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Chris

Simple Cranking

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I realize that sometimes I tend to jump to advanced cranking that I leave behind some that just want to learn and be successful at it or just catch their first fish. So lets start from square one :) To begin with this style of fishing will catch fish year round and there isn't a better way to catch fish most all conditions. This is one of the few ways to fish for bass that even if the fish isn't feeding you can force it to eat. You can force a fish to react to your lure and bite without it thinking about it. This style of fishing works well for keepers and big fish.

(Shallow water and cover)

Tackle: 6'6" med/heavy rod, baitcasting reel, 12lb line

Lure: shallow running crankbait with square bill 3-5ft running depth

Color: stained to muddy: yellow black back

         Clear to lightly stained: shad white gray or black back

Specific lure: Bandit crankbait cost $3.99

Objective: catch those pesky shallow bass!

Technique:

The first thing you want to do is tune your bait. First make a cast and pay attention to which way the lure is running. If the lure is running to the right with a pair of pliers bend the line tie eye left slightly. Make another cast and see if the bait is running straight if the bait is running left slightly bend the eye right. When you get the bait running straight when you make a cast and point the rod center your body while reeling it the lure should run center. You should have your rod pointed at your lure. 90% of the fish I catch is because of the cast. It is very important when you are fishing around docks, logs, etc., that you can place the lure where you need it and not in the trees. When I am casting to a log I want to cast my lure as close to the bank and close to the log as I can. What I want to do is parallel the log as I reel the bait in. With my rod pointed in the direction of my lure but slightly pointed to the water I start my retrieve. I want to reel my bait at a medium pace. You are going to feel that bait thump and bounce off of any limbs as you reel. If you feel the bait kinda hang up stop reeling and let it float up off of the hang up and reel. Most of the time the bait will just bounce off the limb without and trouble. Make two or three casts to each side of the tree make sure that you run your lure in the same direction as the limbs are growing it helps prevent hang ups. Each time that bait hits a limb or the trunk of the tree it gives that bait a bunch or action. It is changing directions speeding up and acting like a shad. You want to make sure that you are positioned at a 90 degree angle to the tree so that you can run that lure perfectly down the side of the trunk. If you have a tree that part of it is out of the water and the rest is under water you want to run the lure right down the middle of the tree. When you are fishing docks you want to put the lure as close to the dock as you can so that when you reel the bait it is running close to the pilings if not hitting each one along the way. When you are fishing objects I use just a steady retrieve nothing special. I want to make my cast beyond the object or as close to the bank as I can in the case of a tree. If I am fishing a shallow flat I try to make my lure look alive. I usually fish it stop and go and change my speed. I want my bait to look like a shad trying to get away. If I am trying to parallel the bank I try to run my lure 2-3 ft out from the shore line. My next cast I might go out another 2 ft. I try to feel the bottom with my lure unless there is a bunch of weeds then I try to keep the bait up.

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Chris, that is a good article. I like to fish crank baits allot in various forms and like to fish shallow water with lots of trees, laydown and stumps. One thing I might add to this article is a little technique I learned that will make for a less frustrating day.

Since we are fishing heavy wood cover we WILL get our lure hung up. Not if we get it hung up but when we get our lure hung up. Here is a trick that will get your lure unhooked the majority of the time. When your bait is hung it is important not to set the hook into the tree. So as soon as you feel it stop and it isn't a fish then give it slack. If it won't float up like Chris said then while holding your rod (me since I reel with my right hand I hold the rod in my left hand) and with the other hand (In my case my right hand) grab the line about 1 foot above the reel. Pull that line toward you and make it nice and tight. Point the rod tip at the direction of the snag or slightly to the side you are pulling the line and while making the line tight by pulling at least a foot of line with your opposite hand let go of the line so that it makes a snapping noise. This will send a wave action down your line that will literally force your bait to go backwards often popping it off of the tree stump or hangup. You may have to do it several times to get it off. Also, make sure that when you let go of the line that you also move the rod tip a little so that it creates slack after the snap.

This works in shallow snags and in deep snags. I have retrieved many a crankbait using this very technique without having to use a lure retriever. I took Avid fishing with me at the Stick Marsh/Farm 13 last Saturday. Some of you saw my video. Anyway, he and I got hung up allot as we were using a Rattletrap. I popped every single one off of the stumps for us. I even got Avid to do it and he popped one of his own off himself.

If this technique fails and you are in shallow water then go over to your snag and lower your rod into the water and reel in all of the slack at the same time so that your rod tip will follow the line to the lure. Once you make contact with your lure simply bounce your rod tip up and down onto your lure and that will free your lure from the tree.

