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Chris

A rare insight into crankbait fishing

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When i started to get serious into bass fishing , in the 70's , I did a lot of cranking but was not good at it .I then discovered the Texas rig and I was good at that . I became a worm and jig addict.  For about thirty years that was my specialty .I still fished cranks and other lures but the Texas Rig was the lure I relied upon daily .About six years ago I found two identical Rogers Big Jims at an antique store . 1/4 ounce silent version , bluegill colored .One   day I tried one and noticed there wasnt  a lot of  action to it and it hunted a lot . I started catching a lot of fish on it and quite a few big ones . My interest in cranking was piqued  .  That lure was lost in a tree  but the second one had the same hunting action . For the past six years I have caught more fish on crankbaits than anything . I've been cranking deeper and deeper .   Often I feel the fish miss the lure . The vibration changes from the water disturbance caused by the bass .My uncle doesnt believe me when I tell him a fish just missed my bait and he laughs .All those years of fishing " feel " baits translate well into other catergories and he simply doesnt have the feel and cant comprehend  it .

 

 I have my favorites for now,  from fishing one to   about eighteen foot deep .  The Red Eyed Shad has become  a favorite fished deep . It does wiggle on the drop and when fished from a jon boat   can   be heard as it falls through the water . Often  the hit  itself can be heard but not felt . I started  a couple of threads trying to get info on how deep all the different crankbaits dive but have had very little response . I'm guessing most people dont know how deep their baits are actually diving . I will keep evolving as a cranker , become more knowledgeable about the different baits . Its been quite the turn-around in fishing style

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What I never understood about this original post is the title.  I guess I don't consider anything in there a "rare insight".

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very very true

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On ‎10‎/‎15‎/‎2015 at 8:12 PM, Blwaz23 said:

What do the different types of crankbait lips or bills do? Does each style actually do something different then others or is it just style? Example: round vs square.  Any links to articles or guides to this? I've looked and I couldn't really find what I was looking for. Either I wasn't paying enough attention or didn't look hard enough. Thanks 

A round lip when it hits a fence post sitting vertical in the water will hit and travel close to the object when it swims around it and right itself close to the face side of the fence post. So when the fish are sitting on the face side close to the post and not active this is the lip style that will cause a reaction depending on where and how the fish is positioned. It is like poof here I am now watch me go!

If this does not work 1 kick out point called a square bill will travel and hit the same fence post and the front flat part of the square will ram the post and work its way to the edge and kick out when it hits the point of the right or left side of the lip. (depending on which side of the fence you casting on) This bait will travel farther away from the fence post before it rights itself. A coffin lip will have 2 kick out points which work the same as a square but when the lip reaches the second kick out point it forces the bait to travel farther away from the fence post before it rights itself. <--these other two style lips can also be considered reaction style lips because they cause the bait to react violently to the fence post and forcing the bait to change directions before correcting itself because of speed. In other words the faster the bait travels when it hits the post the more they will react to the object. I hope that helps :)

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On ‎3‎/‎22‎/‎2015 at 10:44 AM, RanndomUndead said:

Ive noticed that if the bass arent overly aggressive or feeding heavily, in shallow water a rattle sends them high tailing it faster than a 5lb rock. In deeper water...well i cant see that far, heh

 

It depends some places fish could really care less some like you said haul booty. A lot depends on fishing pressure time of the year like early spring when the first come up as apposed to late summer. Also how clear the water is something to consider. If given a choice I like a lead deep tone rattle. I not a fan of loud rattles even in "rattletrap" style lures. Oddly I do like bb rattles in anything I use as a jerk bait style fishing...to include topwater lures fished the same way. Anything with a rhythm I like deep tone or none.

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On ‎9‎/‎4‎/‎2015 at 1:43 AM, Ginosocalbass said:

What a great thread.

 

I had a question about how transparent or clear cranks work in clear water circumstances. I have noticed the majority of manufactures don't have to many color options that have a translucent pattern to them. anyone have any insight with these?

 

One thing not touched up on is Gear ratios. When would a 5:1 vs 6:1  is a 5:1 more appropriate for squarebills as the baits wider action and slower retrieve? were as a tighter action like a rapala DT might require a faster 6:1 ratio?

 

I know everything in this game is subjective and based on feel.   But what would you consider a standard order of practice with crankbaits and gear rations

The idea is that the clear body will give off a ghost shad appearance with less detail to give away that it is fake. Much the same as a clear flash spinnerbait skirt would. A lot of guys use them in heavy pressured situations.

