Crankbait Tips for Summer

Summer Bass Fishing Videos
Summer crankbait fishing from top to bottom (it’s not just deep water!). Every crankbait tip for summer you’ll need to know, right now!

The Baits

Booyah One Knocker: 

Booyah Flex II Squarebill: 

Norman NXS: 

Norman DD22 Crankbait: 

The Gear

Okuma crankbait rod: 

Helios Air reel:

Gamakatsu replacement treble hooks:

Seaguar Tatsu fluorocarbon line:

DuoLock snaps size 1: 

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Keri: Oh, nice. Oh, you've got the camera. All righty, then.

Man: Yeah. I'm not sure if that's a bass, though, he’s acting funny.

Keri: Uh-oh.

Man: Yeah. Oh, it's a bass.

Keri: It's a bass.

Man: Come here, sweetie. Ooh.

Keri: He swam the other way, not me. He saw the net and went under the boat.

Man: That's a good fish.

Keri: That's a nice fish.

Glenn: Hey, folks. Glenn May here at, and today I wanna talk to you about fishing crankbaits in the summertime. Now, bass are up active. They feed throughout in the summer, their metabolism is high, and they wanna eat baitfish. That's what they feed on during the summertime is baitfish. So, what better bait to use than a crankbait, right? Well, it's a little more in depth than that. I wanna talk to you about the different types of crankbaits I use and how I fish them and different places I fish them during the summertime and hopefully it helps you, too.

So, what we wanna start off first, though, with is the rod and the reel and what I'm using and why I'm using it. I'd like to start off with a rod that's got more of a moderate type action here. This one here is a seven-foot moderate power...that's actually a medium-power moderate action rod. And look at where it bends. It starts bending way down here actually. Okay? That's what you want, a lot of flex in it.

And the reason being is these crankbaits, they all have...they've got these little hooks, little treble hooks on them. They're not super big. They're not super thick. They don't got a whole lot of bite to them.

So, that in itself is a reason because if you've got too strong of a rod, what happens a lot is when the fish hits it and you swing on them, you actually are gonna rip the hooks right out of his face. Or even during the fight back to the boat, that fish is fighting, fighting, fighting. And if you've got a rod that doesn't have a lot of give, and when that fish makes a surge, then that rod is just gonna cause the hooks to rip right out of his face. So, you don't want that.

And some hooks, some hooks with some crankbaits aren't very strong. When you get a brand-new crankbait, take a pair of pliers and try to bend them out. Now, all hooks will bend. So, don't, like, put a lot of force on it. But if it doesn't take much work to bend that hook out, then I would recommend replacing that with something, you know, a replacement hook like a Gamakatsu hook or VMC because, again, if you've got a stout rod and weak hooks, then eventually, that hook is gonna bend out and you're gonna lose the fish. So, a rod that's got medium power with a moderate-action rod tip, that's what you're looking for.

Paired with that is a reel that's a high-speed reel, and this is a 7.5 to 1 reel with a real smooth drag. That's important because, again, when you're fighting the fish, you've got to have the drag and the rod work in concert to give line to that fish when he makes those surges so you don't pull those hooks out. So, a reel that's got a real smooth drag. This is an Okuma Helios Air reel. It's got a great drag system on it. I really like it for crankbaiting.

I also use fluorocarbon line. I'm using Seaguar Tatsu fluorocarbon line for two reasons. Tatsu is real supple, so it casts like a dream. It's great. You know, Invizx is a more durable line but it doesn't cast as well. For crankbaiting, I really like something that's supple, but 100% fluorocarbon, no braid. I'm not using leaders. The reason I'm using the straight fluorocarbon is because the fluorocarbon has got that sensitivity to it. And it also has, it's dense so it's a little sinks a little bit so it's gonna have a more straight connection to that bait, a lot more sensitivity, and I'm gonna be able to feel those subtle bites.

And now, you might think, well, fish, you know, they come and they crash the crankbait. Of course, you know, when you got a fish. Not so, because a lot of times, when that crankbait's moving through the water and the bass would be chasing it and they come up behind it, and they grab it. Swimming right with it, and if they don't like what they feel in their mouth, they spit it right back out, and you won't even feel it because they didn't turn. They didn't grab it. You don't feel the weight of them, nothing. You don't feel the strike.

