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Chris

A rare insight into crankbait fishing

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Well, the problem comes in when guys say they use this color for that water. This information is incomplete because they left out the main factor that draws strikes is the vibration. When you bounce a lure off of stumps and the bottom your adding vibration to your lure but people forget that most of the time when you use a spinnerbait you don't bounce it off of anything. So the idea that a crankbait only works when it hits something could be very true if you are using the wrong crankbait for the job. It could be that the lure your using is not producing the vibration that will draw strikes unless it hits something. Don't get me wrong I ram anything I can and at times its the only way to get strikes with my crankbaits but when the area is void of cover and still has fish the vibration draws strikes.  

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2 days of crankbait fishing using Chris's advice produced....

3 flatheads: 12, 4, and 3 pounds

2 keeper bass:15" each

15 smaller bass

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Chris,

This is a lot of great info for a newbie to absorb.  I know you pick your cranks on the water,fish, and weather conditions that present themselves on the given day but,  would you mind sharing your top 5  cranks, that you would consider your go to or confidence baits?

Thanks again for all your great info.

Rob

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You know I could give you a list of stuff and fill your tackle box full but I'm not going to. My point was to help you narrow down your search by vibration not name or style. For the most part I use the same baits most of you use but I narrow down what I use and when I use it based on the vibration and how it makes its journey to its max depth. This was a topic that I don't think anyone has covered so I did.

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Guest whittler

On the money again Chris, there are NO magic baits out there. Too many crank users have bought into the myth that all you have to do is chuck and wind, and pay no attention to what their bait is doing in the water. Chris and I have talked before about what makes a bait "hunt" and although I can not tell exactly why a certian bait will and another just like it won't, I can sure tell when it will, just by feel when its in the water. I like to think of it like a race care tuned and set up to run right on the edge and anything that changes will cause it to respond. With a crank any change it encounters, bumping structure, a change in current, a fish taking a swipe at it will be transmitted to the hands and be seen in the rod tip. One last thing, fish don't care what you paid.

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Guest whittler

When buying cranks, if at all possible, take the bait from the box and examine it very closley. The bait pictured here is a Poe's 300 but any manufacturers baits can be just like this one. Notice how far off center the rear hook hanger is, the belly hanger is about the same degree of off set. Tuning this thing would be next to impossible. Carefull selection can save you tuning time, catch more fish and save you money.

077089.jpg

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Great info gentlemen.... You guys just keep on openning new gateways for me... Keep it up.

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Sometimes the line tie loop is loose and will throw a bait off also.

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Guest whittler

One more picture., this is a Bagley. Next time someone says Bagley uses through wire and how much stronger it is, just say show me. Bagley did make a bait with through wire, I think it was called the Banger-B, but their cranks are either screws or a hairpin type glue in wire. Word of caution you do not need to cut a bait apart to tell if it is through wired, just use an ohmmeter. Nothing wrong here a glued in wire or screw in eye are plenty strong.

Lost about a 6lb. bass right at my feet with a Rapala DT16 when the lip snapped of right at the bait, still have the lip but the bass has the bait. The Dt series will catch fish, just would not advise banging them into cover unless you have a fondness for two piece baits.

077133.jpg

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The Dt series will catch fish, just would not advise banging them into cover unless you have a fondness for two piece baits.

077133.jpg

whittler, that statement would be really funny.....IF, you hadn't had to learn about it the hard way!  i know that must have made you want to cry.

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I know I am beating a dead horse but here is some more stuff ;D