 

Gear ratio depends on you. I know what works for me...If I am fishing a deep diving lure I like a slower reel because it forces me to slow down. The advantage to this is for me is that I get the most depth out of my cast per foot reeled in. So make my cast and crank it back 20 cranks with a lower gear reel compared to a higher geared reel at 20 cranks my bait has traveled less distance and gained more depth than the higher gear reel. Why because I put more force on the bait to travel to me then just enough force to make it dive and continue to dive. The idea of reel fast to get the bait down then slow down is meant for old lures that the diving bill is not pointed down to grab water in the first place. They had a belly weight with a straight bill and laid flat on the surface of the water. So to get the bait in position to dive you needed to put twerk on the bait to point the bill down for it to dive otherwise the bait would skip awhile before digging to dive. This isn't needed these days. As far as depth and speed when the bait reaches the area depth you wish to fish do whatever dance brought ya success but with a slower retrieve it is easier to work a lure through sticky cover.

 

square bills it depends on what your trying to do to be honest and how the square bill is designed. If you like speed and deflection it is easier to do with high speed gear than a low gear trying to run fast. Bait design also plays a part in speed because some lures depending on design have a max speed...some more than others. When it gets to that speed it will blow out and travel to the surface. Wide action square bills will tighten up with speed also lure body "shape" comes more into play in how the lure reacts to the faster current flow over the bill and body. _O_ <-- this is the "O" if you understand the "O" your ninja if you can control the "O" you are worthy. The bottom line is the bottom of the lake your lure running at normal speed should be at the bottom of the "O". The top of the o is the surface of the water. With a square bill set at a 45 degree the faster the lure runs the more unstable it becomes and will travel up the O. Some baits are designed to do this others are more stable and stay at the bottom. The blow out happens when it reaches the top of the O the surface. Other lures travel left and right along the bottom line by design shape and how it is weighted. If you understand how to control the O then it is magic because the bait will travel anywhere within the O and never reach the top to blow out. Also each cast the bait never travels the same way twice it acts like a baitfish. This was one of the main reasons why people used wood square bill lures...like the BIG----O.

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BTW wood lure builders _O_ <-this is the cure to blow outs :ph34r:

 

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GREAT to see you here Chris!

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I only read the highlights of the thread so forgive me if I have repeated something here.

 

The depth per pound of line you are using all depends on the crankbait you are using. Each has an optimum and some will dive deeper some shallower than what the package says!

 

The ensure I am getting my bait down to where I want it to run I'll use a deeper diving bait based on that depth (i.e. fish one that runs 15 ft when fishing 12 feet etc...)

 

How fast a bait dives again depends on the design of what you're throwing. Berkleys new Dredger series baits probably get down really quicker than most any others I've ever used.

 

Base colors simply on water color. Leave the wild, loud colors to the bait monkeys. This is not to say that some will not catch a fish here and there. I am a tourney angler,  I am not out to catch one here and there. Narrow down your selections to craw, shad and local forage fish colors. These are for clear-stained water. When visibility drops use something like powder blue back/chartreuse, chartreuse, white/splatter back, fire tiger etc... You don't need a box full of wild colors. Watch some of the top pros when they are cranking and you'll see these colors over and over.

 

All this takes lots of experimentation and experience with lots of baits on different bodies of water. What works today on this lake may not work tomorrow on a different lake! 

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Well, you loose depth because of stretch in the line, bow in the line or line drag. You loose depth because of drag slipping and sometimes you loose depth because your bait for whatever reason doesn't track the same path each cast. Most baits the depth printed on the package is based upon 10lb line. The problem with this from one manufacturer to another the diameter might differ. Something else to consider the entire line might be different diameters at different points in the total spool because of manufacturing process. How much the stuff floats or sinks or shape also change depth. Casting distance is a major factor in depth because it provides the running room needed to achieve depth. The pitch angle of the bill, width of the bill, shape of the bait, pull point, and how much it floats will effect at what point it will reach depth. When I wrote all this stuff I kinda left color alone if I recall correctly. I was putting more focus on vibration and what the bait was actually doing in the water. I find it to be more important for somebody new to learn cranking. For example most plastic crankbaits where the bill looks like it is sticking out flat from the nose of the bait stops swimming the more the bait lays flat. A well built wood bait doesn't stop swimming or vibrating. A bait where the front of the bill is turned down like a bill norman bait will continue to swim and vibrate the whole cast but will take longer to reach depth. I point this out because where you position your boat will or should differ depending on what kind of bait your throwing based on what point the lure reaches max depth and are effectively vibrating or swimming when you need them to be. What the bait is made of matters at times believe it or not but not in the way you might think. #1 you can pack more weight in wood than plastic and still have an effective bait.  #2 when your crankbait bill strikes an object the body of your crankbait acts like a speaker to transmit sound. Balsa, poplar, pine, cedar, plastic, all make different noises when you strike an object. Some because of density will project a louder or sharper noise than others. By the same token some noises sound more natural than others and bill shape plays into it too. I say this because the more flat the front of the bill is the more area is striking an object. As far as loud colors that work right now in fall through winter is parrot color pattern. It is olive green back tan sides fluro orange nose orange belly stripe. Why? This time of the year shad are feeding heavy on algae rocks. Between the cold water and irritating their nose feeding it turns orange red color. I will also add your bluegill and warmouth tend to be dark this time of year almost black..just say'n. Early in the season spring and fall at times bass feed on crappie splatterback works because it kinda looks like a crappie. (bass also love bass) If you pay attention to your shad sometimes you will find an odd shad with the same splatter pattern. You might also find a few that are lighter color khaki is a great color to match for that. Early ice out the first to move up is bluegill in most areas. Your crawfish patterns and bluegill patterns tend to do well. All summer long this year I have been fishing shad colors mainly because the places I fish have them. The dirtier the water or how much light in the sky the more fluro I go. Most of my baits has fluorescents in the color scheme but the more chocolate mud the water is the more I gravitate towards more solid fluorescents. Size of the bait also goes up the more stained the water. I hope this helps :)

