are often thought of as a type of lure that you simply use if you
don't know much about fishing. Most anglers use a crankbait
sparingly and very few really understand the potential that this
type of bait has for locating and catching not only numbers of
fish, but also large bass.
While there is some truth to the
statement, that novice anglers can catch bass on a crankbait just
as well as a pro, anglers that really understand how and when to
use a crankbait will fair much better than those that simply tie
one on and hope for the best.
Although there are a variety of
fish that can be caught on a cankbait here in Oklahoma, for the
most part the crankbait is used for our most popular species, the
There are numerous styles of
crankbaits available and basically, they can be divided into four
groups shallow diving (3-5 feet), medium diving (5-10 feet), deep
diving (10-15 feet), and deep-deep diving (15-25 feet).
The primary feature that tells
how deep a crankbait will run is the length of the bill. Usually,
short billed crankbaits are for shallow water, while
deeper-running models have larger, longer bills. Also, deep diving
crankbaits are usually bigger in size.
Crankbaits can be made of either
plastic or wood, and come in about every imaginable color.
During the summer months,
crankbaits can be effective when fished in deep channels and along
ridges. Normally in the early spring and late fall, the best
colors will imitate the crawfish, but during the summer, perch,
crappie, and shad are the preferred forage for bass, and using
crankbaits with these colors will greatly enhance your chances of
finding and catching good numbers of bass.
When fishing muddy or stained
water, use a brightly colored bait. Chartreuse, orange,
fire-tiger, or even red helps fish locate your lures.
In clear water, use lighter
line, make longer casts, and utilize lighter more natural colored
lures. One of the best colors for clear water here in Oklahoma
during the summer months, is a pearl/black back, which resembles a
It seems to be common knowledge
that crankbaits are effective when fished around rocky points,
along underwater rocky ledges, and along rip-rap, but the
crankbait can also be fished around stickups, stumpbeds, flooded
bushes, willows, boathouses, and almost anything that offers cover
To obtain the best results from
your crankbait, never tie it directly to your line without using a
split ring or a snap.
Pay special attention to the
hooks and keep them sharp and if need be replace one's that are
bent or broken. I like the Mustad Triple Grip hooks which are
standard on all Bandit Crankbaits. When I use hard jerkbaits such
as a Rogue, Thunderstick, or Husky Jerk, I replace the factory
treble hooks with the Mustad Triple Grip.
Use rods with a flexible tip so
that you don't tear the lure out with a hard hook-set. Also a
soft-tipped rod will allow the fish to make a hard run without the
hooks tearing out. I prefer the G-Loomis Model CBR783 crankbait
rod for throwing most small to medium size crankbaits.This 6'
6" rod is rated for line test from 8-14 pound and will handle
light lures from 1/4 ounce, all the way up to a 5/8 ounce size.
These rods are incredibly light, and super sensitive. If I use a
deep diving crankbait, then I switch over to the G-Loomis Model
CBR845 which is a 7' rod that will handle lures from 3/8 to
1-ounce in size.
Changing the speed of your
retreive or changing from one type of lure to another can often
trigger sluggish fish into striking. As with any type of bait, you
must change colors and size or style to find out what the fish
There are numerous top brand
crankbaits on the market, however, my favorite whether I am
fishing for largemouth or smallmouth is the Bandit Crankbaits.
They are available is several sizes and colors and I use their
series 200 most of the time. This size crankbait runs from 4 - 8
feet and covers most of the crankbait water that I like to fish.
If I want to go deeper I will switch over to the 300 series which
runs from 8 - 12 feet. If you really like deep crankin they also
have a 400 series that runs from 12 - 16 feet and for really deep
crankin, their 600 series goes 20+ feet.
In the early spring, I like
several of their crawdad colors and especially the chartreuse/
spring craw. When it's summertime, my favorite is the pearl/black
back although I have done well on Oklahoma waters with the
pearl/red eye or the Khaki colors. They also have a new rootbeer
color on the market that works especially well in clear water and
is a great color for smallmouth.
The secret of fishing a
crankbait successfully is learning which one to use, what size,
color, and speed of retreive.
Line size plays an important
role in the depth that a crankbait can obtain. The heavier the
line, the more resistance there is and therefore the shallower the
lure will run. With lighter line there is less friction in the
water. You would be suprised in the difference between 10-pound
test line and 20-pound test line when fishing a crankbait.
A crankbait is also an effective
tool for locating fish because you can cover a wide variety of
water quickly and efficiently. Here in Oklahoma the wind
frequently makes fishing a spinnerbait or even a worm virtually
impossible. With a crankbait you can fish windy points, rip-rap,
or standing timber that would be impossible to fish otherwise on a
Noted bass pro Roland Martin
calls crankbaits saturation lures. "If the bass are feeding
for only twenty minutes in the morning, you can make more casts
and show a bait to more fish in that 20 minutes with a crankbait
than any other lure. That's one of its biggest advantages",
With a little experimenting the
crankbait can be used in almost every situation that you would use
other types of baits.
Remember to practice