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Help With Crankbaits - Please

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I've been a collector versus user of crankbaits for over 30 years and to this day still rarely use them, but jigs and soft plastics 95% of the time. I own many brand names that I'm sure have been endorsed by one pro or another and stocked up when they were much cheaper than in today's catalogs. Here are the brands and some models from which you may remember the body and bill shapes:

Bagley Killer B
Rapala Risto Rap
Rapala Fat Rap
Rapala Shad Rap
Jim Rogers crankbaits
Bill Norman N series in different sizes
Cotten Cordell
Rebel
Poe
Arbogast cedar plugs in many shapes and colors
Bomber Model A series
Bomber Fat Free Shad
Bomber Long A
Storm Wiggle Wart and other deep divers
Smitwick Rattln Rogue
Yozuri jerkbaits
Bass Pro XTS  (still only $2.99)

The most expensive crankbaits today are over $12 each, whereas these cost $2-$5. Is there always a superior quality or design issue when lures cost more?
Rebels look cheap, but are they less effective at the same depth as the more expensive plugs? Same for most of the other plastic crankbaits listed.
Are these some of the brands and styles you still use?

I have to admit that though I've caught fish on crankbaits, confidence in them needs to be built up because they are some of the finest search baits made and I'm probably missing out on fish suspended off structure.

A little help please.

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I use Norman and Rapala jointed shap rap almost exclusively when cranking. But I am more of a jig and plastics guy now.

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I consider shallow and medium divers as search baits, deep diving cranks are to use when you are on fish or fish holding structure like a ledge or hump or something similar. The easiest way to build confidence is to use them but don't just blindly cast any one you find, start with organizing your box, for example, put your shallow diving baits in one box and the medium divers in another and deep divers a different one as well unless you have enough room in a box to keep these separate. Start with shallow cranks and when you are out and going down the bank simply put the jig and worm rod down and start chucking the square bill or better yet, you Rapala Fat Rap, those just flat out catch fish and they dive to almost 4' on 12lb line, if you do that you will catch fish and it doesn't take long before you get consistent enough that you gain a lot of confidence in it. After that you can move off the bank a little to the first drop and use the medium divers, the ones in the 6' to 10' range to fish the outer weed edges and the mid section of main lake points and then you can go off shore and use your graph to find structure and fish and use deep cranks to get them. The key is confidence, both in the bait and your ability to use it, trust me, you'll get it down and when you do you may find there is some cranking you may like, for me it is shallow cranking the 3' to 6' range, there is just something so cool about banging a square bill along and having it get hammered by a 5lber after your bait passed by a laydown.

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Once you start catching a few fish you "get it" pretty fast.

Strikes are generally vicious. I have had great luck with

the Bomber Square A and Lucky Craft 2.5 in particular.

The Strike King Red Eye is another "must have". 

 

 

 

:fishing-026:

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Thanks for getting me enough information to begin the quest for the perfect crankbait! :grin:

I know, there is no such thing and I'll have to take in consideration the following I started reading about in the Bass Resource archives:

1. depth

2. bill shape and length or lipless

3. suspending or not (I use my X Raps and Husky Jerks for that)

4. plug size (length and width)

5. vibration and action compared between lures(based on 2 and 4) (no rattles as good?)

6. seasonal considerations (I've read that lipless are better in spring)

7. type of bottom (I've also read that a crankbait should tick off rocks to make noise (Clunn tip)

8. retrieve speed range between similarly designed crankbaits

9. buoyancy differences (Bagley Balsa rises faster and pauses should be less to maintain depth)

10. which type and test line depending on the crankbait and where and how it is to be used (is heavier test preferred in certain situations?)

 

Once shallow lakes (those that average 10' or less) have a good weed growth, is there much use for crankbaits? That's usually when I start using jigs, soft plastics and semi-weedless lures. Hopefully I'll follow through and fish deeper waters in my area in order to get more experience with crankbaits.

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Thanks for getting me enough information to begin the quest for the perfect crankbait! :grin:

I know, there is no such thing and I'll have to take in consideration the following I started reading about in the Bass Resource archives:

1. depth

2. bill shape and length or lipless

3. suspending or not (I use my X Raps and Husky Jerks for that)

4. plug size (length and width)

5. vibration and action compared between lures(based on 2 and 4) (no rattles as good?)

6. seasonal considerations (I've read that lipless are better in spring)

7. type of bottom (I've also read that a crankbait should tick off rocks to make noise (Clunn tip)

8. retrieve speed range between similarly designed crankbaits

9. buoyancy differences (Bagley Balsa rises faster and pauses should be less to maintain depth)

10. which type and test line depending on the crankbait and where and how it is to be used (is heavier test preferred in certain situations?)

 

Once shallow lakes (those that average 10' or less) have a good weed growth, is there much use for crankbaits? That's usually when I start using jigs, soft plastics and semi-weedless lures. Hopefully I'll follow through and fish deeper waters in my area in order to get more experience with crankbaits.

 

You've listed a lot of factors. My advice is to not overthink it. Dozens of brands and all manner of size, shape, action, color, etc., catch fish. Just make sure you have some that cover the depth you want to fish.

