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The UNimportance of crankbait details

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Found more pics from a series of tests I did a couple summers back. Here's the deets on this one:

 

Jump into my buddies boat after work and fish for about 2.5 hours on the home lake. I only bring one rod and reel, but two Plano flat boxes. One of those boxes is completely empty, the other is filled with crankbaits, mostly shallow runners and squarebills. Here's the test.

 

I fish from the back of the boat (used water). I only use the one outfit the entire time, spooled with 10lb. line and using a snap tied to the line to facilitate quick lure changes. Pick one crankbait to start with from the full box and fish it until I catch a bass, any size. After catching a bass on the bait, immediately remove that bait from the snap and place it into the empty box. Reach back into the main crankbait box and grab another (different) bait to try and catch another bass. Repeat.


I use multiple same baits from the same manufacturer (for instance, several different Bandit 100s), so long as I use a different color pattern every time and don't repeat any one color pattern. I can also use multiple similar color patterns (for instance, several different firetiger colored baits), so long as they are from different manufacturers and not duplicated.

 

When all was said and done, I managed 25 bass on 25 different baits from at least 7 different manufacturers, both rattling and silent, from 1/2 oz down to under 1/4 oz, wide wobble, tight wobble and everything inbetween (pictured below). I did actually have 2 baits I tried that I couldn't get bit on quickly, so I "passed" on them and changed out after a bit. Again, meaningless in one sense, but really fun and always interesting trying something different out on the water. Bass are easy to catch, so the off-the-wall testing keeps the interest.

 

So do we really need a hundred different crankbaits if bass will bite most all of them pretty readily on any given day? Is it more a case of if they're biting cranks, any crank will likely do, or do you fall into the category of needing specific sizes, colors, wobbles, etc. for certain waters and certain times of the year, or in certain clarities?

 

CIMG3704.jpg.95352e418c1c63ed8808c2a6297de83c.jpg

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18 minutes ago, Team9nine said:

So do we really need a hundred different crankbaits

If my wife sees this, you sir, are going on my "you know what" list.:tank:

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I firmly believe there are places and times that this would be the result more often than not. I also believe highly pressured hard fisheries would be completely opposite. There aren't many times anywhere around here you could catch 25 bass in 2.5 hrs. Pretty interesting nonetheless. 

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You like chartreuse highlite cranks!

When I was fishing crankbaits seriously my routine was buy 6 of the same brand and color and fish them, keeping only the lures that caught multiple bass. If I found 2 it was a good day usually 1 out fished all the others.

I never could determine why 1 lure that looked exactly like the others caught more bass.

Tom

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Cool Test ~ 

Admittedly I'm a bit of a Lure Hoarder . . .  Been one for a while now.

Several colors & patterns of the same bait is my standard modus operandi. 

 

"So do we really need a hundred different crankbaits if bass will bite most all of them pretty readily on any given day? Is it more a case of if they're biting cranks, any crank will likely do, or do you fall into the category of needing specific sizes, colors, wobbles, etc. for certain waters and certain times of the year, or in certain clarities?"

 

I believe you may have answered you're own question . . . 

 

"I did actually have 2 baits I tried that I couldn't get bit on quickly, so I "passed" on them and changed out after a bit."

 

What if these were the Only Two Baits you had with you ??? 

 

"Test" results may have been different. 

 

:smiley:

A-Jay

 

 

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I think a hand full body styles, a hand full of depth ranges, and a hand full of the most common colors is all one needs. Keeping the bait in the strike zone should be the first priority. 

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I'm of the opinion that color is the least important factor compared to location, weather, size, action, etc. To me those all look similar size/shape but with different colors and wiggles like you mentioned. I'd be interested to see the same kind of test with different shapes like a minnow bait vs. shad shape and more variance in size. Overall I'm not shocked one bit that the manufacturer doesn't matter when baits are generally the same style. All the tiny little details like eye color or molded in scales don't matter to me at all.

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In Keith Jones’ book he reports that a two-tone black and white bait out performed the solid color cranks.

 

Im in the club of thinking color combo and pattern might matter but details probably not so much.

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3 hours ago, WRB said:

You like chartreuse highlite cranks!

When I was fishing crankbaits seriously my routine was buy 6 of the same brand and color and fish them, keeping only the lures that caught multiple bass. If I found 2 it was a good day usually 1 out fished all the others.

I never could determine why 1 lure that looked exactly like the others caught more bass.

Tom

X2 to your last sentence. I have a blue and chartreuse Bandit that outfishes all others I have. No idea why.

