If you’re looking to catch more fish, then learning how to use crankbaits is a must. These versatile lures can be used in almost any body of water, from small streams to large lakes and rivers.
Crankbaits are designed to mimic the movement and appearance of real baitfish, which makes them incredibly effective at fooling predatory fish into biting. But with so many different types of crankbaits on the market, it can be tough to know where to start.
In this article, we’ll give you everything you need to know about fishing with crankbaits. From choosing the right lure for your target species to using the right retrieval technique, we’ll cover all the essentials to help you become a better angler.
“Fishing is much more than fish. It is the great occasion when we may return to the fine simplicity of our forefathers.” -Herbert Hoover
So whether you’re a seasoned pro or just starting out, read on to discover our top tips for catching more fish with crankbaits.
Understanding Crankbaits: A Primer
Crankbait fishing is one of the most popular techniques used by anglers to catch fish. If you’re new to fishing or have never tried crankbait fishing before, this primer will help guide you through the basics and advantages of using crankbaits.
The Basics of Crankbait Fishing
Crankbaits are hard-bodied lures that resemble baitfish. They come in a variety of shapes, sizes, colors, and diving depths. The design of a crankbait allows it to dive and imitate the movement of prey fish like shad, crawfish, or minnows. When retrieved, the lure exhibits an erratic action, creating vibrations that mimic the look and sound of wounded or fleeing prey fish. The action of a crankbait entices predatory gamefish such as bass, walleye, and pike, to strike.
To get started fishing with crankbaits, you’ll need compatible tackle. Selecting the right size of line for your rod and reel combo is essential in effectively fishing crankbaits. Typically, medium to heavy-weight lines ranging from 10-20 lbs work best when fishing with crankbaits. In terms of rods, medium-heavy power rods give you enough leverage to cast long distances and fight stubborn fish when they bite. You can also use spinning gear but casting reels perform better because of their adjustable drag systems, which prevent the line from snapping if there’s too much tension on a hooked fish.
Another aspect of fishing with crankbaits involves knowing where the fish are located in the water column. Different crankbaits are rated for different sinking depths, so knowing where fish are holding (deep, shallow or mid-depth) during feeding times is paramount. Pay attention to cover – areas like ledges, drop-offs or weed lines – because gamefish often ambush prey from these locations. Lastly, always ensure that your hooks are sharp enough to grab the fish effectively when they strike.
The Advantages of Using Crankbaits
Crankbaits offer several advantages over other types of fishing lures. Firstly, crankbaits come in an array of colors and patterns which can mimic different species of baitfish. This versatility allows anglers to choose a color scheme and pattern that matches their local forage, resulting in more productive fishing trips as gamefish bite more readily.
Secondly, because of its movement, action and diving capacity, a successful angler using crankbaits can begin reeling at a moderate speed when targeting species like bass or walleye. Many times predatory fish will inhale the lure on the retrieve if you’re slower than with other lures such as jigs or spinners. In contrast, some lures require ‘jigging’ or erratic movements to entice bites.
Lastly, unlike soft plastic baits or live bait which get worn out or die after one use, most crankbaits last much longer. With proper care, you can reel them in again and again, making it a cost-effective option for regular anglers.
“Crankbait fishing is hands down my favorite way to catch smallmouth or largemouth.” -Brent Chapman
If you’re new to fishing or looking for a change of pace, consider giving crankbaits a try. By understanding the basics of how to fish with crankbaits and taking advantage of their unique features, you’ll have a great chance of success while casting out on your favourite body of water. Happy fishing!
Selecting The Right Crankbait For Your Fishing Needs
Fishing with crankbaits can be incredibly effective in catching a variety of fish. However, deciding on the right crankbait for your fishing needs can prove challenging. This article will provide valuable information to help you choose the perfect crankbait for your next fishing trip.
The Importance of Matching the Hatch
Matching the hatch refers to selecting a bait that looks like the local prey species or insects that reside in the body of water you are fishing. When you see what type of prey the fish in your area are eating, it’s best to select a crankbait that mimics its appearance and behavior. Doing this increases the possibility of attracting more fish to bite your lure.
“Matching the hatch is important because predators learn to eat familiar-looking creatures within their environment.” -David Ewald, an expert fishing guide.