This might be a revealtion to some or old hat knowledge to others. Since we have so many newbies to the site here and younguns I thought this might help someone.

So no shallow crankbait tutorial should be complete without learning how to remove your crankbait from the eventual snag.

Good luck.

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Very interesting  ::)

Crank baits irritate me to no end  >:(

I can do exactly what you say but when the bait comes any where near cover HUNG-UP is the result. How does one resolve the problem?

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Ok Keithscatch  ;D

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Rip Rap

Rip Rap, dam, pea gravel, from time to time is loaded with bass. If the rock stages out to deeper water fish will live there year round. Most of the time algae will form on the rocks and attract shad, bluegills, and crawfish and bass soon follow. With a crankbait it can get a little tricky because of all the sharp rocks but worth it. Like with the laydown trees you want to parallel the rocks. You want to break it down into zones this will help you break down what depth the fish are using and will help you cover everything. Don't be surprised to catch bass real tight to the bank in inches of water.

Shallow rock bank:

Rod- 6'6" medium/heavy

Lure- Medium diver 6-8 ft

Line- 14lb line (sharp rocks can scrape up line bad so beef it up)

Color- stained to muddy: yellow black back /bright orange/red crawfish

        Clear to lightly stained: white gray or black back/ natural crawfish

Specific Lure- Plastic (rocks are hard on wood baits)

Objective- keep in contact with the rocks

Technique:

With this technique it is kinda like the laydowns you want to make your cast parallel to the rock bank. I start off with a cast tight to the bank with my rod pointing to my lure with my rod down you want to have a retrieve that is just fast enough to touch the rocks or bottom. When the lure makes contact with the rock the contact gives the lure an erratic action. Your next cast you want to make it about 2ft out from you previous cast. The reason why you want to use a deeper bait is because the lip will act as a guard to your hooks and help deflect the bait to keep it from hanging up. As you work your way out deeper you still want to reel just fast enough to make contact. Each pass just 2ft out deeper than the cast before. When you get far enough out that you loose contact with the rock move up the shore a cast distance and start the process over. Make sure that you check the line every now and then for any bad rough spots or nicks in the line, if you find one make sure to retie. When you get confident working your crankbait through the rocks try to speed it up a tad. What you doing is making your crankbait deflect off of the rocks more which causes a reflex reaction strike.

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Flats:

Flats are nothing more than flat areas that can be shallow or deep. I am going to focus on shallow flats.

Shallow grass flats:

Rod- 6'6"/7" medium/heavy

Lure- 1/4 oz rattletrap/ wood crankbait

Line- 14lb line (sometimes your lure gets clogged up and you need it to get your lure back)

Color- stained to muddy: wood-yellow black back(Trap)firetiger

Clear to lightly stained:wood- white gray or black back (Trap)chrome blue back, shad

Specific Lure- wood (easier to keep out of grass) Rattletrap (can be ripped free from the grass and trigger reaction strikes)

Objective- Cover a large area while searching for active fish

Technique: Flats are used by bass as feeding areas. Flats give shallow sanctuary for small shad and gives a bass a large hunting ground. For the most part you are fishing for active fish that want to eat.

Rattletrap-What I am looking to do is make fan casts with my bait to cover a large area effectively. You want to keep a faster pace with a rattletrap to keep it out of the grass for the most part. You want to just skim the surface of the grass. If you bait feels like it has a weed on it while reeling snap the rod to rip the lure free. Sometimes this will force a fish to react to the bait thinking that it is trying to get away. If the flat is 4ft deep or less a 1/4 oz is best because you are able to control the bait. In 4ft or more it is better off to use a 1/2 oz. When you get the hang of it you can also use the 1/2 oz for shallower water. When you fan cast you are picking out zones much like the rock. If you where fishing the bank You want to start off with a 9 o'clock cast then a 10 o'clock cast and so on.

Shallow wood crankbait- I like to use a wood crankbait around weeds because it tends not to get snagged up as bad and it will float up off of the grass. What I want to so is the same thing as the trap work the lure just above the grass. You want to either speed reel the bait or fish it stop and go. If you find that you are hanging on every cast try lifting the rod tip up to make the lure run a little shallower or switch to something shallower like a 1 minus. Some days because of how the grass has grown your going to be picking weeds a bunch don't get discouraged some days are like that.  

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Guest avid
Very interesting ::)

Crank baits irritate me to no end >:(

I can do exactly what you say but when the bait comes any where near cover HUNG-UP is the result. How does one resolve the problem?

The solution is obvious.

Only fish is deep water devoid of all cover and structure.  I guarantee you will not get hung up  8-)

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Hey Chris , please explain why you use a med/ hvy rod instead of a med for shallow cranking. Your responce would be greatly appreciated.

