Thursday, August 28, 2014

Crank Baits

I'm going to tell you up front that I'm not a big crank bait man.   Sure I use them from time to time and I've even won some tournaments throwing them, but they just aren't my fishing cup of tea so to speak.  Do I own crank baits?  Sure there are always some crank baits in the boat but you won't see me throwing them every time I go fishing.  You might ask then why have any at all, which is a good question and why I'm writing this piece.

Crank baits do have their uses in the manner in which I approach fishing.  That is especially true in the late summer and early fall when bass bunch up and attack schools of shad.  If you don't have some good ole Rat-L-Trap or another lipless style bait in available you might just miss out on some of the fastest bass fishing you have ever seen.
You can also use a lipless style crank to locate feeding bass just about any time of the year.  They are very affective in attracting and catching bass.  I think it has a lot to do with the rattling noise they are famous for making as they are pulled through the water.  I still think the original Bill Lewis Rat-L-Trap is the best of them all, but that is just my opinion.  However they have been catching fish for almost as long as I've been alive and for a fact as long as I have been fishing.  The other thing about these lipless cranks is they very closely resemble one of a bass' favorite foods; Shad.  Most of the lakes have shad in them and most if not all of the bass in these lakes have dined on them at one point in their life.

There is another crank that I use a lot to catch these schooling bass and that is a Rapala Shad or Shad Rap.  They also have rattles and they really resemble shad very well.  Their one advantage is over the lipless cranks is they can be worked slower in the same depth zone.  This is because the slower you retrieve a lipless crank the deeper it will go which is just the opposite for Shad Raps.
Shad Raps float and have a lip that causes them to dive when they are retrieved.  The faster you retrieve the deeper they dive.  How deep they dive depends on the size of the lip and the type of line you are using.  They give you a different action all together from what you get out of a lipless crank bait.  In fact a lot of times you might find a bunch of schooling bass and after catching some of them they will quit hitting the lipless bait.  If that happens then switch to a Shad Rap and 9 out of 10 times you will be back in business.  You might have to play with how you retrieve them a little but once you find what the bass want it is back on!!

If you have been reading my blog much you can pretty much tell I'm a Jig fishing fool.  If I'm not fishing Jigs then I'm likely fishing plastic worms on one rig or another.  In either case when I'm fishing Jigs or Worms in deep water (10 plus feet) I will have my crank bait rod loaded with a deep diver like a Strike King 6XD.
Why do I have a 6XD ready if I'm planning on fishing a jig or worm you might ask.  The answer to this question is no matter how fancy our fish finders are today they still can't tell me if the fish you see on a creek channel are bass and if those bass are hungry.   So instead of making 4 or 5 slow retrieve casts with a jig or worm burning up time; I make those first 4-5 casts with the 6XD.  A lot of times if they are bass I've seen on my sonar and those bass are hungry you will get one of them to hit the crank bait.  You have now identified that these fish are bass and will hit.  I then put down the crank bait rod and proceed to fish my jig or worm.  If I don't get any hits after a 4-5 cast with the crank bait then I figure they aren't bass and go look somewhere else.

You might ask now, why I wouldn't just keep fishing the crank bait if I'm catching bass?  Well if you have ever thrown a 6XD or similar deep diving crank bait you will know it is almost like work.  So I put them away and fish a less work involved jig or worm.  Now don't get me wrong here; if I'm fishing a tournament then I'd likely make more casts with the crank before going to the jig or worm.  Cranks are fast and they can cover a lot of water in a little time which does give you more of a chance to catch bass.

Hope this has help you in some way.  Remember even though you might be a head strong jig or worm fisherman like me there is room in the boat and in your method for some crank baits if used right.

Until next time, Tight Lines and Take a Kid Fishing.
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