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Need some Deep Cranking Tips

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I have spent the last month doing nothing but fishing offshore and I still struggle catching fish on Crankbaits most of the time, I see the fish suspended, see the bait, try different angles, different types of cranks, and I plan on only fishing this way until I figure this technique out.

 

I currently use the Strike King 6xd, 8xd, Bomber Fat Free cranks, and a flat sided Spro to change things up. The lake I fish most has fish suspended in 12-16' feet of water with depths in 18'-20'. I have switched to 10-12lb fluoro which helps, but how fast do you fish deep cranks, and what is the key with angles, and when they are near bait/Brush? I think I get snagged way to often compared to what is normal.

 

Any lure suggestions would help, I notice if I switch the crank I have been using I often get a few strikes by changing the vibration, but some days I watch other guys catch fish on cranks, while I can barely get a strike and that is now starting to frustrate me. 

 

I also like the Poes since I get some strikes when they float back up, Does anyone Carolina rig cranks so you can keep them at the same level as the fish the entire cast? I feel like I have no control over a crankbait yet, is this something that just takes more practice? I plan on trying the Carolina rig floater tomorrow, but people give me odd looks when I mention this, but I have used it before in moving water with minnow baits and had success. 

 

Any help appreciated, I am also willing to buy a few expensive cranks if they will help me generate more strikes cause it seems the people catching the best fish in the Summer are coming from Offshore, and in good numbers compared to beating the bank and Mats. 

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I dont use expensive crankbaits but deep cranking is hit or miss for me .Last year was a great year with the 6xd and Rapala cra nkin rap CR14 on points . This year I had one good day in June and then the deep crank bite ended . Its funny how bass behavior has changed from last year to this year .

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I have really good luck with the dredgers as they get down fast and are less boyant  and you can have a slow retrieve and pause.  Their strength is also there weakness if you are looking for something to rise quickly......they are my do to....at least for now....good luck

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If you are seeing fish suspended just move to another spot. Those suspended fish are tough to catch, especially with cranks unless they are off the bottom under a school of baitfish. If you find them along the bottom in deep water, that is the time to crank but it is hard to differentiate fish from rocks and debris on the bottom so if I see something like that I'll try there.

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   I agree with @smalljaw67 – suspended fish are often super hard to trigger into biting. 

You’ll most likely have better success if you target bass on or at the very least, relating closer to the bottom. 

Suspended bass that are relating to cover that’s up off the bottom, like timber for instance, are a different story and will often respond to baits crashed into the cover. 

 When I find suspended fish in the fall – I’ll look around for the some decent bottom cover in the area with the hopes of coming back later and fishing it.  Sometimes those suspenders will move in there & feed.  If what I find has bait on or near it – even better.

A-Jay

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Suspended bass are there for a reason, figure why they are there. I keep repeating this fact "active bass are easy to catch", the opposite is inactive bass are very difficult to catch.

Suspended bass not feeding on baitfish are inactive bass or maybe I should start saying they are sleeping bass.

Crankbait fishing is all about making your lure look wounded to the bass and a easy meal. Steady straight retreives rarely get strikes, change your cadence. My typical retreive is a combination of making 1 to 3 reel cranks along with a few rod pumps, changing the cadence from 1 to 2, 2 to 3, 1 to 3 and pause, etc until a bass strikes, then try to repeat what worked. You can't retreive a crankbait to fast, it tends to roll if you do. The key to success is varying the speed from slow to fast to slow and creating the lures path to change direction about 6" or so, not a big change.

If my crank bait never hits anything, I am using the wrong lure and change it.

Don't over look a Scrounger jig with a soft plastic baitfish profile/color trailer and fish it anywhere you would a crankbait, the don't hang up!

Tom

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10 hours ago, A-Jay said:

  @smalljaw67When I find suspended fish in the fall – I’ll look around for the some decent bottom cover in the area with the hopes of coming back later and fishing it.  Sometimes those suspenders will move in there & feed.  If what I find has bait on or near it – even better.

