A common question many have when fishing with crankbaits is: How to fish a crankbait?
In this post we will discuss some proven techniques that will help you to catch bass.
What kind of equipment should I use when fishing with crankbaits?
Just as important as employing the right techniques is having the right equipment. Before we can talk about how to fish a crankbait, it is important we discuss equipment.
Fishing Rod: Choosing a good rod designed specifically with cranking in mind is very important. You want a fishing rod that is sensitive enough so that you will know when you are hitting the bottom, but at the same time powerful enough to haul in a big fish.
However, if the rod is too powerful you may risk pulling the bait right out of the fish’s mouth. Generally, a good crankbait fishing rod will fall in between Medium Light to Medium Heavy power rating with a Moderate to Moderate Fast Action. Learn more about what we would consider to be the best crankbait fishing rods in the post found here.
Fishing Reel: Selecting a fishing reel for crankbaits really depends on what kind of fishing you are doing. For example, if you are fishing with a deep diving crankbait, you may want a slower retrieve allowing the crankbait to be in the desired depth for a longer time. If you will be fishing with a lipless crankbait, you may want a faster retrieve to rip it across the grass. Generally a good around ratio for a cranking fishing reel is 5.4:1 such as the Abu Garcia Revo Winch
Fishing Line: Fluorocarbon is the best all around crankbait fishing line. Unlike Braid and Monofilament which float, Fluorocarbon sinks, allowing your deep diving crankbait to get to their maximum depth. Using lighter line such as 12 -15 pound test is going to allow you to cast it far enough and yet give you enough power to get the fish out of cover.
Now that we understand what equipment will work best when cranking, let’s answer that frequently asked question: how do I fish a crankbait?
When to throw a crankbait: While you can have much success throwing a crankbait all year round, they have been proven to be especially effective when the water is cold. That means, when you are fishing in early spring or in the fall you better have a crankbait on your line.
Color: Bass love feeding on bluegill, and in the springtime they love feeding on crawfish. So when the water is clear, you want to choose a color that is going to best match what they are feeding on. When the water is stained or muddy, you will find brighter colors to be more effective.
Rip it in through the grass: One of the best ways to generate a reaction strike is ripping a lipless crankbait through the grass. Some bass fisherman intentionally allow themselves to get hung up in the grass. Then when they pull on their rod to free themselves their crankbait gives off that deadly flutter that bass simply can’t help but strike.
Deflecting it off the bottom: Square bill crankbaits are lethal when it comes to bass fishing. Not only do they have a nice wobble to them, but they are perfect for deflecting off the bottom. While fishing, look for anything you can bump into such as: docks, logs, rocks or anything else. When this happens, you are bound to generate a reaction strike and catch yourself a big fish. Sometimes the initial bumping may not produce a strike. When this happens this bass may be telling you they want something a little more. Some have found it to be very effect to allow a slight pause or hesitation after bumping into something. This pause might be just enough to get the fish to commit.
Many fisherman love fishing with square bill crankbaits, mainly because they are so effective in catching fish. They also have a unique design. They are designed in a way when they bump into something they sort of roll over it. It is this sort of rolling over feature, that both drives bass crazy, but also helps to protect the hooks, thus avoiding hang ups. Unfortunately, if you do this often enough, it is only a matter of time before you will get hung up. When fishing on the bottom or through cover it is essential to carry with you a lure retriever so as not to lose your favorite crankbait.
(You will enjoy reading our post on some of the best lure retrievers on the market)
Retrieval: When retrieving a crankbait don’t be afraid to change it up. Bass one day may like you to burn it across the water, and the next in the same exact fishing spot, they may like it slow. The important thing is to allow the fish to tell you how they like it and listen to them.
Change it up: Don’t always commit to a cast and retrieve action. Instead don’t be afraid to change it up. Many strikes come after a change of direction, a flutter, or a weird wobble. Create that change on your retrieval by doing a stop and go retrieval, or a yo-yo approach. When fishing with deep diving crankbaits the strike may not come until the lure changes direction. This change happens when the lures begins to go vertical on its way back to the boat. You may find yourself getting more bites if you change-up your retrieval.
So, how to fish a crankbait? Well, hopefully this post helped to answer that question. Did we leave out some of your favorite techniques when cranking? If so, feel free to share with us some of your favorite crankbait techniques in the comments below.