Crankbaits are great fish finders, and are productive twelve months of the year. Baitfish can be imitated through various styles, colors, and patterns of crankbait lures. Some are large, fat, and big billed and have a big wobble when retrieved through the water; others are more narrow, compact in size, and have a smaller bill, and travel more fluidly with a tighter wobble; and still other crankbaits possess small bills and barely dive under the water. These crankbaits are generally referred to as lipped or billed crankbaits and all float when not being retrieved. The bill, shape, size, speed of reel, and line size will influence how the lure will respond when retrieved under the water. Then, there is another classification of crankbait which is the lipless version. Most of the lipless crankbaits are sinkers rather than floaters, therefore depth and speed are dependent on retrieve, line size, and reel gear ratio.

Crankbaits imitate baitfish, usually shad, crawfish, bream, or some other forage base particular to that lake. They dive under the water, have an erratic movement, and will tweak a bass’s interest, if presented correctly. Lure manufacturer’s use different material compositions to manufacture their lures. Some use balsa wood, others use plastic, and combinations of rubber, plastic, metal, and wood have been used. Each
crankbait has it’s own particular personality, and reacts differently when retrieved.

Many retrieve methods can be applied to give crankbaits a different action. Straight retrieve, crank-crank-pause, three cranks-pause, all these techniques would make the lure react differently under the water. Sometimes a more subtle approach would be warranted, however other times a more erratic movement would be the most appealing to bass. Line size, reel gear ratio, and even rod action also affects the reaction of crankbaits. The best way to see the reaction of a lure is in clear water, possibly a swimming pool. Therefore, when fishing, a better imagination can be used when working the lure.

Crankbaits are great lures to use on schooling bass, but they are also good when bass are suspending on structure, and can appeal to bass that are hidden in cover if bounced around in the cover. Bass are curious by nature, and are competitive for their food source. Crankbaits appeal to bass as easy, vulnerable prey!

Every color in the rainbow can be found in crankbaits, however natural forage base lures are the best colors to use. Shad imitations, crawfish colors, black, bream or perch color are all good colors to start with on any given lake. Too many times anglers change colors way too often, and should try changing the lure speed, action of the lure, or lure size before changing the color.

Crankbaits can also serve as cover and structure locators. Many pros, such as David Wharton use this technique so as not to disturb the water with their trolling motor. Cast out, and crank back with an easy retrieve, until the lure bumps something. Stop the retrieve, let the lure float up, then start the retrieve again. Most people are a little intimidated by crankbaits because of their reputation to snag cover easily, however staying in tune to what the lure is doing, and stopping on an impact will get lures back. If it snags, then try popping the line while holding the rod taut.

For more versatile fishing, try some crankbait fishing. Summer is a good time to try them out where bass are holding on points, roadbeds, and creek channels. Crankbaits are fun, catch bass, good twelve months of the year, and are very versatile lures.

Sherry Ruslink is a licensed, full time bass fishing guide on Lake Fork. She offers day and night trips, corporate trips or group trip coordination, and gift certificates. Sherry is a professional tournament angler, and owner of Anglers Educational Seminars (specializing in lady angler education). For information on Lake Fork guide trips, Ladies Bass Fishing classes, or Ladies Casting classes, Sherry can be reached at 903-473-1016, email: , or URL:
She is sponsored by: Triton Boats/Mariner Motors, Four Seasons Marine, Castaway Rods – Factory Team, Lowrance, Motorguide – Power Gator, McCoy’s Fishing Line, Gene Larew, Pro-Line, Bass Assassin, Top Brass Tackle, and Norman Lures.
– Lake Mohave

– Lake Mohave

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