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Yes I need a hundred different crankbaits. For 2 reasons. The most important of which to me is confidence. Regardless of whether it's true or not I believe I'll catch fish is certain situations on certain cranks more than others. Confidence is a big deal to me. The second is well I have all these tackleboxes with all these holes I need to fill 

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I don't care what they say, SIZE MATTERS!

I regularly fish small bodied cranks in deep water (15ft.+). Most of the cranks that will reach that deep or deeper are fairly large. More often than not, that smaller body bait will out produce one of the big boys. The big girls like 'em, too.

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1 hour ago, papajoe222 said:

I don't care what they say, SIZE MATTERS!

I regularly fish small bodied cranks in deep water (15ft.+). Most of the cranks that will reach that deep or deeper are fairly large. More often than not, that smaller body bait will out produce one of the big boys. The big girls like 'em, too.

What small bodied cranks do you get to go that deep ?

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I’m curious to know what crank/color you ended up passing on?  Did you go back to those baits or just passed on them completely?

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Very interesting..for most of us when we catch on a certain color we stick with that color and keep catching and always think they were on that color for the day. I probably have 20 or so crankbaits and try to find times to use them all...maybe not so much anymore..lol

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7 hours ago, scaleface said:

What small bodied cranks do you get to go that deep ?

Dredgers?

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I almost invariably use two depending on wind and overcast/sun conditions. One is a darker yellow perch color and the other is bluish with a lot of white. I have them in two sizes. The smaller ones will catch small and larger fish (mostly smaller). The larger ones will cause more larger fish to strike.

Using my other plethora of colors is okay, but it seems to be the light and dark and to some but less extent size that determines the fish hitting .

I'm really hooked (pun?) on trailered chatter baits right now though. I've ordered some trailer hooks though as I get a lot of strikes but limited actual hooks. Funny, same color conditions light/dark like the crank baits.

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16 hours ago, WRB said:

You like chartreuse highlite cranks!

When I was fishing crankbaits seriously my routine was buy 6 of the same brand and color and fish them, keeping only the lures that caught multiple bass. If I found 2 it was a good day usually 1 out fished all the others.

I never could determine why 1 lure that looked exactly like the others caught more bass.

Tom

Yup, I have a "magic" crank box where only the ones that have passed the gauntlet go. In some cases, I can figure out what is different about them, but mostly I can't. Don't care, the fish have a preference, and that's good enough for me. 

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8 hours ago, Revival said:

I’m curious to know what crank/color you ended up passing on?  Did you go back to those baits or just passed on them completely?

Unfortunately, I didn’t capture pics of the reject baits, and it’s been long enough that I can’t remember exactly. Might have to do a 2019 version and see if results stay the same.

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Nice test and results. Over the years, shad, chrome, and chartruese baits have worked the best for me. I always liked the looks of darker crawfish patterns, and have bought several over time, but these have produced less fish than other colors. The last two years, I've almost quit fishing them due to weed/ hydrilla getting out of hand. I'm having to use weedless plastics much more now

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The majority of my deep diving crankbaits time on the water  is with what most call vintage lures popular in the 80's. Bagley B's, Bomber A's, Poe Cedar, Rebel R's, Storm Warts. Bandits were later 80's early 90's for me.

The 80's era crankbaits needed tunning so they would run straighter without rolling over and hook upgrades using VMC trebles in lieu of Mustad before the Japanese introduced sharp strong black nickle treble hooks. I stopped trying to make Rebel crankbaits run right and they were popular but I couldn't catch a cold using them.

You have a lot more choices today with crankbaits that usually run good out of the box, have good sharp hooks and great color choices the past 15 years.

Tom

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I have somewhat performed this experiment inadvertently.  There have been times where I was wading the river, and lost multiple crankbaits over the course of the excursion.  I don't really ever have multiples of the same bait, so I'd have to try a new color/brand almost every time I'd lose one.  I have found that in this situation, with smallmouth, the colors have not mattered very much.  Body style, size, lip shape, and diving depth probably have more to do with their effectiveness or lack thereof.  Getting it and keeping it in the strike zone is paramount with any lure.

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More interesting information from @Team9nine

 

I think we give our lures more credit than they deserve.

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I love your threads, 9. 

 

But I do sometimes wonder about applicability...to me at least. 

 

Seems that you could tie a pull tab to a rope and catch two dozen bass in an afternoon....while I would be 30  yards down the bank struggling to bag a limit 

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16 hours ago, scaleface said:

What small bodied cranks do you get to go that deep ?

Lures that sink, the question I have what is a small body crankbait?

Tom

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I carry what I call an "attack" box of crankbaits, if I can't get it done with these I'm throwing something else!

 

 

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