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A rare insight into crankbait fishing


Chris

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what's a really good time to start using orange colored with black stripes colored square bill cranks. I haven't even caught a single fish on a square bill all winter/fall 

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  • 2 weeks later...

What lot of info...  It seems I have been working crankbaits totally wrong according to what I have read, which would explain a lot.  I would have thought trying to mimic a injured fish with jerking motion followed by a pause would cause a reaction...  Of course I did once catch a small base that was smaller then the top water plug I was using..  LOL

 

I'd like to touch on a subject that I feel is important and that is crank bait retrieval  speed or reel ratio.   How do you know how fast to work or retrieve ?

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11 hours ago, Flatrock said:

How do you know how fast to work or retrieve ?

That all depends on what bait you're using and what the fish want.  Most baits have an optimal retrieve range.  Too fast, and they spin out.  Too slow, and they don't reach depth.  With time, you develop a feel.

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On 10/8/2005 at 11:37 AM, DDbasser said:

Thanks Chris,

Every time I read one of your's Rauls, or RW's

posts i learn a little something about lures!!!

You guys keep the info coming, it really helps me out.    

*Not Raul though - in Mexico they use 5" / 3 oz. size  crank baits for the 25 lb. bass that live south of the border (lol !)

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Know the depths, the bottom structure, look for the flats, the points. Do you use a scent? I wash my hands and touch nothing but my baits. I don’t make any noise it spooks the fish.

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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

I agree 100 percent. I always fish cranks on braid with a medium fast rod. You feel everything. Just don't horse them in and you won't pull hooks out.

On 10/17/2019 at 12:55 PM, skekoam said:

Thanks for the advice.  I still have not caught a fish on a crank bait yet.  I need to work at it though.  Had no idea of all the intricacies involved.

.you have to hit rocks with them. When it hits pause it and let it float up a little like it's stunned then reel. If there's a fish it will hit it.

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I just read the original post. Great advice. In 2023, I will follow it and focus on the vibration. I'll also be ready to sweep set the hooks if there's a change. 

On 7/12/2021 at 10:07 PM, bigbill said:

I don’t make any noise it spooks the fish.

 

Heck, yeah! I'm your choir and you're preaching to me, pastor. 

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13 hours ago, ol'crickety said:

I just read the original post. Great advice. In 2023, I will follow it and focus on the vibration. I'll also be ready to sweep set the hooks if there's a change. 

 

Heck, yeah! I'm your choir and you're preaching to me, pastor. 

This year I learned that slowing way way down gets rewarded with much larger fish. 

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6 hours ago, txchaser said:

This year I learned that slowing way way down gets rewarded with much larger fish.

 

At times when a slow retrieve is best I often use a crankbait that's a little too deep for the water I'm fishing.  IE, I'll use a Bandit 300 for fish/water that's 8 feet deep, or a 5XD, 6XD, or DT16 in 12 to 14 feet deep water.    When it gets to the bottom pause the retrieve, let it rise a little then drag it back down.  Pay attention though.  Strike are often subtle, and during the pause period.  I also use suspendots  on the lip to help keep a bait down for a slow retrieve.   

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  • 4 weeks later...

Great info. I REALLY struggle getting bit on cranks. I usually throw them around docks and rocks and not much else, however, because the water I fish is normally not amenable to treble hook baits (lots of vegetation, usually not a hard bottom, etc. But I'm usually able to snag one or two running them down the sides of docks. Even lipless on bodies of water that do have a semi-hard bottom, they don't seem to work for me. I have a dedicated crank bait rod (Defy Gen 2 Black). But I'm wondering if reel speed is critical for cranking. I have used 6, 7 and 8s on my crankbait rod and I feel like 7 is the sweet spot, 8 being way too fast and 6 just being a hair too slow. Maybe that's my problem? Who knows, I don't struggle on most other lures like I do with these.

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I read this post when I first started bass fishing. I grew up fishing soft plastic swim baits and shrimp imitators for speckled trout and other inshore species so jigs and T-rigs and the like came easy… Moving baits were pretty much completely new to me other than catching a few speckled trout one of the few times I tried a topwater. I’m a researcher when it comes to new things, so I looked at post after post about crankbaits and how to fish them for like a week before I went out to try it at a local park that is known for pretty good bass fishing. I started with a lipless and quickly realized how true this information is. I was setting the hook every time I ticked the grass at first, but I focused on the vibration. When I tried a squarebill for the first time it made me even more sense to me. Now I can fish a crankbait and feel the difference between what hitting a rock or stump feels like vs what a bite feels like. This was a valuable lesson learned before I knew how much I would love bass fishing now. Thanks for all of the valuable info you have shared over the years! 

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