Understanding the crankbait menu

2013-05-18 00:00

I THINK it is safe to say that anglers who know no better spend more time fishing the wrong crankbait than they do fishing the right crankbait.

This is no big deal and if nobody told you, you would never know the difference, but the bottom line is, what I am about to tell you will catch you more fish, so pay attention.

Crankbaits can be categorised into depth range and then by colour. What many anglers fail to interpret is categorising their cranks into understanding their different actions.

So, let’s get going on the first choice you need to make when selecting a crank, and that is dive depth. All crankbait packaging will have a guide to the dive depth of the lure and will normally be based on the use of 10 or 12lb line. The lighter your line, the deeper a crankbait will dive.

I personally do not go lower than 10lb and will only increase to 15lb if I am fishing shallow cranks around gnarly cover. If you decide to fish a crank in 10 feet of water, you need a crank that dives no less than 12 feet and if you are cranking in 15 feet, then you need a crank that bottoms out at 17 feet.

If your crank is not hitting the bottom on your retrieve, then you are not cranking. A crank that is digging into the bottom will undoubtedly elicit more bites than one that is gliding above the bottom. This can be varied in the depth of water you are fishing by varying the speed you retrieve.

Remember that a crankbait dives on pendulum trajectory so only reaches its peak dive depth for about 40% of the retrieve, so rather opt for a deeper diver and ensure that you are achieving maximum casting distance. You can achieve this by fishing a dedicated crankbait rod in a longer length such as seven feet or more, with a slower retrieve reel and lighter line as discussed.

Crankbaits also sport an array of tones in the form of internal rattles that change per brand, and by different actions which are commonly referred to as tight to wide wobbles.

In general, cranks with a tighter wobble will catch more fish in cooler water and cranks with a wider wobble seem to be more productive in warmer water. The tighter, more finesse action of such cranks are able to encourage fish to bite when they are in a lethargic state of mind or not quite feeding intently.

Cranks with a wider more aggressive action are more effective around cover such as rock and timber due to the fact that they deflect off cover better and appeal to fish that are in the right mood. To tell the difference between these baits just by looking at them is rather easy. The longer more elongated the bill is, the deeper and tighter the action of the bait will be. On the flip side, the wider the bill, the wider the wobble and the shorter the bill, the shallower the dive depth.

So visually understand these indicators and you will be able to understand the intention of each crank. We are nowhere near done yet so make sure you catch the next issue where we will continue the deal.

Midlands Bass Club will be hosting an inter-club tournament in June at Albert Falls and has advised that all clubs are welcome to attend and that there will be cash prizes for the top placed clubs as well as individual heaviest bags. A big fish prize, lucky draw and raffle prizes are also on the winners’ menu. It is a fund-raising event and the entry fee is R100 per angler. For more information, just pitch me a mail. Until then, get out on the lake and catch some bass, and remember to release your catch alive to prolong the sustainability of our resource. E-mail me with reports, pictures and questions at zorthewitt@hotmail.com

Catch em’ up.

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