If there’s a high abundance of crawfish in the waters you’re fishing at, then using a brown, orange, green-colored crankbait with claws — such as Bomber Square A or Rapala DT10 — may perform well. On the other hand, if shad are abundant in your target pond, blue shades or shiny silver coloration usually works great. Keep in mind to pay attention to attain the correct size when choosing lures so that they resemble the food available naturally.
Choosing the Right Color and Size
Crankbaits come in various colors, patterns, and sizes. As a result, numerous anglers find themselves overwhelmed by the selection. First, consider the depth of the water you’re fishing in before opting for the shade of your crankbait. On sunny days, brighter colors like chartreuse and yellow tend to reflect light and work great in clear water. Whereas on cloudy days, solid darker colors such as purple or black may provide contrast and lure fish better.
Size is another crucial factor to consider when selecting a crankbait. Choosing the correct size can often be decisive if you wish to entice some stubborn fish. The appropriate size for your crankbaits mainly depends on the type of fish inhabiting the waters you’re fishing at, as well as their preferred prey. Many large predator fish prefer larger bait like Rapala X-Rap Magnum Series compared to smaller-sized lures like Rapala Shad Rap.
“Lure companies test their products extensively before presenting them to the public. Always have enough variations so that each application is accounted for differently.” -Kevin VanDam, Professional Bass Angler
Understanding Diving Depths
The depth where fish are currently residing affects the efficiency of a crankbait. This is why it’s important to understand what diving depths you need from your crankbait. Most crankbaits include dive charts that guide anglers to check how deep the lure will travel based on factors such as line diameter or the speed of the retrieve. It becomes easy to control lures with this knowledge while trying to imitate an injured minnow or other natural food source.
Crankbaits come in different categories, either shallow or deep divers. As the term indicates, a shallow diver is designed for shallow waters between 2-6 feet depth. On the other hand, Deep-diving jerkbaits like the Strike King Pro Model 5XD can go down to up to 15ft or more accurately representing deeper creatures seeking shelter. So depending on your target species’ habits, it would help select those properties.
When to Use Lipless Crankbaits vs. Diving Crankbaits
Another tough decision when deciding on a crankbait is figuring out if you need a lipless crankbait or a diving one. Lipless lures vibrate and make lots of noise, and can be great for attracting fish from a considerable distance away. With the body structure providing flat sides or round edges, they also move more like a baitfish than conventional diving crankbaits.
Since their transition in between water columns, particularly deep-water environments, might not be feasible during colder months with waters meant to induce long-term vibrations, it may not be as excellent to opt-in that case. As opposed to lipless cranks, diving cranks like the Rebel Deep Wee R stick-on due to the small bill positioned before them. This neck stops them both from making too much movement sideways and causing drag on the retrieve ratio. Hence those are best utilized when fishing deeper waters with many obstacles such as submerged logs or boulders.
“With lipless crankbaits, various tops dictate depth levels and back-and-forth motions enable different behaviors.” -Seth Feider, Professional Bass Angler
Using the correct bait is often just as important as selecting specific tackle when it comes to fishing. Choosing the ideal crankbait depends significantly on several factors, including the type of fish you’re going after, environmental conditions, required depths, and seasonality. By implementing these guidelines, you should be able to select the most appropriate crankbait resulting in successful catches every time!
The Art of Retrieval: Mastering The Crankbait Technique
If you’re an angler looking to catch more fish, mastering the crankbait technique can be a game changer. During certain times of the year, bass are often attracted to crankbaits because they resemble baitfish and make noise in the water. Here’s some useful information on how to fish crankbaits.
The Right Speed and Rhythm
One of the keys to fishing with crankbaits is getting the right speed and rhythm. Different types of crankbaits require different retrieval methods. For example, shallow-running crankbaits should be retrieved quickly, while deep-diving ones need to be reeled in more slowly. Experiment with different speeds until you start getting bites.
It’s important to keep a steady rhythm when retrieving your crankbait. Erratic movements can signal to bass that something isn’t quite right, causing them to shy away from your lure. You want to create a natural and consistent movement that looks like swimming prey.
Working the Rod Tip
Another important technique when fishing with crankbaits is working the rod tip. When you cast out your crankbait, immediately begin jerking your rod tip up and down to give it an erratic swimming action. This will help attract nearby fish to your lure.
