Do you want to increase your chances of catching more fish during your fishing trips? The secret is in mastering the art of using crankbaits. Crankbaits are a popular and effective lure among anglers as they mimic the movements of real baitfish, making them irresistible to predators like bass, walleye, pike, and musky.
If you’re new to using crankbaits or simply want to improve your technique, this article will provide you with everything you need to know. From choosing the right type of crankbait for the conditions you’re fishing in to the different ways to retrieve them, we’ll cover it all.
“Fishing is much more than fish. It is the great occasion when we may return to the fine simplicity of our forefathers.” -Herbert Hoover
You’ll learn how to adjust your crankbait’s depth and speed according to water temperature, clarity, and other factors that affect fish behavior. You’ll also discover which season is ideal for fishing with crankbaits and how weather conditions can make a difference in your success rate.
By the end of this article, you’ll have a solid understanding of the most crucial techniques for fishing with crankbaits. Whether you’re an experienced angler looking to fine-tune your skills or a novice seeking to catch your first big one, these tips will help you reel in plenty of fish and leave your friends amazed at your newfound mastery.
The Anatomy of a Crankbait
A crankbait is a type of fishing lure that imitates baitfish. It consists of a hard body with a lip, hooks, and sometimes rattles for added attraction. The lip is what gives the crankbait its unique action. When retrieved through the water, the lip causes the lure to dive and swim in an erratic motion.
“The diving lip on a crankbait gives it a distinct wobbling motion when retrieved.” – Bassmaster Magazine
The size, shape, and color of a crankbait’s body can vary depending on the species of fish being targeted and the conditions in which you are fishing. Larger lures are generally used for larger fish, while smaller lures are better suited for smaller fish.
The Different Types of Crankbaits
There are several different types of crankbaits, each designed for specific fishing situations:
- Shallow Diving Crankbaits: These lures have small lips and are designed to dive no more than 6 feet. They are perfect for targeting fish in shallow areas such as flats and weed edges.
- Medium Diving Crankbaits: With longer lips, these lures will dive between 6-12 feet. They work well in deeper water and near drop-offs.
- Deep Diving Crankbaits: These lures have the longest lips of any crankbaits and can reach depths of up to 30 feet. They are ideal for deep lakes, reservoirs, and river channels where fish are holding at lower depths.
- Lipless Crankbaits: These lures do not have a diving lip but instead rely on their weight to sink. They work well in areas with heavy cover such as weeds or submerged timber.
How Crankbaits Work
Crankbaits are designed to imitate the behavior of baitfish, which often swim erratically when they feel threatened. When retrieved through the water, the diving lip on a crankbait causes it to dive and swim in an unpredictable motion. This erratic action triggers predatory fish to strike at the lure.
“Crankbaits imitate the natural swimming motion of prey and can trigger otherwise lethargic fish into biting.” – Outdoor Life Magazine
The key to using crankbaits effectively is to vary your retrieve speed and depth until you find a pattern that works. Remember, fish are constantly on the move, so don’t be afraid to experiment with different types of lures and techniques until you find what works best in a particular fishing situation.
Understanding the anatomy of a crankbait, knowing the different types available, and understanding how they work is essential for any angler looking to catch fish using this type of lure. Happy fishing!
Choosing The Right Crankbait
Fishing with crankbaits can be an effective way to catch a variety of fish species. However, not all crankbaits are created equal and selecting the right one can make all the difference. Here are some key factors to consider when choosing a crankbait:
Matching the Hatch
The first thing that you need to think about when selecting a crankbait is what your target fish are feeding on. You want to try to match the color and size of the baitfish present in the water. This is called “matching the hatch.”
When fishing for bass, it’s important to note that they tend to feed on smaller baitfish during the spawn. So using a smaller sized crankbait during this time will increase your chances of getting bites.
“The more realistic the lure looks, sounds or feels, the better chance it has at success.” -Fishing Booker
Crankbaits come in different shapes and sizes, and each lure has its own diving depth range. Knowing the depth at which the fish are feeding is crucial when selecting the right crankbait.
If you’re fishing in shallow waters, lures with a shallower diving depth range will work best. These types of crankbaits will typically float near the surface or dive down only a few feet. On the other hand, if you’re fishing deeper waters, you’ll need a lure that has a larger diving depth range.
