So, you're new to bass fishing and you wanna fish crankbaits, but holy moly, look at all the choices you have. It's overwhelming. Like, where do you begin? Which is best? What are the right ones I should pick? I don't want to spend a bunch of money on a bunch of useless baits. Like, I get it. I get it. I was there too, but you didn't have YouTube back when I was trying to figure it out. So, I'm here to help you make it real easy for you. So, we're gonna narrow it down. We're gonna distill it down to the essentials, so you don't waste your money. And by the end of this video, I'm gonna tell you what to get and how to fish it, but at the end of this video, you're gonna be able to go out and catch a bunch of fish starting tomorrow on crankbaits. So, let's dive into it.
First of all, in choosing crankbaits, you can break it down into four categories, and that's your shallow diving crankbaits, your medium diving crankbaits, your deep diving crankbaits, and your lipless crankbaits. Shallow divers will go from zero to four feet. Your medium divers go from 4 to 12 feet, and your deep divers go down any deeper than 12. Your lipless crankbaits, they can be fished at any depth, so they're in a different category. The other thing you wanna look at is the bills. So, when you buy into these crankbaits, get one of each of those four categories. Now you're gonna actually buy two in each of those categories. One's gonna have a narrow bill, and the other will be a wide bill. A narrow bill makes it a tighter vibration when it goes through the water, that's best when the water temperatures are below 60 degrees. A wider bill gives it that nice sachet, lots of swinging action, big wobble that works best in the summertime or in the warmer temperatures when the water temps above 60 degrees, fish are more active and therefore they move more. So, you're matching the forage.
And then finally, you wanna look at color. Color can be really overwhelming, but let's just break it down. Four main, sorry, three, three colors. That's really all you need. There's three types. One is shad, so that would be like a gray or silver or chrome color, like a Tennessee shad or sexy shad. The second color is gonna be a crawdad color. There's really just two. There's red crawdad and brown crawdad. Red is what I use when the fish are in less than five feet of water, brown for everything else. And then is gonna be your bait fish color, like your perch, your sunfish colors, your blue gale, and your crappie. Those typically have chartreuse in it, so like a firetiger color. So, you want a color in that. So, in all those baits I just mentioned, that's it. You want to go crazy and buy a bunch more, those are the colors you need. Now for the gear. Let's go through that rod real quick. The ideal rod, this doesn't mean it's the only thing you can use to fish crankbaits. In a perfect world, this is gonna be, like, the ideal rod to use. If you have something similar, that's okay, but an ideal rod, what you want is a parabolic rod. One that's got a lot of give to it, like a moderate power rod with a medium action, something that's got a good bend to it.
The reason for that is twofold. One is you can cast it really well, and also when you're fighting the fish, they've got, you know, little treble hooks on 'em. And if you've got a real stout rod, you're gonna end up ripping that hook right out of the fish's mouth. So, you need to give, that rod whenever the fish surges and fights you back, it's gonna absorb all that. And that way the fish stays pinned. It's not gonna rip the hook out. You want a little bit longer rod, like a 7"6, 7"4 to 7"8 length rod. Again, that helps with casting great distances. You get a lot of distance out of a longer rod, but also that leverage, fighting a fish with that parabolic rod. You need a little more leverage to help keep 'em under control and bring 'em back to you.
The line I use pure fluorocarbon line, that's it. Now, I know some people like to use braid to fluorocarbon, not in this instance. Braid has no stretch whatsoever, and in that essence, it works similar fashion as a very stout rod. It can end up ripping the hook out of the fish's mouth. So, you need give, you need stretch, fluorocarbon has stretch, so it's perfect for crankbaits. A leader is not going to make up the difference in the amount of braid that's out there between you and the bait. I don't care how much leader you have. If you are gonna use braid, make sure you just use it as backing, so it's in the reel, at your farthest cast, you want all fluorocarbon between you and the bait. So, you can have braid on the reel. People will do this. And I do this, I did this for years to help save money, so I didn't have to spool the whole reel full of line that, you know when you get down to the core, you're never gonna cast that out anyway, so I just use braid, use a blood knot, and then fill the rest with fluorocarbon. So, at my longest cast, I don't have any braid outside of that reel. That's a great way to save money. And you can go all fluorocarbon. Fluorocarbons got that stretch you're gonna need.
12-pound test is what I normally use for most crankbait situations. That helps get the bait down to its deepest running depth. It's a thinner diameter line. You can go 10, that's fine. It'll get the bait down a little bit further, you know, you drop from 12 to 10 foot, you get about another foot and a half depth. Of course with 10-pound, what I'm doing is we will get to it, but when you're bouncing off cover, your line's gonna drape over that stuff, and it can get frayed. So, 12 is a little bit more durability to it. Conversely, if you're fishing really shallow and you're working that bait through cover, then a bigger line, like 17 pound, is even better. It helps keep the bait shallower, and when you hook a fish near that cover, it helps you fight 'em and bring them back. And you're not gonna get hung up, and your line especially is not gonna get nicked up as much. So, those are some things to keep in mind.