But if you've got a real sensitive line on there and paired with this reel, if you notice, so I've got the light. You can't really see it. They're the mini-guide system. Look how small that guide is. The mini-guides, what they do, because the foot of each guide is a lot shorter, shorter distance to the blank, it's got less distance to transmit vibrations to the blank. All of this amounts to a lot more sensitivity when you're fishing and you'll feel that vibration coming through your rod, and it might just feel kind of dull. It's not as crisp. Well, that's a lot of times when those fish come up and mouth it. And you'll catch a lot of more fish that way if you use a setup like this.

I don't use braid. Braids blend, for one, so you'll get a kind of a bow going down to your crankbait. But also, braid has no give to it at all. Fluorocarbon has got a little bit of give to it and a little bit of stretch, but braid, not at all. And again, it goes back to ripping those hooks out of that fish's face. Braid is not a good choice. Even if you try to use a leader, it doesn't make up for it, guys. Eighteen inches, a foot of a leader does not have enough stretch to make up for that long cast of braid that you've got out there. So, I do not recommend using braid for crankbait fishing. Just use straight fluorocarbon or use mono if you can't afford fluoro. Mono is better than using braid when it comes to crankbaiting.

So, that's the setup that I use. Let's get a little bit into the different baits that I use for summertime starting with the lipless crankbaits. Now, lipless crankbaits like the Booyah One Knocker right here, this is what I'm talking about, if you notice, I've got a snap on here, not a snap swivel but a snap. And I've got that on here, too, on this fish, on this fish, on this crankbait. I use snaps because I can change crankbaits faster that way without having to retie every time. I don't use a swivel there because a swivel is going to collect gunk. It's going to collect all kinds of garbage coming back through the water and it also weights the crankbait down. So, just a number one snap is all you need. But here, we're talking about lipless crankbaits.

What I like to use these for is fishing the deeper waters. I know in the springtime, it's really good for throwing to shallow waters and buzzing across the surface, and you might get away with that doing this in the early morning hours or in the evening, bringing it back really quickly along docks, you know, in shallow areas but really, for me, in the summertime, it really shines, is in fishing offshore deeper in those rock piles, those ledges, those points in the creek beds, and river channels.

I like to throw it out there and let it fall straight down first, and it flutters. It wobbles when it goes down. And a lot of times, a fish will bite it as it's fluttering down. So, you've got to watch your line. You've got to pay attention, see if you get a bite as it falls.

But once it hits the bottom, then what I like to do is just let it sit there for a minute and then pop. And I'll just pop it off the bottom and then let it flutter back down. Pop it off the bottom, let it flutter back down. This is a lot like spoon, fishing with a spoon in the summertime, but you're using a lipless crankbait instead because, again, those fish are feeding up on those baitfish. So, that's a great presentation to use in the summertime with lipless crankbaits.

Glenn: Well, he got it.

Keri: Hey, look at that. That’s a nice fish. I’ll get the net.

Glenn: That’s a really good fish

Keri: Ya it is. Of course the net is not anywhere where I can….

Glenn: He’s barely hanging on too.

Keri: Anywhere where I could grab it

Glenn: I need the net now.

Keri: Nice fish.

Glenn: That’ll do. There we go.

Keri: A little football.

Glenn: The next crankbaits I like to use for shallow water are squarebills. Like here, I use the Booyah Flex II Squarebill. I like using this around stump fields, shallow stump fields and around docks. Works really well for that.

You know, you may think you could get hung up a lot with that, but see, if you notice, you know, a bait like this, look at the size of the body, it runs like this in the water, not like this, it runs like this. So, the body protects those hooks. This is the beauty of a squarebill. You can throw it in woody cover, pilings and things like that and you're not gonna get hung up as much. So, that's in an angle, see, it's a squarebill. That's why it has that name, but what it does is when it hits an object, it deflects wildly off the cover. So, the hooks never get a chance to touch that.