Fish your crankbait! Most guys chunk and wind and in heavy stained to muddy water that's is the best way to go but what about super clear water. The baits that don't hunt still need to look like live prey. You don't just reel in a worm do you? You hop it, shake it and make it look alive. Well, there are times that you need to do the same with a crankbait. I know I talk about just cast and reel but lets talk about the flip side. First off I crank with a 5.0 to 1 reel most of the time unless I am fishing rattletrap style lures when I use a 6.3 to 1. You can get away with a fast reel if you remind yourself to slow down. Because you need a long cast to give a bait running room to reach its max depth make sure you have a good casting reel. If your reel stinks in the casting department use it for worm or jig fishing not cranking. In this game if you can out cast your buddy you have a good chance of out fishing him also. The length of your rod will help you casting distance. For most of my close fishing I use a 6'6" rod and for long distance casting I use a 7' rod. I like a long handle because I use a two hand cast. I also turn my hand that's closest to the reel palm down. By doing this I can bend my wrist more and get more distance on a cast. The reel should be in a position where the side plate is facing the ground and the reel handle is facing the sky. You should add another 30 ft in your cast at least. Open water (not bouncing it off of cover) you can use stop and go, you can stop and twitch, you be as creative as you want but the end result is you need to make your bait look alive. A good way to do this is to visualize a bass checking your bait out and your giving the fish your best moves to not get eaten. Mess with it until you find what works. Remember in clear water bass feed by sight mostly and you need to put on a show or you can go the other direction is to make your bait swim like it has issues and not in good health. In clear water I let my bait duck and dive and give it an erratic action. In stained water I fish it more stop and go or just steady. In heavy stained to muddy I fish it steady. If I fished muddy water with an erratic action a bass might have a hard time eating my bait and might miss fish so I try to make it easy.

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Ahhh and another crankbait fishermen is born ;D

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more stuff :)

When you build plastic crankbaits you take two halves glue them together and fill them with rattles hook hangers. Companies take great care to make sure that everything lines up and measures right so that the lure runs perfect in the water. They do this to build a lure that when copied will run the same look the same as the others and makes production easier. When you buy and use a plastic lure you can rest assured that it will act like the ten others that landed in the trees or lost in some stick up. (If your not loosing lures your not trying hard enough or close enough ;) ) If all plastic crankbaits of the same kind is the same what would cause one bait out of many to fish different or become more productive? I say it is the rattle more important is a lower pitch single rattle....why? If a normal crankbait of a set lure style makes one sound and you pull another that sounds different it is either going to be louder or higher ping which means the noise making rattle is free to move and make racket. If the lure has a lower pitch rattle then the rattle is not traveling the whole distance of the rattling chamber. (which means the bait is weighted unequal) Perfect lures made by computers and machines will track perfect and give you that great mechanical action. For wood lures it is the imperfect material and human factor that makes them great fish producers. In the case of plastic, it is the rejects that catches more fish. I choose a single rattle because it is the only weight keeping the lure belly down. With a second rattle if the first rattle is obstructed in any way will take up the slack to keep the lure running equal and balanced. A single rattle makes it easier to pick out (off the rack) the higher percentage plastic crankbait that will catch more fish. When that rattle is off centered because it is not moving the full distance in the rattling chamber in a plastic lure it acts different, runs different, and catches more fish than others of the same style.

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Old thread but a goodie!! I've been doing some serious crankin these last 2 years and one thing that wasn't really touched on about tunning, mistuning your bait making it run off to the right or left to crash into floating docks with pylings, bluff walls and my favorite being METAL sea walls! Being able to run those cranks under long docks is awesome! I am so suprised when people don't try those tactics. I almost always put a limit in my boat in a hurry!

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I know I am beating a dead horse but here is some more stuff ;D

Fish your crankbait! Most guys chunk and wind and in heavy stained to muddy water that's is the best way to go but what about super clear water. The baits that don't hunt still need to look like live prey. You don't just reel in a worm do you? You hop it, shake it and make it look alive. Well, there are times that you need to do the same with a crankbait. I know I talk about just cast and reel but lets talk about the flip side. First off I crank with a 5.0 to 1 reel most of the time unless I am fishing rattletrap style lures when I use a 6.3 to 1. You can get away with a fast reel if you remind yourself to slow down. Because you need a long cast to give a bait running room to reach its max depth make sure you have a good casting reel. If your reel stinks in the casting department use it for worm or jig fishing not cranking. In this game if you can out cast your buddy you have a good chance of out fishing him also. The length of your rod will help you casting distance. For most of my close fishing I use a 6'6" rod and for long distance casting I use a 7' rod. I like a long handle because I use a two hand cast. I also turn my hand that's closest to the reel palm down. By doing this I can bend my wrist more and get more distance on a cast. The reel should be in a position where the side plate is facing the ground and the reel handle is facing the sky. You should add another 30 ft in your cast at least. Open water (not bouncing it off of cover) you can use stop and go, you can stop and twitch, you be as creative as you want but the end result is you need to make your bait look alive. A good way to do this is to visualize a bass checking your bait out and your giving the fish your best moves to not get eaten. Mess with it until you find what works. Remember in clear water bass feed by sight mostly and you need to put on a show or you can go the other direction is to make your bait swim like it has issues and not in good health. In clear water I let my bait duck and dive and give it an erratic action. In stained water I fish it more stop and go or just steady. In heavy stained to muddy I fish it steady. If I fished muddy water with an erratic action a bass might have a hard time eating my bait and might miss fish so I try to make it easy.