You also want to vary the depth of your presentation by raising or lowering your rod tip as you retrieve. Keeping the rod at a constant angle throughout your retrieves will result in an unchanging depth that may not entice wary fish.
Using the Pause Technique
A pause in your crankbait retrieval can be a great tactic for catching opportunistic fish. After casting your crankbait out, let it sit motionless in the water for a few seconds. This will create the illusion of an injured or dying baitfish, which can be irresistible to predatory fish.
Keep in mind that the length of your pause can make all the difference. Too short of a pause may not be noticeable to nearby bass, while too long of a pause could cause them to lose interest altogether. Experiment with different lengths of pauses until you find what works best for the conditions and location you are fishing in.
Mastering the Crank and Pause Technique
The art of mastering the crankbait technique is knowing when to use a steady retrieve versus incorporating pauses. When fish are more active and feeding aggressively, utilizing a steady retrieve with some rod tip work is most effective. However, when fish are less active, you need to slow down your presentation, add pauses and focus on imitating smaller baits such as shad minnows or baitfish fry.
To successfully execute this technique, try using stop-and-go retrieves by making 4-5 turns of the reel handle followed by a quick pause. Doing this gives the appearance of an injured baitfish struggling to swim away.
“The biggest mistake I see anglers make is only using one cadence. Everyone has their favorite cadence, but it’s important to change up the speed every once in a while when targeting aggressive and neutral-feeding fish.” -Brandon Coulter, Bassmaster Elite Series Angler
By following these tips, you’ll be well on your way to mastering the crankbait technique, and catching more fish on your next outing.
Seasonal Changes And Adapting Your Crankbait Strategy
If you’re looking to up your fishing game and try new techniques, crankbaits are a great place to start. These lures mimic small prey fish and can be used in a variety of ways to catch different types of fish. However, it’s important to understand that the best way to use crankbaits depends on the time of year and the conditions you’re facing. Here are some tips for adjusting your strategy during each season:
Spring Crankbait Tactics
Spring is a great time to use crankbaits because many species of fish are feeding aggressively after a long winter. Depending on where you live, water temperature is usually between 50-65 degrees Fahrenheit which means you should go with lower diving crankbaits with wider wiggles and echoes. Try suspending jerkbaits like Megabass Ito Vision 110 or Rapala X-Rap Jerkbait around any type of cover: rocks, trees and logs where the preys shelter themselves.
“Slowly roll or stop-and-go retrieve should do the trick when spring bass are high in the shallows.” -Kevin Hawk
Summer Crankbait Strategies
In Summer, water warms up bringing more energy to the fishes. The increase in water temperatures cause the baitfish move out of shallow waters into somewhat deeper areas to find cold water shadows and get away from predators. This makes using deep-diving crankbaits with longer bills such as those made by Strike King or Lucky Craft the ideal choice for catching fish like Bass. Trolling methods like Texas Rigs combined with Carolina Rigs baits in addition to crankbaits could also produce better results.
“You need to run it fast to get the right response from the crankbait, and it’ll then hit objects faster and more erratically.” – Mike Iaconelli
Fall Crankbait Techniques
In Autumn, water temperatures start decreasing which makes fishes feed even more aggressively before winter comes. In this season you should opt for shallower baits; square bills or lipless cranks because preys tend to come back in shallow bays areas with vegetation around them as forage. You could also use a slower retrieving method such as “stop-and-go” or “twitching”. That will make your bait rise up above forage making predator’s life much easier.
“Rapala DT series can dive down nearly 20 feet at medium retrieve rates, making them perfect for fall’s cooler waters.” -Bill Dance
Winter Crankbait Adjustments
During Winter, fish metabolism slows down due to cold waters which means they’ll be feeding less frequently than in other seasons. However, using slow-retrieve jerkbaits like Yo-Zuri Crystal Minnow and Rapala Shadow Rap Deep or any small lipped baits that mimic smaller prey fish help catching lethargic basses on sunny rocky points along main channels. It is important to adjust your technique based on the colder weather.