Your reel, what's best with the reel for crankbaiting is a lower gear ratio reel. Something in the five-five to six to two range. So, five-five to one, six-two to one gear range. That gives you a nice slow speed. And the crankbaits get down to the depth they're supposed to be and they run really well. And that's when you get the most bites when they run at that speed. If you don't have a reel at that gear ratio, you don't have to go run it out just to get that unless you got the funds to do so. But if you got a faster gear ratio to reel, just coach yourself, train yourself to reel. You just gotta turn that reel a lot slower in order to work that crankbait properly. So, it can be an adjustment if you're used to winding all the way. Now you gotta slow down to work that crankbait, but it can be done. You don't necessarily have to buy a reel in order to do that for you.
So, that's your gear. So, how do we fish these baits? And then where do we fish them? So, let's talk about how to fish 'em. Sure, you can cast out and just reel back in and catch a lot of fish doing that. They work great for that. Just, you know, throw and wind, throw and wind, throw and wind. And you can catch fish. However, baitfish, which is what you're trying to mimic here, they don't always swim in a straight line and at a steady speed. They stop, they slow, they turn the other direction. They may dive or dart in a different direction. They're erratic. So, try to mimic that with your crankbait. Reel, reel, reel. Give it a pause and reel, reel, reel. Give it a pause. And then maybe reel, reel, reel, reel, reel, reel, pause. Or reel, pause, reel, pause. You know, just don't make it a cadence. Make it irregular. And that oftentimes when you pause it or when you reel again after pausing it is when you'll get a strike. So, be ready for that. That irregular behavior often triggers a bite.
Some guys like to do it with a rod tip, they'll just reel and they'll give it a pop with a rod and pop with a rod just to give it a quick dive or dart in a different direction. That'll create a strike sometimes. Sometimes it's your rod. You pull with your rod then reel and pull with your rod and reel. There's a lot of different ways you can do it. With the vibrating crankbaits, they will, once you stop reeling, they'll drop, they'll just fall, and that could work. They flutter like this, and they'll often get a bite as they fall. So, you can reel, reel, reel, and kill it. Like, you get it by a log or by a stump or a rock. Get it near that and just kill the bait, and let it flutter and sometimes you'll get a strike that way.
With lipless crankbaits, you can also jig it off the bottom, which is especially good in the fall when the bass are feeding on dying bait fish, you're resembling that action. Just pop it up off the bottom and let it flutter back down, and pop it off the bottom, let it flutter back down. Or a yo-yo technique. You can reel up and then drop it as you reel and, you know, bring your rod tip up and bring it back down. All these things, they're just different ways to present an irregular presentation to the bass, which often triggers strikes. So, experiment with that. There's no right or wrong way to do it, and I can guarantee you whatever worked for you the week before will probably change the next week. You probably have to find a different cadence or different way of doing it, bass are finicky that way. But that's what makes it so much fun, is figuring out what's gonna trigger that bite.
So, with that in mind, where do we fish it? Where are places to fish? I like fishing riprap. And what I'll do when I fish in riprap is say I'm fishing in 10 feet of water. I'll pick a crankbait that runs deeper than that, so I can bounce it off the rocks. Ricocheting it off those rocks, it suddenly darts off in a different direction and that can trigger strikes. And bass are up on riprap. They're feeding on bait fish because bait fish are, there's a lot of insects and invertebrae and, you know, organic material that the bait fish are feeding on. And that brings in the bass. So, they're feeding on the bait fish.
So, bringing that crankbait in riprap can be really productive. You can fish it through stump fields. You can fish it through, you know, scattered rock or even deeper water where you've got a hump and it tops off at the top. There might be a little bit of grass on the top with some bait fish in there that can be a killer place to fish a crankbait, get a deeper dive in crankbait, and get it down there. All this, you might be thinking, what if I get hung up, right? And you do. You will get hung up. If you're throwing around docks, you're throwing around any of this stuff that, you know, the logs you can get hung up.
So, there's several ways you can get unhooked. Using the bow and arrow technique is the best method. You snap it a few times, just takes a little practice, but you tighten up on the rod, on the line, and then you bring the line out, and then you pop it, and just do it a couple of times, and that'll oftentimes pop it free. There's other ways to free your bait. I've got a video that explains how to unsnag lures. Watch it and you'll always get your lure back using that. But you can also buy plug knockers too. Some guys like to do that. And slides a heavy weight down the line to knock it free. That'll work as well. So, there's a variety of ways you can get unsnagged. The thing is, with bass fishing, if you're not getting snagged, then you're not fishing where the bass are. So, don't be afraid to get snagged. You'll catch a lot more fish if you do throw in those areas that are a little iffy. A lot of times that's where bass don't see that crankbait and you'll catch 'em.
One quick safety tip with these crankbaits. You know, they have a tendency to hook you and that's not a pleasant experience. You got a fish that's thrashing around, you're trying to grab 'em. Yeah, you can get hooked that way. Even when you're trying to remove the hooks, you can pop them free and the other hook will come out and hook your hand or something. And they're dangerous. You gotta be careful with these. So, I've got a video you can watch. It explains how to land a fish with crankbaits, and you will never get hooked using this technique. I've been doing this way for decades, and I've yet to be hooked with a crankbait if I follow this technique precisely, and you follow it too, you won't have any issues. So, that well, gives you plenty. You got plenty of lures now to throw and plenty of places to throw 'em, and plenty of ways to throw 'em. Armed with all this information, you're gonna go out and whack 'em. I guarantee it. Go out and have a bunch of fun. For more tips and tricks like this, visit Bassresource.com.