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Bassfisherman94

Winter Time Cranking

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I will throw cranks, but deep when I throw them is less then 15ft and most times less then 8 ft.

Pete

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I will sometimes crank in winter, but it's reserved for pretty specific instances on pretty specific lakes. In the Midwest when we get 32-34 degree water temps with open water, it's not a tactic I employ; I prefer to be successful on the water rather than waste my time slinging baits.

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In dead winter in the south sometimes you will have what we like to call a "heat wave" during this period the weather is changed dramatically from about 30-40 degrees in difference..it can be one of the best days of the year to fish if you know the pattern. Usually the bigger bas will come realitively close to shore but, shore being close to deep water such as a ledge or point, or even a cove...I have seen really big bass caught on 3' running cranks in or around deep water into shallow water...usually the boat is in 20'+ and the shore is 2'-4' deep using a chartruse and black, or silver and white...something to draw a bite cause "they always say the biggest females spawn first..

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cause "they always say the biggest females spawn first..

That would be the first time I've ever heard that, anywhere.

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How many of you like to deep crankbait fish during the winter? Is it better than some other applications?

I like to throw deep cranks in the dead of winter IF the conditions are right for it.

Is it better than some other applications? not really sure it depends on what other applications you are thinking about.

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That would be the first time I've ever heard that, anywhere.

X2

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Not saying it's true, im just going off experience. The lake I fish at I have seen huge mamas caught on the beginning of the spawn or late winter...just from my experience.

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Crankbaits are good tools to pick off some more active fish after a warming trend. I usually cast parallel to a river or creek channel. After i do that i slow down and fish the area more thoughtfully with something slower.

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We don't generally get water temps in the thirties out here so I can really comment on that but I do catch fish on deep cranks year round. Norman also makes suspend models that you can fish more like a jerk bait with a stop and go retrieve. Just because its winter does not mean that there will be no periods of activity. In my experience warming trends help but are not the only times cranks can be effective. Many times the bite will be there in short windows of opportunity. You may go 4hrs with out a bite and then all of the sudden they chew for an hour and you pick up 4 or 5 fish. Knowing this what I generally do is pick up a crank right when I get to a spot and fan cast the area. If I don't get bit I I'll put it down and go to something else. But every time I get to new water I give a crank a few casts, if you hit these windows at the right time you can put some weight in the boat. Winter crankbait fish almost always seem to be quality fish.

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I read an article just yesterday that KVD had written about cold water cranking. He mentions crankin in lower 40 degree temps as well as down into the 30's (my guess would be upper 30's) in the article. Haven't tried it but found that interesting.

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i heard something about the bigger females too.. but it was about them move up earlier not them actually spawning earlier.. also something about them spawning relatively deeper.. or something like tht, i dunno

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Anything less than 40 degrees I don't use them but I love them above that

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I've heard the same about the bigger fish spawning first as well. I wouldn't say they always spawn first, but i've experienced that there definitely is a good class of big fish that do like to spawn earlier than the "typical" class. Also may be why a lot of great anglers around here like to start fishing humps and ledges LONG before the spawn is over. The winners of the Douglas BASS Open in 2011 had been catching the same schools in the same locations for almost 3 months before the Open came. Thier catches went from almost 30lb limits and started a downward trend as time went on.

I've also found that, although people say they may spawn deeper, in the lakes here in east Tennessee, the water is on the rise during that time of year. So, while a fish may start on day one, by day 3 she may be 5ft deeper than her original 6ft starting place. These fish won't leave the bed just because the sun isn't penetrating as good. Same holds true with our smallmouth that will spawn even earlier and usually even deeper. You may end up bed fishing in 20ft of water on a lake that isn't even considered to be clear at its clearest of times.

As far as the OP and cranking in the winter time...I like to throw big baits in the winter. Bigger, slower bait, gives a good sized bass a meal worth moving for. But, if you could deadstick a crankbait, thats what this would be called. Deep suspending baits moved slowly and stopped often have worked good for me in the past though. More often than not though a silver buddy would be a better choice if you want to move a little more than jig fishing.

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I have seen which I will post picture at the private lake I fish, you can see 8+lb bass on beds not even 20 ft from each other and they are always the first I see to spawn first everytime I have been...this isn't necessarily true in every body of water but i'll figure it out..I have a lot of catching up to do.

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more acttive fish will hit a crankbait, but for me this time of year has to be a chatter bait..thats just me..

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This will be from my personal experience and is certainly not what I would suggest is fact. During the colder months I believe that there are more productive baits then a deep diving crank (for suspending bass) otherwise a jig all the way. Once again this is all just from my personal experience as well as comfort. I generally us a deeper diving suspending jerkbait or a lipless crank. The deeper diving jerkbait is my general bait of choice due to it's ability to suspend in the general strike zone for a much longer period of time. I generally use crankbaits during winter to try and get a reaction strike and in my opinion a lipless crank is better for such an application. For me if i'm fishing deeper water during winter it means that I'm using my graph to locate either a school of bass or baitfish and know what depth they are holding. At which point i'll count down the lipless crankbait to the depth that they are holding. I can either yo-yo it or slow roll it with a few jerks or the rod tip thrown in. Both presentations keep it in the strike zone fairly well. That's not to say that a standard deep diving crankbait wont work in the winter because I've had a few excellent outings crankbaiting in very cold weather. I'm just saying that I will use my other comfort methods first then if those don't produce I'll try a crankbait. It sounds so cliche but you really do have to pay close attention and let the fish tell you what they want.

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Water is tht cold i'm on the couch watching World Fishing Network dreaming of springtime!!! Plus my boat is good and winterized right about not!

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Water is tht cold i'm on the couch watching World Fishing Network dreaming of springtime!!! Plus my boat is good and winterized right about not!

Man I'm blessed, Never had to put my boat up for the winter. Fished 3 days last week and 1 so far this week. And 4 next week, and waters still 47 degrees..

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Never really tried deep cranking in winter. That being said, might try it a bit next time out. I'm more of a jb, jig guy in winter. Not to say you can't catch them that way but I'm happier looking for a nice jb bite when it's this cold. Glad we still have open water considering this time last year is was stuck fishing warm water discharges shoulder to shoulder with yahoos!

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Suspending models of deep cranks can work well right now too. Crank it down to the level the bass are holding at, then vary the retrieve with darts, pauses, and short retrieves. as with any cranking, it's best if you can contact some structure. Run it into a log or rock, then give it a little jerk and pause it. It's a little bit different presentation that not very many people use.

EDIT: Not sure why I said "right now." I've got a foot of ice around here. LOL That's a tactic I like when the water is around 45-50, if I get tired of jerkbaits and jigs.

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On a hot bite in 43 degrees about a decade ago, I put down the jerkbait and tried a deep diving crankbait on the same big bass school. I retieved the deep diver at the right depth of the fish and many different ways. No fish at all. Picked up the jerkbait again after 30 minutes of fruitless cranking and caught another 6 bass in less than 15 minutes. That slim minnow shape is just the best in clear, cold waters for me. Never threw the deep crank again in the cold. Never missed it either.

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