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On 10/8/2005 at 9:52 AM, Chris said:

The biggest key to becoming a better crankbait angler is to pay attention to the vibration. Try to block out distractions and tune in to what your bait is doing. Feel the vibrations the whole cast and retrieve. Use the force! Concentrate on the vibration and keep a positive attitude. The more you pay complete attention to the steady vibration of the bait the easier you can detect a difference or change in the vibration. You can tell when your bait comes in contact with cover or when its about to. You can feel the rush of water that means a fish just rolled on your bait. Sometimes you just loose the vibration which means the fish has your lure or when you feel slack. Most strikes are not bone jarring but a slight difference in the vibration and almost feels like an interruption in the vibration. Most guys say well with a crankbait the fish hook themselves. Well, unless you spend hours sharpening your hooks and if the bass turns with your bait more than likely your missing fish. If you do not react to the strike you can have the sharpest hooks but guess what they can still spit it. You don't set the hook like a jig or worm but I sweep my rod to gather any slack and line stretch just that tension is enough to drive the hook but if your sitting there waiting for the fish to hook themselves your going to be waiting a long time. If your using a dead pulling crankbait where all you feel is the pull and not the vibration you will never feel the difference in vibration and will never have a clue how many fish hit and spit your bait. Color is a factor to what bait to use in what water color or clarity but your first step should always be vibration. Depth control, lip style, line size all need to be factored in also. When figuring out what retrieve to use I try to make an educated guess of what I think the activity level of the bass should be then tweak the way I work the bait as I learn more through the day. I feel that a single rattle or no rattle work best because it gives a bass more of a direction of where the bait is. Sound from rattles kinda spreads out and doesn't give much of a direction just an are of noise but vibration gives more of a pinpoint direction. Baits with tons of rattles in them call bass from an area and in clear water to slightly stained water can be very effective. You need to understand that rattle noise and vibration are two separate things. You can't put them in the same category. Vibration gives a pinpoint direction and rattles give a general direction. Rod position will effect the depth of your bait and will change the amount of feel you have. I try to point my rod to my bait and as the bait runs deeper follow it with my rod. If I keep my rod high it will loose depth if you point your rod to the side you will have a hard time feeling that rush of water I was talking about. Casting distance will effect the amount of room the bait has to reach its deepest running depth. Its kinda a game of angles if you get good at it you can hit structure or a depth zone with some consistency. Different lures that are identical will have different running depths so you need to play with them to figure out what depth they run. The depth on the lure package in most cases is an average running depth. Lur Jenson and DT lures are the few that have an accurate running depth not an average but always factor in casting distance and how much running room your bait has to reach that depth. A Bill Norman bait kinda slowly works its way to the depth and about when the bait reaches the boat is the max depth it will run. It took most of the cast distance to work down to that depth. As a bait gets close to the boat it looses depth and starts working its way to the surface. So if I make a long cast with this bait and reel it in about 30 feet out away from my boat is the max depth that bait will run. The DT baits are different because it digs as soon as you start reeling and in a short distance gains depth. Most baits don't do that and take more running room to reach the same depth. The wider the wobble the more resistance the bait has and the less depth the bait can go. This is crankbait season and I hope this helps you this season ;D

If vibration is the ticket, why not just use Chatterbait a instead? They’re easier to feel on a stiffer rod and work at any depth...

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47 minutes ago, Joshua Vandamm said:

If vibration is the ticket, why not just use Chatterbait a instead? They’re easier to feel on a stiffer rod and work at any depth...