 

As to shallow lakes with good weed growth, there is room for cranks depending on the nature of the weeds. For example, if the weeds come up to within two feet of the surface, shallow crankbaits can be very productive. Or maybe stretches that aren't very weedy. In my favorite pond I can't even think about a crankbait in summer, but in spring (before the weeds come up) or fall (after the weeds are gone) cranks can be the best-producing lures for me.

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I've been a collector versus user of crankbaits for over 30 years and to this day still rarely use them, but jigs and soft plastics 95% of the time. I own many brand names that I'm sure have been endorsed by one pro or another and stocked up when they were much cheaper than in today's catalogs. Here are the brands and some models from which you may remember the body and bill shapes:Bagley Killer BRapala Risto RapRapala Fat RapRapala Shad RapJim Rogers crankbaitsBill Norman N series in different sizesCotten CordellRebelPoeArbogast cedar plugs in many shapes and colorsBomber Model A seriesBomber Fat Free ShadBomber Long AStorm Wiggle Wart and other deep diversSmitwick Rattln RogueYozuri jerkbaitsBass Pro XTS (still only $2.99)The most expensive crankbaits today are over $12 each, whereas these cost $2-$5. Is there always a superior quality or design issue when lures cost more?Rebels look cheap, but are they less effective at the same depth as the more expensive plugs? Same for most of the other plastic crankbaits listed.Are these some of the brands and styles you still use?I have to admit that though I've caught fish on crankbaits, confidence in them needs to be built up because they are some of the finest search baits made and I'm probably missing out on fish suspended off structure.A little help please.

Nice collection.

Sam,

You indicated the lakes you fish are mostly shallow, less than 10'.

Are the lakes natural or man made?

Without model # or colors, the list looks like mostly medium depth divers with a jerk bait thrown in.

The lures also have one thing in common, they are floating/ diving lures. When you cast them, they float on the surface and only dive when retrieved. The speed you retrieve determines the maximum depth the lure dives.

The lures also have another similar trait, the are medium wobble lures, only the shad Rap and lipless are tight vibrators.

The Poe Cedar deep divers are silent and excellent lures, the 300 size gets down to 15'.

Hitting bottom can be a good strike reaction trigger, if the bottom is free of weeds. Hitting bottom changes the wobble and deflects the lures path. You can also do this with a change in retrieve speed and direction.

I mentioned trolling crankbaits in another thread and this is a good learning technique.

The Bomber model A, 6A and 7A are really all you need to learn crankbaits in shallow lakes. The 6A dives about 8', the 7A about 10'. If you troll these lures at a slow walking speed (2mph) they achieve maximum diving depth about 75' behind the boat. The technique is let out enough line and watch the lures action, adjust boat speed until it look right, the rod tip bouncing evenly. Cast out about 50', let out 25' and follow the 8' to 10' break line, move out or in as needed to keep the lure in that depth zone using the Bombers or other divers that work good at that depth.

Sloping banks with points are your best crankbait areas, avoid weeds. Making S turns changes lure speed and direction, slow lazy S waving pattern works best

When you get a strike, stop and cast your Crankbait in that area or other similar areas. A few days of trolling, watching your sonar,catching bass and you will know how to fish crankbaits successfully.

Tom

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Great insights! As many of you know, I dissect lures into their individual parts that make them unique -sometimes general, sometimes specific qualities. Unlike soft massed produced plastics which are somewhat uniform in quality and action, certain crankbaits seem to have a quality fish are tuned into and become more aggressive at the lure passes by.

As far as retrieves, a friend I fished with in a large NYC reservoir proved, steady retrieve most times do as well if not better than stop & go retrieves, but more important is to hit the same spot at least twice if not three times to provoke a bass into his bully routine.
He proved it with a 7lb fish.

As far as prism reflective surfaces, I've tried them with the Fat Free Shad series and can't say whether they do or don't work never having caught a fish on them. I tend to believe as mentioned by a few of you, that shad colors are a safe bet. The only chrome colored plug I've caught fish on was a Rat L Trap, but never on a chrome colored Big N. Again, it proves nothing if a specific lure isn't used at least 500 casts in areas known to hold bass at different times of year.

When I discover from casting them that certain traits specific to certain crankbaits aren't as important as general characteristics such as depth and action, confidence will overcome doubt and superstition. Are Lucky Crafts that much better than Rapalas at half the price?

 

Something I've wondered about and questioned its validity:

A long time ago Roland Martin was quoted in an article that he would pay a reward for a certain lost crankbait that he did well on in a classic event and believed it was unique among others made by the same company. It was made of plastic.

Superstition or just something to say for a paycheck?

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I think you will find certain crankbaits that stand out. It's hard to find the time and patience to

sort them out, but the pros go through a lot of what appear to be identical lures and only keep

one or two. Some small difference makes all the difference.

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It is weird like RW said you can have 5 of the same crank and maybe only one or two of them catch fish even though they all run good and straight! I don't know why but when you catch fish on a certain crank hold it in high regard!

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I've read your posts and I do believe you know this but here's my input anyway.

 

Right tool for the right job.

 

If you are looking to learn how to drive a nail you probably would not use a screwdriver.

 

If you're looking to learn & gain confidence in crank baits, a shallow grass filled body of water may not be your best option.

 

As for the cost of baits today, my PB came on a $5 SK Red Eye Shad. 

 

A-Jay

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