“I’m convinced sometimes you’re not so much fishing when it’s really chilly as harassing these fish until one of ’em reacts out of sheer irritation.”-B.A.S.S Elite Series pro Randy Howell
Remember, there is no single perfect way to catch fish all year round with a certain type of lure. Different factors play into fishing success: location, weather and species just to mention a few. Take time observing the water and adapting your techniques improves your odds. So, follow these tips and experiment with changing up your crankbait strategy according to the season. Happy fishing!
Location, Location, Location: Finding The Best Spots To Use Crankbaits
A crankbait is a popular type of fishing lure for catching various types of fish such as bass, walleye, and pike. It imitates the look and movement of swimming prey, making it an effective tool for attracting these fish. However, to maximize your chances of success, you need to select the optimal location to deploy your crankbaits.
Crankbait Fishing in Shallow Water
If you are looking to catch fish that prefer shallow water, then using crankbaits in those zones can be fruitful. During spring, when the temperature increases and baitfish start migrating to shallow waters, predatory fish like bass follows suit. In this period, oscillating slow diving square-bill cranks or lipless vibrating baits with small round bill should work better than others.
You may also want to target cover areas like rocky structures or weed beds since they provide perfect hiding spaces and ambush points for largemouth bass. During fall season, fast retrieves on sandy bottoms with deeper-diving patterns could attract more bites from hungry fish preparing for winter.
Crankbait Fishing in Deep Water
Deepwater offers opportunities for someone who’s skilled at using crankbaits as long as they know how to detect potential hotspots. Look out for schools of bait fish activity and keep depth ranges between 15-25 feet depending on water clarity. This way you will be able to hit the zone where the predator fish such as walleye lurks around waiting for their next meal.
Use heavier lures that dive deeper; an ideal option here would be deep diving plugs so you can reach farther off breaklines or near ledges. Sometimes adjusting the speed during retrieval can precisely mark your range and attract some catches.
Crankbait Fishing Around Cover
Fishing around cover, such as stumps, brush piles, or fallen logs, is a tried-and-true technique that experienced anglers have been using for years to catch big fish. The shadow cast by these covers acts as an ideal ambush point for predator fish waiting for their prey.
The best method of fishing in this type of location depends on the kind of habitat it creates. When dealing with dense mats of grass, weedless lures like lipless rattling baits are useful since they can move over and through vegetation more efficiently. In contrast, slower retrieves paired up with shallow diving square bills should work in structures like broken timber or rocky ledges. Take note that whenever you feel snagged, try backing off before tightening the line too much, which may cause your lure to get stuck even further deep into the structure.
Crankbait Fishing in Open Water
Fishing open water with crankbaits varies depending on season and the body of water. During cooler temperatures or other unpredictable weather circumstances, find locations near channels/structure drop-offs scattered across the bottom within the depth ranges of 12 – 18ft. Fish tend to hold along vertical breaks, so drilling undulating retrieve patterns might help trigger strikes.
In warmer conditions, trolling deep-diving plugs in quick bursts towards adjacent points can be very productive. If there’s access to vast areas of suspended baitfish, descending your lures deeper into schools could possibly result in reactions from species interested in feeding. To increase napping times during trolling, think about adding slap-a-bobbers that consistently generates vibration above 8 feet creating significant disruptions in deeper waters.
“Crankbaits give the angler a range of depths and retrieve speeds to approach different types of structures, cover and water conditions.” -Jason Sealock
To be successful using your crankbait at the right location requires persistence, so choose wisely. Pay attention to what’s happening around your chosen area; with keen observation, it’ll increase your chances for success.
Advanced Tips And Tricks: Getting The Most Out Of Your Crankbait Fishing Experience
Using Stinger Hooks for Better Hooksets
If you struggle with missed hook sets when fishing crankbaits, it might be time to consider adding some stinger hooks. These tiny hooks attach to the back of your lure and can make all the difference when a fish swipes at your bait but misses the main hook. By using a stinger hook in combination with your primary hook, you increase the chances of hooking the fish on subsequent bites.
When attaching your stinger hook, make sure it’s positioned near the tail end of your crankbait. This way, it won’t interfere with the action of your lure or snag vegetation as easily. A lightweight treble hook is ideal so that it doesn’t weigh down the back of your lure too much.
Keep in mind that while stinger hooks can improve your hooking success rate, they may also result in more snags or tangles due to the extra line and hooks present behind your main lure.
