Cranbait Confidential

For many people their introduction to hard baits is a slim minnow imitating bait. The look often fools fisherman and fish. In my own case I became addicted to throwing the minnow plugs. Cast it out, let it rest, twitch and start the process again. Ten to fifteen bass were not uncommon but they were all “cookie cutter” bass, rarely exceeding 14 inches. Being on a bassin’ budget, I liked the look of the fancy color crankbaits but was afraid I would lose them to the submerged wood or break them off on an underwater object. Fast forward to my evolution as a bass angler and I stocked up on different sizes, colors and models of the cranking lures. They stayed nice and clean in my tackle boxes, safe from rust and becoming an underwater decoration in some deeper water stump. When I did run a Palomar knot through one, lots of hook ups but not many bass to the boat. Same story, get a bite, the fish would invariably jump and come unbuttoned or shake loose part way to my grip.


The crankbait confidential scoop is the set up for casting (and retrieving) crankbaits. The best crankbaits mean nothing unless you can cast, fee the bait, set the hook and play the fish all the way to the kayak. The key to all this is the rod, reel and line all working together. For years I was relegated to using the same rod for plastic worms, spinnerbaits, topwater lures and of course the dreaded crankbait. Very few, if any rods are universally suited to all these bass fishing chores. My crankin’ rod is a glass / graphite composite rod. This is important for the parabolic bend achieved which makes the rod perfect for the sweeping hook set and most important playing the bass. The parabolic bend is what allows the pole to give and makes it very difficult for the fish to throw the hooks as opposed to the stiffer medium heavy action of jig type rods. A softer action makes it necessary to have your treble hooks “sticky” sharp on all your baits, which is easily accomplished with the use of a small diamond file hook sharpener. Working in concert with the rod is the line, my preference is twelve pound test monofilament. The stretch in mono helps keep the fish secured during the fight. To keep you from becoming exhausted a reel that is geared properly is essential, for my money the Lews models fit the bill. Comfort and the lower gear ratios make the retrieve less tiring. I’m a stand up fisherman regardless of technique and rely on my Big Rig, sometimes my Coosa HD and am anxious to put the Liska to the test. Stability, safety and casting space are the components of each of these kayaks. The sweep hookset requires less of a violent, over the shoulder snap than the set I use on jigs and soft plastics.


The plastic bill on the crankbait determines the action and depth to which it descends. There are also the lipless baits which drop when not being steadily retrieved. Generally the rate of fall is a foot per second. The lipped baits are versatile and effective under many conditions Square bills have gained popularity among tournament pros because they can cove water and the square bill deflects off of objects and doesn’t get hung up as often except in the jaw of a bass. The deflection bite is awesome. The larger the bill the deeper the diving capabilities. The oval bill digs deeper and now anglers can probe the bottom with baits touted to get down past twenty feet. Colors are a matter of confidence and budget. Crankbait considerations, sky color, wind velocity and water color. With a bright sky, no wind clear water go neutral colors, partly cloudy, a slight ripple on the surface and a touch of color a crawfish pattern or middle of the color spectrum, dark sky, a healthy chop on the water and murky to muddy bright colors like firetiger or chartreuse combinations are best. Pretty simple stuff.
OK, get crankin’

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