“Different crankbaits have different depths that they like to run at. Some are designed to get down deep (around 15-20 feet), whilst others only go down a few meters.” -Ugly Stik
Choosing the Right Color
The color of your crankbait can also make a difference in whether or not you get bites. There are several factors to consider when selecting a color, including water clarity and weather conditions.
If the water is clear, you’ll want to choose a lure with natural colors like greens, browns, and blues. If the water is murky or stained, try using brighter colors like chartreuse or orange.
In addition, if it’s a cloudy day, you’ll want to use lures that have more contrast and vibrancy. On sunny days, lures with more subdued colors will work best.
“Colors work differently depending on light penetration levels and reflect off differently based on cloud cover. Fish feel more secure feeding under low-light conditions, so they prefer the protection provided by deeper shades.” -Lurenet.com
By taking into account these three factors – matching the hatch, determining depth, and choosing the right color – you’ll be able to select the perfect crankbait for any fishing situation. Happy fishing!
The Standard Retrieve
The standard retrieve is the most common and simplest way to fish crankbaits. This technique involves casting your lure out, letting it sink to the desired depth, and then reeling it in slowly with a consistent speed.
- Use a medium to slow retrieve when fishing shallow waters.
- Fish deep water with a faster retrieve by cranking faster or pulling the rod up and down while you reel.
- Twitch the rod tip intermittently during the retrieve for more enticing action that can attract reluctant fish.
The Stop-and-Go Retrieve
The stop-and-go retrieve involves pausing the bait periodically throughout the retrieve. You will want to twitch your rod tip two or three times before stopping the lure again. The occasional pause creates a natural-looking prey movement and can trick even neutral or negative bass into biting.
“This method works well in cooler weather conditions as bass become less active they tend to strike moving prey less frequently” -Bass Resource
The Jerk-and-Pause Retrieve
This popular retrieve combines both twitching and jerking actions followed by brief stops and pauses. It’s an excellent tactic for mimicking injured baitfish movements. Start by casting your crankbait, then jerk the bait firmly and allow the lure to pause briefly before repeating this process several more times. The constant change of direction attracts the fish’s attention and can be very effective in clear water or on suspended fish schools.
“The main advantage of the jerking technique is its versatility since it allows you to adapt the lure action based on different triggers like wind speed or water clarity.” –Fishing Booker
The Burn-and-Kill Retrieve
The burn-and-kill retrieve is the fastest crankbait technique, which gives the baitfish imitation a sense of urgency that can trigger an aggressive reaction from predators. Cast your lure out and reel it in as fast as possible with erratic movements to mimic a prey in distress. Suddenly pause for one or two seconds before continuing the retrieve again at breakneck speed.
- It is best suited for use during early mornings and late evenings when fish are more active.
- If there’s no bite on recovery, vary retrieval tempo and irregular intervals between pauses
“Burn and Kill works well on sunlit water against dark cover that leads bass migrate”. -Bass Angler Magazine
Knowing how to fish crankbaits is essential knowledge every angler, whether novice or seasoned should have up their sleeve. By perfecting these techniques, you’ll increase your chances of catching more fish, making your next fishing trip even more rewarding. Always experiment with different forms until you find those that work most effectively on any given day, time, lake, or stream. Good luck!
Locating Fish With Crankbaits
Crankbaits are versatile lures that can be used to catch a variety of fish species, including bass, walleye, pike, and musky. But how do you locate fish with crankbaits? In this article, we will discuss two key strategies for finding fish with crankbaits: targeting structure and finding cover.
Bass and other gamefish love to hang around structures such as rocks, logs, weeds, and drop-offs. These structures provide shelter from predators, ambush points for prey, and feeding opportunities. By focusing your efforts on fishing around these types of structures, you can increase your chances of catching fish with crankbaits.
When fishing structures with crankbaits, it is important to pay attention to the depth and speed at which the lure is being retrieved. The crankbait should be diving and swimming near the bottom, where most fish tend to hold. Experiment with different depths and retrieve speeds until you find what works best for the particular structure you are fishing.
“To me structure means places like grass beds, weedbeds, stumps, brush piles, blowdowns, ledges, shell beds, humps, bumps, ridges and dropoffs.” -Kevin VanDam
If you are unsure where to begin looking for structure, use a depth finder or fish finder to locate underwater features and drop-offs. Look for changes in water depth, irregularities in the bottom contour, and areas where baitfish are congregating.
In addition to structures, fish also seek out cover for protection and feeding. Cover includes anything that provides a hiding spot for fish, such as submerged bushes, fallen trees, and dock pilings. Crankbaits can be effective at enticing fish to strike in these areas.