 

I know this is a super old post right about now, but I did a search and found it. This was incredibly useful. I just wanted to say thanks. 

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Info hasn't changed for those 8 years, needs some paragraphing to ease eye strain but still a good read nonetheless.

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Man I'm glad this thread was dug up, there's a lot of great info here!

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Guys that has not fished crankbaits right. Is sure missing out on the best search bait there is. Plus when the smallmouth are moving up on the gravel before the spawn. Its hard to beat a good crankbait. One thing I keep in the crankbait box is lead solder, warp a small piece around the front treble shaft. This will make a boat hunt where it would not before. I try to tune all my crankbaits to not float up as fast. That give's me more depth when cranking. Plus when it comes off a stump or rock, it will shoot wild and cause that fish to try ripping the rod out of your hand's.Plus I will tie one of these babies to the back hook.

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Use a piece of line 6" or so. Its unreal how many fish will come off this little fly swinging around behind bait like that. And don't think that No 1 hook can't take it. It will hold them and hold them good.

 

Bought 60 crankbaits on sale (-$3. off each one) day before Christmas, Out of these 60 there may be 7 great baits. Then theres 30 good baits that  is fishable out of them. The rest I will strip down sand until I get them running the way I want them to run. Then custom paint the colors I want on these. As someone else posted. When they put these plastic baits together, it only takes a few Thousand's off center and that bait is trash.

 

I have 20 deep diving baits I bought a few years back, out of the 20 there was 1 single bait that was worth using. The other 19 are still in rebuild stage. So guys just because its a new bait does not mean its a good one.  But with work they can be made into a bait that can be used.

For me nothing can beat a Bandit 300 for spring smallmouth fishing. They have helped me to a lot of 100 fish days on Pickwick.

 

Pete

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Excellent post Chris !

If you don 't mind me stepping in I would add some points:

2.- Line diameter affects the diving depth of the lure, most lures are designed to run on 10-12 "lb" test, the more you increase the diameter the shallower the bait will run. You loose 1 ft per every pound you increase the line diameter in 1 "lb", the same way, you gain 1 ft for every pound you decrease the diameter of the line.

 

According to tests done back in 1989 by a walleye fisherman named Mike McClelland and published in a book called "Crankbaits A Guide to Casting & Trolling Depths of 200 Popular Lures" The increase in depth with smaller diameter lines was not 1 foot for every 1 pound difference. It changed slightly with each lure tested but when trolling, for example, a Rapala Rattlin Rap #7 with 8lb line it ran 12 feet deep. The same lure on 17lb (mono) went 8 feet deep. That's a 9lb difference in line strength but only a 4 foot difference in depth. Using a floating Rapala #7, it ran 3 feet deep with 8lb and 2 feet deep with both 14 and 17 pound line.  When casting the lures, his tests were only performed with 12lb line. the maximum depths achieved never came close to the trolling depth of even the heavier lines. So there is no exact formula to determine how much deeper, or shallower a lure will run when changing line diameter.  Another note. All of the tests run in the book were done with mono as there were no superlines or braids at that time! I sure wish he or someone else would up date the book to show how deep lures run on braid.

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Listen to these guys giving awesome crankbait advice.

I like using floating cranks. To my advantage I use the deeper floating cranks by adjusting my line speed to make them run at any shallower depth. I even get jiggy with it using the rod tip as it floats over the weed pockets.

If your using one color crank and your getting no action change colors till you do get action. Water conditions do change as the water gets deeper from shore. Trust me be flexible.

Don't rush and apply everything you learn here. Use the skills you learn here. Make your presentations Oscar winning perfect.

Watch the videos here over and over, read the articles here over and over. Listen to every post these guys make.

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