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Crankbait retrieves

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What kind of retrieve do you usually use for a squarebill crankbait? I've heard to just reel it, but I was just wondering how you guys do it. Also, is a bluegill color a good choice around this time of year? 

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I think most will tell you that they want the bait to hit stuff; pilings, poles, trees, rocks, etc.  When pulling through open water, I try to mix it up a bit -- varying speeds, stops, etc.    I recently watched new vid from @Paul Roberts and he was clearly getting hit on the pauses.

 

As to colors....IDK....I've only been bass fishing about eight years and I generally have no clue about crank colors.  I just am never convinced that bass get good enough look at them to care.  I do tend to go with more red in the fall, but that might be that I'm just fishing memories of one good day years ago.

 

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Most of the time I reel it until it hits something. Then I will either pause or rip it fast with my rod and reel in the slack.

 

Bluegill is a great color for clear water areas.

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Try   different retrieves . Bass can be fickle . Bluegill or any pattern with some chartreuse in it is often my first choice .

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I rarely ever use just a straight retrieve. Pause, jerk, vary the speed, etc. until you find what works.

As far as color, I could (but I probably won't) get by with three colors. Something resembling a shad, a bluegill and a crawfish. If I can't catch 'em on one of those, I probably ain't gonna catch 'em.

 

Tom

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I'll take the easy one first, YES, bluegill is a good color this time of year. I like a more neutral one, but I'll go with a brighter one if that's not doing it, or if the vis goes bad. As always, let the fish decide.

Now for retrieves, It depends, but this time of year, when I'm throwing a squarebill (and I am throwing it right now) I am trying to make it almost act like a jerk bait, or start and stop in varying distance/pause, so I'll go with one that doesn't want to race to the surface, and lingers before slowly rising. I'm usually looking for fish in or around the first break to the spawning shallow areas, as well as the shallow themselves. I am not looking to hit stuff, but I'm not avoiding it unless there is sticky grass or goop. These fish usually are just laying on the bottom in 2-6 feet of water and won't go far to grab a bait, but will bite readily if you run it passed their face, so I'm covering water until I find some, and I usually catch a few close together. Once I think I have an idea, I'll try to duplicate expanding, then come back with a t-rig or the like to pick up the ones I missed. One of my favorite times to fish.

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Was watching a fishing show (Bass Pros maybe) this week where the guy said the bigger the squarebill, the faster you reel so the bass doesn't get a good look at it, just grabs it as a reaction strike.  Guy was using the 4.5 size, I believe.

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If they'll take a straight retrieve, GREAT! But, often they need to be triggered. I always talk retrieves in my videos as I fish; They can be pretty important. There's a Late Summer one that describes fishing cranks in vegetation, and describes and shows how to set up "the rip". In the one above, that Choporoz brought up, the water was cold and the pauses were critical. In general. motion tells the fish the lure is "alive"; the pauses let them know they can catch it. As you can probably imagine, the colder, or less aggressive, the fish are, the more important the pauses are. There's another, the Mid Fall cranking one, that shows this even better. There's another component too -horizontal vs vertical- which affects speed control too. Only two fish in the Mid-Fall video broke this long pause pattern: but both struck on the "initial descent", which is essentially a more vertical, and therefore slower retrieve speed (in the horizontal).

 

Hope this helps. I'm also working on one that will address presentation directly. 

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I'm yet to catch a bass on a crankbait (but apparently I can catch catfish with them!) but what I do is first is use them to assess how deep the water I am fishing is. If I can touch the bottom fairly easily and I know the rating of the crankbait that can tell me some stuff. But I've heard it can be good to grind the bottom if there is nothing to really bump into, so I will crank just fast (or slow) enough to keep it there. Sometimes I will pause and let it float up a bit, or sometimes all the way to the surface and just let it sit there for a few moments before continuing again. If that's not working, I will add a little twitch to the lure, or maybe raise/lower my pole somewhat while I vary the speeds. I think my approach is okay, the theory works in my head anyway. But it'd be helpful if the bass would help me out and bite my lure some times to give me some confidence in them!