Similar to fishing structures, the key to finding fish around cover is to experiment with different depths and retrieve speeds until you find what works best. You may need to adjust your technique based on the type of cover being fished and the behavior of the fish in that area.
“Fishing around cover is one of my favorite ways to catch bass.” -Mike Iaconelli
If you are unsure where to look for cover, start by identifying potential spots such as weed lines or brush piles. If you can see the cover from shore or from a boat, try casting parallel to it or across it so that your crankbait runs past it. If the cover is submerged, use a depth finder to locate it and cast over it.
When fishing with crankbaits, remember to vary your retrieve speed and pause occasionally to mimic injured prey. This will help entice strikes from curious or hungry fish lurking near structures and cover.
- Target structures such as rocks, logs, weeds, drop-offs
- Fish along bottom with varying depths and speeds
- Use a depth/fish finder if needed
- Find cover such as bushes, trees, docks
- Vary technique based on type of cover and fish behavior
- Cast parallel or across submerged covers
- Vary retrieve speed and pause occasionally to lure in fish
Dealing With Snags
Fishing with crankbaits is an effective way to catch fish, but it does come with the risk of getting snagged. A snag occurs when your lure gets caught on something like rocks, logs or any other obstacle found in the water. While losing a lure can be frustrating, there are ways to deal with snags and minimize your losses.
Tips for Avoiding Snags
Prevention is key when it comes to dealing with snags while fishing with crankbaits:
- Choose the right lures: Different types of crankbaits work better under different conditions. For example, if you’re fishing in shallow waters with lots of vegetation, consider using lipless crankbaits that have fewer hooks.
- Pay attention to your surroundings: Look for signs of obstacles in the water; they may not always be visible from the surface.
- Position yourself strategically: Cast your line at an angle away from hazards. If you must cast near them, try to retrieve the bait quickly before it has a chance to get stuck.
How to Retrieve a Stuck Crankbait
Inevitably, you will still encounter snags even after taking preventative measures. Knowing how to retrieve a stuck crankbait can help save you time and money. Here’s what you can do:
- Don’t pull too hard:If you feel your crankbait snagging on something, resist the urge to yank it out. Doing so could potentially break your rod or cause the line to snap, which would mean losing the entire setup including the lure. Instead, take it slow and easy.
- Try to guide the lure out: Rock your rod gently while doing a side-to-side motion until you feel like the lure is freed. If this doesn’t work, slowly reel in with gentle tugs until the snag releases without any sharp movements that could produce more tension between your line and the obstacle.
- Avoid vertical pressure:If working the crankbait left to right hasn’t worked, try raising or lowering your rod tip slightly in order to dislodge the bait from the branch or rock. Wiggling the rod will give it back its natural buoyancy, as well as reducing the lure’s absolute weight by removing some of the strain on it caused due to tension; this can result in the wind catching the bill to face the lure downstream where it will be easier to unhook
What to Do When Your Crankbait is Lost
Despite all efforts to avoid snags or retrieve them, sometimes crankbaits simply just get lost. However, here are some tried-and-true tips for handling these losses:
- Don’t waste time looking for it: You could spend hours searching underwater for a lost crankbait. Accept that it’s gone and move on with your day instead of ruining it trying to recover what cannot be recovered.
- Be prepared: Always buy multiple versions of your favorite crankbaits if you can afford it so you always have backups ready to go in case one gets lost during fishing.
- Use a lure retriever: This tool easily identified when the crankbait lands under brush piles or rocks and enables you to salvage lost lures. They have saved thousands of lures over the years and will save you tons of money as well.
“Experienced anglers know that losing a crankbait is just part of fishing. It’s an expense we anticipate, but with these tips on preventing snags and retrieving stuck lures safely, it doesn’t have to become too big a problem for us.” -Anonymous
By following these tips, you can minimize your lost time and money when dealing with snags while trying to fish with your trusty crankbaits. Remember, patience and prevention are key when dealing with this obstacle, and always be prepared for losses by having backups ready to go or advanced tools like lure retrievers at your fingertips. Follow these methods next time you’re out fishing and make sure you’re not adding extra financial burden on yourself due to preventable mistakes.