Adding Weight for Deeper Diving
If you’re not getting deep enough with your crankbaits, adding some weight might do the trick. Adding split shot or lead tape to your line near the head of your lure will help it sink faster and dive deeper. This added weight can also improve casting distance, allowing you to cover more water and reach areas that were previously out of range.
Keep in mind that adding too much weight can cause your lure to lose its action or become unstable. Test out different weights until you find the perfect balance that allows for maximum depth without sacrificing performance.
Switching Out Hooks for Better Performance
The hooks attached to your crankbaits can make a big difference in how effective they are at hooking and landing fish. Most lures come with standard hooks, but upgrading to higher quality ones can improve your chances of success.
When selecting new hooks, consider the type of fish you’re targeting and the conditions in which you’ll be fishing. For example, if you’re fishing in heavy cover, you might want to use stronger hooks that can resist bending or breaking. On the other hand, if you’re after more finicky species like trout or walleye, smaller and sharper hooks may be more effective.
Replacing worn or dull hooks on older baits can also bring them back to life and increase their performance.
Customizing Your Crankbaits for Maximum Effectiveness
If you want to take your crankbait fishing to the next level, customizing your lures can help you stand out from the crowd and catch more fish. Here are some ways you can modify your crankbaits:
- Paint jobs: Painting your lures with unique designs or patterns can make them more attractive to fish and mimic natural prey more effectively.
- Rattles: Adding rattles inside your bait can create noise and vibration that will attract fish from greater distances.
- Lip modifications: Altering the shape or angle of the bill on your lure can change its diving depth and action, making it more appealing to certain fish species.
- Trailer hooks: Adding an extra hook to the end of your lure can provide for better hooksets and more successful catches.
Remember that the most important thing when customizing your lures is to keep the modifications subtle and natural-looking. You don’t want to create a Franken-lure that scares fish away!
“Crankbaits are versatile fishing lures that can catch almost any species of gamefish when used correctly. A few simple modifications to your lure can make all the difference in how successful you are on the water.” – Bass Pro Shops
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a crankbait and how does it work?
A crankbait is a hard-bodied fishing lure that mimics the swimming action of small baitfish. It works by creating a wobbling or diving action as it is pulled through the water, attracting predatory fish to strike. Crankbaits typically have a lip on the front that determines their depth and action, and can be used in both freshwater and saltwater fishing.
What are the different types of crankbaits available?
There are several types of crankbaits available, including lipless, shallow-diving, medium-diving, and deep-diving. Lipless crankbaits are designed to sink quickly and have a tight wiggle, while shallow-diving crankbaits stay near the surface and have a wider wobble. Medium-diving and deep-diving crankbaits are designed to dive deeper and have a more aggressive wobble, making them suitable for larger fish.
What kind of fishing rod and reel should I use for crankbait fishing?
When fishing with crankbaits, it’s important to use a medium-heavy to heavy power rod with a fast action tip. This will allow you to cast the lure accurately and also provide the necessary backbone to hook and land large fish. A baitcasting reel with a high gear ratio is also recommended, as it will allow you to quickly retrieve the lure and keep it at the desired depth.
How do I choose the right crankbait for the type of fish I want to catch?
When choosing a crankbait, consider the depth of the water you’ll be fishing in, the size and type of fish you’re targeting, and the type of cover or structure in the area. Lipless crankbaits are effective in shallow water with sparse cover, while deeper-diving crankbaits are best for deeper water and heavier cover. Choosing the right color and pattern to match the local forage can also increase your chances of success.
What are some tips for casting and retrieving crankbaits effectively?
To cast a crankbait, hold the rod at a 45-degree angle and use a smooth and steady motion to propel the lure towards your target. Once the lure is in the water, use a steady retrieve with occasional pauses to mimic the action of injured prey. Varying the speed and depth of your retrieve can also help trigger strikes. Be sure to keep your rod tip pointed at the lure to maintain contact and feel for any bites.
How do I troubleshoot common problems I might encounter while fishing with crankbaits?
If you’re having trouble getting bites with a crankbait, try changing the color or size of the lure, varying your retrieve speed and depth, or targeting a different area. If you’re getting snagged frequently, try using a lighter line or switching to a different type of crankbait. Pay attention to the action of the lure and adjust your technique accordingly. With practice and patience, you’ll soon become a skilled crankbait angler.