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On 3/20/2018 at 10:34 AM, Choporoz said:

I think most will tell you that they want the bait to hit stuff; pilings, poles, trees, rocks, etc.  When pulling through open water, I try to mix it up a bit -- varying speeds, stops, etc.    I recently watched new vid from @Paul Roberts and he was clearly getting hit on the pauses.

 

As to colors....IDK....I've only been bass fishing about eight years and I generally have no clue about crank colors.  I just am never convinced that bass get good enough look at them to care.  I do tend to go with more red in the fall, but that might be that I'm just fishing memories of one good day years ago.

 

Thank you for the information and video link. I only dream of being able to catch fish like that, sure makes it look FUN and easy.

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I use a variety of retrieves, with a stop and go being my most productive. I like to rip them out of weeds and grind them through rocks and ricochet off wood too. The sudden directional change tends to trigger a response from fish holding on whatever piece of cover the bait bounces off of, and it ends up looking like this.

Image may contain: one or more people, outdoor and water

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I'll change things up based on where I'm finding fish and how active they should/seem to be.  When they should be really aggressive, I'll alternate between fast retrieves with very few pauses and very staccato retrieves, fishing opposite ends of the spectrum and working back and forth towards the middle in terms of pause/retrieve speeds until I figure out what the fish are liking the most.  During slower periods, I generally take the same approach only beginning slow and steady with few pauses and alternating to slow with regular, long pauses and working towards the middle.  I've found that this allows me to be pretty systematic.

 

Conditions also determine flat, tight wobbling baits, or fatter wider wobbling baits and whether I prefer a fast or slow rise on the pause.  Rules are general, and far from absolute, but they serve me well and I catch a lot of fish on crankbaits.  In colder water or post frontal conditions, I'm probably going to prefer tighter wobbling and slower rising baits.  Once the water warms, and especially if I have good reason to believe fish should be very active, I'm probably going to fish much wider wobbling baits with a faster rise.  

 

I also like using crankbaits to cover open water, especially flats for roaming fish, and this is where I vary things a lot in the cadence of my retrieve, but also a lot with lure action.  For flats, I'll generally switch a lot based on how wide I can get baits to kick out.  This is probably the only time I throw lures like Scatter Raps with confidence.  

 

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I like to slow roll a square bill until I feel grass, then dig it in. I’ll then rip it out as hard as I can, then kill it. This probably accounts for a good 70% of my bites. 

 

 

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There is a lot of grass where I fish.  I usually just reel steady and then rip it thru the grass.

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I prefer to fish a squarbill around wood or rock structure. I usually crank down till I make contact and then kill it for a second. Then I keep on cranking 

 

As for color, crawfish colors (red) work good as Spring starts to turn into Summer. As for any other color, just try to match the hatch. If you got a pond with a lot of bluegill then through bluegill. If you are fishing around a lake with shad then through shad

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I'll use a lot different retrieves before I change the bait, but sometimes the bass just want a nice steady moving bait.

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Thanks for all these replies. I don't have time to answer every comment on this topic, but I appreciate all of them. You guys have been really helpful. :) 

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I had this one just the other day... Took on a pause after some hard jerks. She sure was excited and almost sucked it right out her gill flap! It lodged in her rakers -that's what they're for after all- and not a single hook point was stuck in her. The plug was clamped between gill arches.

5ab516bfee5a4_ScreenShot2018-03-16at3_08_28PM.thumb.jpg.3c77c109aec0be00e8de0241a373fa7d.jpg

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4 minutes ago, Paul Roberts said:

I had this one just the other day... Took on a pause after some hard jerks. She sure was excited and almost sucked it right out her gill flap! It lodged in her rakers -that's what they're for after all- and not a single hook point was stuck in her. The plug was clamped between gill arches.

5ab516bfee5a4_ScreenShot2018-03-16at3_08_28PM.thumb.jpg.3c77c109aec0be00e8de0241a373fa7d.jpg

Wow. Never seen anything like that. :o That looks like a big one too. 

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