A-Jay

 

This ^^^ & learn this 

firsthalf13 (1).jpg

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Thanks for the suggestions. I am getting ready to go out now, and since we have some overcast weather, I think I may just go to a smaller body of water and try the same techniques in "Less deeper water if they are not active in the shallows". I follow a guy on You Tube who fishes similar lakes, and for some reason I forget that he is obviously not telling the whole truth and nothing but the truth about depth etc...He does win a good amount of Florida tournaments, so I doubt he is being honest about depths and retrieves, as well as the cadence of retrieves since the editing always starts after he has a fish hooked up. 

 

I appreciate the Scrounger suggestion. I have not spent enough time with this bait but I keep hearing about how well it works. Either way, I just need to spend more time doing different techniques because I have realized that I am kind of one dimensional with my fishing. The offshore fish on brush piles get pounded in summer, so I like the idea of maybe doing something a bit different because these fish are pressured for sure. I get bored fishing C-rigs/Jigs all the time, plus everyone is doing that.

 

I should maybe become a more confident crankbait guy even in shallow water before focusing strictly on offshore spots and do it in smaller water so I can be confident I am around fish both active and inactive. Also need to start throwing more Hollow bodies as well I think.

 

I was thinking about hiring a guide for a day who really knows how to fish offshore, I want him to fish as well so I can watch the adjustments he makes and get a better understanding of the cadence, angles etc. I know whenever I go striped Bass Fishing with my brother in NY, He is always doing things I would never think of and catching fish other people do not because he has put the time in & will adjust several times a day based on tide etc. I think I may not be reading my screen correctly,  and as mentioned, I may not have the right strategy most days.

 

I thought Bass Fishing is supposed to be easy? Maybe I just need a KVD reel and rod and then I will catch more bass on cranks. Or Maybe just buy more colors and styles of lures, That is what my magazines seem to be telling me.

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My advice is don't go overboard with crankbaits colors or sizes. You can catch LMB anywhere they live using Shad and crawdad color cankbaits that dive 7'-10' and 12' ot 15', like Bomder 7A, Norman DD14 and DD22. Don't let the numbers fool you crankbaits don't get down to their advertised depths. 90% of my crankbait fish have been caught on those 3 lures; the 7A in baby bass, the DD14 in green Shad, DD22 in black red craw, start with these.

Tom

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If you target suspended fish, there isn't anything for your crank to deflect off to trigger strikes.  A constant retrieve will get you an occasional fish, but varying the retrieve speed, stop and go, or popping the rod tip occasionally will trigger a lot more strikes.  I have a couple of baits that will kick out when I give the reel handle a quick spin.  I get a lot of strikes just after doing that. Suspended fish are tough enough to get a response from. Up the odds in your favor, change it up.

The other thing I'll repeat that's already been pointed out.  Find cover, or structure, at the same depth you see fish suspending and target that rather than the suspended fish. At the very least, give the suspenders a shot and if you're not getting any love, move to those spots.

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I would rather crank good cover or structures that i dont graph fish on than crank suspended fish. Unless the bass are suspended around bait balls, but usually you graph those bass under the bait.

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Learning to catch fish offshore has been much more challenging than I originally thought it would be. However, I am forcing myself to spend at least 75% of my trips to learning the deeper water.

 

Thanks for all the Tips, I decided to purchase a low gear ratio casting reel which forced me to slow down, so I picked up a 4/1 round reel which seemed to help me out when I took my Kayak out on a deep/Clear lake because I think I tend to fish to quickly most of the time.

 

I also bit the bullet and purchased 2 packs of the BassTrix Swimbaits. I rigged one up on a 3/4 oz jighead and after 3 hours of drifting over structure in 15-20', I actually caught 3 good bass in the 3lb class, and lost a bigger fish closer to 5 on the Bomber 7a right at the Kayak(my fault)  but I am starting to gain some confidence. 