Tips For Success
Experiment with Retrieving Techniques
If you want to learn how to fish crankbaits effectively, it is essential to experiment with retrieving techniques. Crankbait fishing requires a certain level of skill and knowledge when it comes to choosing the right retrieval technique for your bait
Fast retrieval: Fast retrieval technique is most effective when you want to target active fish in warmer water conditions. This technique involves retrieving the lure at a higher speed to make it look like a fleeing baitfish.
Slow retrieval: Slow retrieval technique will work best when targeting passive or finicky fish, especially in cooler water temperatures. It involves retrieving the lure slowly, giving the fish enough time to examine and take a bite.
Stop and Go Retrieval: Stop-and-go works great when your aim is to get the attention of the fish away from other baits around the area. Cast the crankbait close to structure then after every 2 seconds pause your retrieve before starting again.
“Fishing isn’t just about catching fish; it’s also about learning something new.” – Johnny Morris
Pay Attention to Water Temperature
The temperature of the water plays an important role in determining which type of crankbait you should be using. Warm waters – above 60°F – are ideal conditions for shallow-water cranking while colder water temperatures require deep-diving crankbaits.
Shallow diving lures- should be used during spring and summer when water temps are relatively warm because they are designed to target fish near the surface. They can work well in shallower waters even less than 6ft depths
Moderate diving lures – should be used during fall or when there’s mixed weather so that they don’t dive too deep in warmer water temperatures but also remain above ground level.
Deep diving lures – as the name suggests, they are designed for deeper waters with cool water temperatures below 60°F. These crankbaits can go up to depths of over 20ft, which is ideal during winter months or early spring when fish tend to hold deeper due to colder water temps.
“The charm of fishing is that it is the pursuit of what is elusive but attainable.” – John Buchan
Be Patient and Persistent
Fishing, especially with crankbaits requires patience and persistence. You won’t always catch a fish immediately after casting your line; sometimes it takes hours before getting a bite. So, you have to be patient and stay persistent even if everything doesn’t quite work out as planned.
It’s vital to select an optimal spot where fish are likely found and then keep on trying until finally find one.Try different colors and sizes of crankbaits until finding ones that works.
Casting multiple times from different angles also helps.Against borders diversify your retrieve speed and Retrieve Pause pattern.Always remember “If Plan A isn’t working try plan B,C,D…”
“Fishing provides time to think, and reason not to. If you have the virtue of patience, an hour or two of casting alone is plenty of time to review all you’ve learned about the grand themes of life. It’s time enough to realize that every generalization stands opposed by a mosaic of exceptions, and that the biggest truths are few indeed.” – John Gierach
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a crankbait and how does it differ from other lures?
A crankbait is a fishing lure that imitates the movement of a baitfish. Unlike other lures, crankbaits have a lip that creates a diving motion when retrieved. They come in various shapes, sizes, and colors. Crankbaits are versatile and can be used for both freshwater and saltwater fishing. They are especially effective for catching bass and other predatory fish.
What types of fish can be caught using crankbaits?
Crankbaits are effective for catching a variety of fish species, including bass, walleye, pike, musky, trout, and salmon. They imitate the movement of baitfish and attract larger predatory fish. Crankbaits are particularly effective in freshwater environments, though they can also be used for saltwater fishing.
How do I choose the right size and color of crankbait for the conditions I’m fishing in?
Choosing the right size and color of crankbait depends on several factors, including water clarity, depth, and the types of fish you’re targeting. In clear water, use natural colors like silver, gold, or brown. In murky water, use brighter colors like chartreuse or orange. Use smaller crankbaits for shallow water and larger ones for deeper water. Experiment with different colors and sizes until you find what works best for the conditions you’re fishing in.
What are some techniques for retrieving and working a crankbait?
There are several techniques for retrieving and working a crankbait, including steady retrieve, stop-and-go retrieve, and twitching. Steady retrieve is the simplest method, where you retrieve the bait at a consistent speed. Stop-and-go retrieve involves pausing the bait periodically to simulate a wounded baitfish. Twitching involves jerking the bait to create an erratic motion. Experiment with different techniques to find what works best for the conditions and fish species you’re targeting.
What are some common mistakes to avoid when fishing with crankbaits?
One common mistake when fishing with crankbaits is using the wrong size or color for the conditions. Another mistake is retrieving the bait too quickly or too slowly. It’s important to match the speed of the retrieve to the conditions and the fish species you’re targeting. Finally, avoid using too heavy of a line or rod, as this can reduce the action of the bait. Use a lighter line and rod to maximize the effectiveness of the crankbait.