So, it's a really good shallow bait for fishing those areas in the summertime. Great when the fish are up shallow and feeding.

And again, they will be up, and a lot of people think the fish completely abandon the shadows in the summertime. That's not true. The fish are feeding on baitfish and they'll follow the baitfish wherever they are even if the environmental conditions aren't perfect. So, yeah. Water temperature is above 85 degrees, the water doesn't hold as much oxygen so the fish aren't gonna be there. Hey, man, if the baitfish are there, they're gonna be feeding. So, don't get hung up on that, look for baitfish activity and that's where you'll find the bass. So, a squarebill is really good for fishing those shallow areas when they're up on that stuff.

But also in the summertime, I like to go a little bit deeper when, again, when the fish are actively feeding, and now I'll use something more like this, what this is. This is the Norman NXS. This is the NXS crankbait. You notice it's got a round bill. And that doesn't work so well around stumps because a round bill, what happens is the bait curves around it and then your hooks get exposed, and you'll get hung up on stumps. That's why a squarebill works so well in the shallow water, but what a round bill does, this is what I like to do.

I'll take a bait like that or like this one. This is a little bit deeper. You know, it's just got a little bit wider bill than the one I just showed you. I'll fish these, say if I'm in 10 feet of water, I want a crankbait that's gonna run 12 to 15 feet deep because I want it digging along the bottom, kicking up mud and dirt, and making a lot of racket. And it goes like this erratically on the bottom when you do that. And that often triggers vicious strikes from bass.

Quick little story. I was fishing lily pads like you'd normally would with worms and jigs and whatnot, and I grabbed the crankbait and I got along the edge, the shallow part where it ended. And I threw up in three feet of water with a crankbait like this that dove down to seven to eight feet of water and just dug into the mud and it just digging, digging, digging. And as I'm trying to reel back, had a three-and-a-half-pounder come careening out of those lily pads to clock it. And I thought, "Well, this is kind of fun. I'm onto something." And so, I started fishing that way throughout the day and I caught so many three and four-pounders, I can't remember, but that is a great way to fish.

And this is what you wanna do when you're fishing these crankbaits is get them to run a little bit deeper than where you're fishing and you want it to do that action on the bottom and you're gonna get a lot of strikes. It's also really good if you're fishing, say, rip rap. Great way to fish rip rap. You wanna make sure that bait is bouncing off that rock, going off different angles, and you'll catch a lot of fish that way.

Keri: There we go. A better one?

Glenn: Ya, I bounced it right off the rocks. As soon as I hit the rock, bang! He smacked it. As soon as it ricochet off the rock.  Thank you.

Keri: You’re welcome.

Glenn: There we go.

One other tip I like to tell you about is for nighttime fishing. Now, for that, I'll use something like this. This is a Norman DD22. Look at the size of the lip on that thing, right? That's a big bait. Now, first thing you might be thinking is, "Oh, wow. You're fishing in 20-plus feet of water at night?" No. What I'm doing, this floats. So, what I'll do is I'll throw it out there. Let it sit till the ripples dissipate. And then, I will slowly reel it just with the crank, with the handle, I'm slowly moving it, just barely.

What it's doing is it's sitting on the surface, and this bait, it's got a wide wobble to it. It sits on the surface and does this, okay? Right on the surface.

I don't know what it is. It's not a surface plug but fishing it that way, the fish just clobber it. I fish around, like, for example, pilings, around bridge pilings, and at a little bit deeper water, over the top of deep water like points and humps, over the tops of that and at tops of rock piles just nice and slow. And along docks works like this, too, at night.

And if you want to give it a couple of quick cranks to get it maybe a foot into the water and then go back to that slow retrieve, try that, too, but you want that real slow wobbly action in the summertime, fishing at night, and you can catch a lot of fish doing it that way. I think because they just don't see a presentation like that. So, I'm probably upsetting a few people who do it that way and now the secret is out, but now you know too, and you can be able to catch a lot of fish that way.

So, I hope those help. There's a lot of different ways to fish crankbait in the summertime. Use it like that and you're gonna catch a lot of fish. For more tips and tricks like this, visit