 

Thanks again for the suggestions. It is kind of fun learning and gaining confidence fishing in situations you usually try to avoid.

 

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On 8/13/2017 at 6:46 PM, WRB said:

My advice is don't go overboard with crankbaits colors or sizes. You can catch LMB anywhere they live using Shad and crawdad color cankbaits that dive 7'-10' and 12' ot 15', like Bomder 7A, Norman DD14 and DD22. Don't let the numbers fool you crankbaits don't get down to their advertised depths. 90% of my crankbait fish have been caught on those 3 lures; the 7A in baby bass, the DD14 in green Shad, DD22 in black red craw, start with these.

Tom

Just ordered 2 of each. I didn't have any baby bass deep divers but I like the idea. I can't afford to buy too many lures right now, plus I agree, a few models and colors are all you need. I had to spend more $ than I planned on a good cranking/Swimbait reel which I felt was worth it since I can use it for so many other techniques as well, plus I needed saltwater quality internals.

 

If only I could find a flurocarbon less expensive than the Sunline, I hate paying the $ for expensive line, but I have noticed you get what you pay for with fluoro, I have only had that Sunline fail on me when I get lazy and do not check it. I guess I now understand why it is so popular, Kind of always thought it was a marketing gimmick. Hopefully I can find a deal on some higher end Seaguar or Sunline and buy a bulk spool.

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Heres how I like to choose baits . I pck a lure that dives a couple of feet deeper than the bottom . I dont like it when a lure dives to deep and is digging in real hard . A 6XD for example is overkill in ten foot of water . I just catch more fish with a lure that touches and deflects off the bottom than one that is trying to burrow in .

 

 .

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32 minutes ago, scaleface said:

Heres how I like to choose baits . I pck a lure that dives a couple of feet deeper than the bottom . I dont like it when a lure dives to deep and is digging in real hard . A 6XD for example is overkill in ten foot of water . I just catch more fish with a lure that touches and deflects off the bottom than one that is trying to burrow in .

 

 .

This is the area that I am working on. I am trying to get a good "Feeling" for deflecting off the bottom and I have noticed that a crank that dives 10' on 12lb test seems to be easier to work in water slightly less shallow. I was using the 6xd in water way to shallow, and I now understand exactly what you mean. I originally thought I was doing the right thing, but that is a great point.

 

Good post. Thanks.

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12 minutes ago, primetime said:

I was using the 6xd in water way to shallow

 

Heres some lures I use and the depths with 12 lb mono Big Game .

Lots of lures less than 10 foot but I love the Berkely Dredger 10.5 at 8 foot .

 

10 foot Norman Deep Little N has been my long time favorite .

10 to 12 foot the rapala Crankin Rap CR14 has caught a ton of bass the last few years . I dont know if they are still available . I like the feel of them and have them in every model .

15 to 17 foot i when I whip out the 6XD .  

 

The Berkely Dredgers cast well and dive to advertised depths and have a tight action  . The 10.5 floats the others rise slowly , suspend or even sink .  

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3 hours ago, primetime said:

Just ordered 2 of each. I didn't have any baby bass deep divers but I like the idea. I can't afford to buy too many lures right now, plus I agree, a few models and colors are all you need. I had to spend more $ than I planned on a good cranking/Swimbait reel which I felt was worth it since I can use it for so many other techniques as well, plus I needed saltwater quality internals.

 

If only I could find a flurocarbon less expensive than the Sunline, I hate paying the $ for expensive line, but I have noticed you get what you pay for with fluoro, I have only had that Sunline fail on me when I get lazy and do not check it. I guess I now understand why it is so popular, Kind of always thought it was a marketing gimmick. Hopefully I can find a deal on some higher end Seaguar or Sunline and buy a bulk spool.

You don't need FC line for crankbaits. I use 10# or 12# Big Game mono, works good and is inexpensive allowing changing it every few trips. If you want a higher end small dia line look at Sunline Defier Nylon 11#.

Tom

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