Because in Oct. 2005, the date of the post you quoted, almost nobody had heard of a Chatterbait. It was introduced in 2004 and only sold ~5,000 lures nationwide. It didn't "take off" until Thrift won a Stren Series event on Okeechobee in Jan. 2006 with it, followed up by 8 of the top 10 anglers in the FLW opener on the same lake that same month using it. :P

 

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19 minutes ago, Team9nine said:

Because in Oct. 2005, the date of the post you quoted, almost nobody had heard of a Chatterbait. It was introduced in 2004 and only sold ~5,000 lures nationwide. It didn't "take off" until Thrift won a Stren Series event on Okeechobee in Jan. 2006 with it, followed up by 8 of the top 10 anglers in the FLW opener on the same lake that same month using it. :P

 

LOL. Fair enough it was the top post. I didn’t look at date. So your saying Chatterbaits can basically replace a crank in most situations unless your really trying to cause a ruckus?

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I honestly have no idea since I don't throw Chatterbaits much. I thought they'd be a "flash in the pan" bait that bass became accustomed to rather quickly due to their strong vibration pattern, but I was obviously wrong in that regard. I know a lot of guys who use them effectively, but it seems like there would be situations where one would be better than the other in certain situations, e.g., cranks deflect better, but chatters have more vibration in general, etc. 

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Sure. Diving cranks definitely dig bottom. Bladebaits don’t dig at all.  

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On 4/11/2018 at 8:44 PM, Joshua Vandamm said:

LOL. Fair enough it was the top post. I didn’t look at date. So your saying Chatterbaits can basically replace a crank in most situations unless your really trying to cause a ruckus?

I really don't think a chatterbait can replace a crank at all, they are totally different beasts. Reading the post about vibration thing it is more about getting in tune with how each of your crankbaits run. I would say most cranks vibrate less than a chatterbait, and the reason we have many styles of cranks is because the different vibration patterns work under different conditions.

 

Two examples. Shad rap which is a very subtle bait is a killer cold water crank due to the limited commotion it makes. While on a vacation a few years back, I was crushing an active bass bite with a hard wobbling Xcalibur square bill. We had a major front hit, and they would no longer hit this bait. I then switched to a Bandit 100 which was a little smaller and more subtle action and I started to crush them again.

 

Personally I get the feeling that a chatterbait is for more active fish that will chase as a general rule, and you may get some inactive fish, if you put it right in front of there nose and bother them enough to strike it.

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14 hours ago, cgolf said:

I really don't think a chatterbait can replace a crank at all, they are totally different beasts. Reading the post about vibration thing it is more about getting in tune with how each of your crankbaits run. I would say most cranks vibrate less than a chatterbait, and the reason we have many styles of cranks is because the different vibration patterns work under different conditions.

 

Two examples. Shad rap which is a very subtle bait is a killer cold water crank due to the limited commotion it makes. While on a vacation a few years back, I was crushing an active bass bite with a hard wobbling Xcalibur square bill. We had a major front hit, and they would no longer hit this bait. I then switched to a Bandit 100 which was a little smaller and more subtle action and I started to crush them again.

 

Personally I get the feeling that a chatterbait is for more active fish that will chase as a general rule, and you may get some inactive fish, if you put it right in front of there nose and bother them enough to strike it.

Apologies I was unclear but was referring to lipless cranks. Given Tho there are still subtle differences.  

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The not so subtle difference is the visual flash a lipless provides.  Same for flat sided cranks.  They are a different animal altogether.

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9 hours ago, Joshua Vandamm said:

Apologies I was unclear but was referring to lipless cranks. Given Tho there are still subtle differences.  

Lipless are an interesting case, lots of noise and vibration, but they catch lethargic bass. I think the key for them is that they are a drop bait as well as a crankbait, and excell around vertical cover. Realistically they are fished a lot like soft plastics, which makes them a great starter crank for folks that have mostly used soft plastics. Over the last couple of years the red eye shad has been my number 1 producing crank.

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7'2" Medium Heavy Moderate action...enough rod for deep cranking?

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Sounds perfect.

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Ok, so the $64 question that’s not been asked or answered...

 

Do you always attach the crankbait directly to the line or are there any situations you attach it to a clip?

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On 6/19/2018 at 11:00 PM, HeyCoach said:

Ok, so the $64 question that’s not been asked or answered...

 

Do you always attach the crankbait directly to the line or are there any situations you attach it to a clip?

I always tie to the o-ring that comes on the bait . 

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8 minutes ago, scaleface said:

I always tie to the o-ring that comes on the bait . 

 

Same here. Always have, always will. 😉

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