this you could feel every limb and then BAM fish on!
Making enough presentations to know whether or not a crank bait was going to work was another issue for me. I’m a flipper, pitcher, puncher! I like to get close to cover and grass and work it over. Hitting every little cranny and crevice before I decide whether or not that was the proper technique. I’ve been known to go over the same area with a different bait or weight just to make sure, sometimes that works sometimes it doesn’t. I never looked at crank baits that way. If I pull up to a dock, I might make 20-25 casts, flips, pitches, to that dock before moving to the next one. With crank baits, I make one cast down each side and one across the front and move on. Very not effective! I have learned that you need to make several casts at docks, especially ones with pylons, working your bait at a variety of angles to the cover available. I have made several casts across the front of a dock without a bite, then because of a loop a make a long cast out in front of it; by the time I get the bait back to the edge of the dock it is running at a different depth and I get bit. Just like when flipping a jig, sometimes bass want a slow fall sometimes they want a fast fall. With a crank bait, you can use a deep diver in shallow water as a pattern or a shallow diver in deep water. Fish sit at different levels in the water column, and it’s our job to find that level.
I’ll have more thoughts on Crank baits in the future, but for now I just wanted to throw some ideas out there to help you get started along with me. I have a long way to go in this journey, and I’ll keep you posted.
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