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Most of my rods except my flipping stick are medium heavy. I use it instead of a medium rod for two reasons. First if I am throwing a spinnerbait most of the day and I find a spot that a crankbait is a better choice I can just grab it and not need to become accustomed to a new action rod. If most of my rods are basically the same I already know how the rod will react. The second reason is that I throw a bunch of larger crankbaits shallow and deep. With a med/heavy rod my rod is already rated for the heavy lure and line. What is important for you is to use what is comfortable to you. I know some guys that use a medium light action rod for crankbaits. That is what works for them and they love it. I have a Lews cranking stick (E-Glass) that I use that is med/heavy. I bought a David Fritts signature rod that was a medium rod and didn't like the rod..it didn't fit me. I even changed the gear ratio on the reel because a 4.3 to 1 reel doesn't fit my style of fishing and it is hard for me to switch gears from a 6.3 to 1. I was having a hard time catching up to my fish and was loosing fish. There is a ton of guys that love them.

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This is a very informative thread. I love fishing cranks. One of my go to baits. When the bite is tough for some reason I can tie on a crank and catch at least one. I use the methods mentioned above and then some. When I am fishing flats with cranks, I sometimes like to burn the bait as fast as I can past some sort of cover without making the bait turn on it's side. This usually results in the bait getting hit like a train by a feeding bass.

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Points can be a great place to find bass. Here are some tips ;)

Rod- 6'6"/7' medium/heavy

Lure- Medium diver 6-8 ft

Line- 10lb line (you want the bait to dive the deepest)

Color- stained to muddy: yellow black back /bright orange/red crawfish

      Clear to lightly stained: white gray or black back/ natural crawfish

Specific Lure-Clear water tight wiggle, stained-muddy wide wiggle

Objective- effectively fish a point

Technique:

The first thing your going to need to do is visualize the point in your mind. You know that on either side of the point there is deeper water. You know that a point is a highway to deep water. Fish can position themselves anywhere on the point. There is usually one part of the point that the fish will position themselves to feed you just need to figure out where as you fish it. I tend to try to find points that are steeper than other points because it will set it apart most of them. Points that have irregular features on it like a cover, a secondary point, one side is deeper than the other tends to hold more fish then a plain Jane point. If you where in a boat looking down the point you want to make your first cast much like you would with a laydown tree. You want to hit the right side of the point bringing your lure parallel with the point. Make sure you are positioned correctly with your rod in front tip down pointing to the lure. <-This is important because you are in the best position to set the hook and you know exactly what your bait is doing and know if the lure isn't running correctly in case a minor adjustment needs to be made. You also are able to detect strikes better in my opinion. Make a few casts and then try the other side of the point. You just want a steady retrieve make your cast close to the side edge and work your way out each cast until you loose contact with the point. You want to bottom bounce the bait on point with no weeds and you want to just tick the top of the weeds if weeds are present. After you have covered both sides reposition your boat to cover the end of the point. You might need to change baits to deeper runner because this should be the deepest part of the point and sometimes bass will hang out there. Then switch sides and fish the end again. Next position your boat to make casts across the point. If the point is large enough position your boat to bring your bait from deep water on the end of the point crank the bait as if it was trying to climb up the point. Notice I didn't say Hey "Make a cast then cast to the other side then jump to the next point." Sometimes fish want the bait to come from a certain direction before they strike. You can do the same thing with shore cover also by changing your approach the bass have a different look at your bait and sometimes a different angle makes all the difference.

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Shallow standing timber ;)

Rod- 6'6"( a short rod helps with accurate casts)

Lure- shallow diver 5 ft  

Line- 14lb line (you want the bait to dive the deepest)  

Color- stained to muddy: yellow black back /bright orange/red crawfish  

      Clear to lightly stained: white gray or black back/ natural crawfish  

Specific Lure-wood  

Objective- How to 4 wheel drive timber

Technique:

For me a shallow running crankbait is the work horse of my tackle box. When I fish standing timber I fish it aggressively. I literally ram my lures hard into the wood. I make my cast beyond the standing wood and aim for it as I reel it in.  I want my lure to react to the wood and change directions as it glances off of it. After I make contact with the wood I pause the lure for a brief second and continue my retrieve. If the standing timber isn't real thick I use a coffin bill crankbait to make the bait really deflect off of the wood. If the wood is a more like a jungle then a square bill is better. If I find that the fish are hanging tight to the tree or if I find that they are hanging on the deep side of the tree I tend to use a round bill more because it will hug the tree as it continues around to the deep side. Make sure that you check the line often.

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