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Crankbaits for Bass Fishing

Updated on June 19, 2013

Best Crankbaits

Luckycraft Crankbaits are Quality Fishing Lures
Luckycraft Crankbaits are Quality Fishing Lures | Source

Fishing Lures That Work

Bass fishing with crankbaits is a tried and proven method for catching large numbers of fish in specific situations. Depending on the time of year anglers may use shallow diving, medium diving, deep diving, or lipless varieties of these fishing lures. The crankbait is so effective because of its ability, to trigger a fish into striking the lure, even if it is not a feeding response. This capability to fool a fish into reacting strongly towards the bait and take a swipe at it with its mouth a big reason that this technique overall is used in a variety of fishing conditions and times of year. Regardless, of the overall mood of the fish on a particular day, they can be fooled into striking, if the right lure is presented to them, which makes every cast exciting.

Many anglers enjoy fishing with cranks because it is a very active style of fishing. It requires covering water whether moving quickly on the trolling motor down the bank or constantly on the move if fishing from shore. In order to be successful it requires making a large number of casts at every angle to all of the likely fish holding locations. This makes it a naturally aggressive style of fishing in that it is very active on the part of the angler and causes instinctual responses from the fish.

Speed Traps

Square Billed Shallow Running Speed Trap
Square Billed Shallow Running Speed Trap | Source

Shallow Diving Crankbaits

Shallow diving crankbaits which also include the group of lures known as wake baits are designed to be fished from 0 - 6 feet deep.

This style generally comes with a short bill or lip attached to the front of the lure and instead of the traditional rounded bill shape is made with a short square bill. This keeps the bait from diving deeply, and makes the lure much more snag resistant. The shallow cranks are designed for smashing into cover and often elicit strikes from nearby bass when deflecting off of cover such as an underwater stump, dock piling, or when ripped free of underwater vegetation.

Medium Diving Crawdad Crank
Medium Diving Crawdad Crank | Source

Medium Diving Fishing Lures

Medium divers excel in depths between 6 - 12 feet. Some will be very buoyant others are designed to be heavy and suspend if the angler stops retrieving the lure will not pop up to the surface, but rather just sit in front of the fish's face. These lures will have a little bit of weight to them and likely will cast with 12 - 15 lbs. test line very easily.

Try and match the local forage fish or crawdads depending on the fishery. These lures will run deeper on lighter line then heavier line, so it is possible to target specific zones in the wtaer column by varying the line size that is used.

Variety of Deep Divers
Variety of Deep Divers | Source

Deep Divers

The deep diving crankbaits are designed for fishing ledges and rockpiles as deep as 22 feet. When targeting these fishing zones it is important to use a light line such as 10 lbs. test in order to eliminate resistance in the water from the line, in order to achieve maximum depth. Some of the best colors for deep water cranking include reds, browns, and greens that mimic the crayfish that call the deep rocks home. It is essential to bang the lures into the rocks and pause the bait upon contact with boulders or sunken tree branches, in order to develop interested fish into striking the lure.

Kneeling and Reeling: One of the most popular techniques related to deep water crankbait fishing involves kneeling up at the front of the boat, placing the rod into the water, and begin reeling in the line. By placing the rod point into the water, it enables the fishing lure to reach additional depths. When done correctly it is possible to present a crank into areas that fish are not accustomed to seeing that type of lure, making it extremely effective.

Lucky Craft LV 500

LV 500 Best Lipless Lure
LV 500 Best Lipless Lure | Source

Catch Fish Out of Grass

Lipless / Rattle Traps

The lipless lure made famous by the Bill Lewis Rattle Trap is a diamond shaped lure that often is packed with BB's for maximum sound and vibration. This loud noise underwater has been proven to be deadly in darker colored water and around heavy grasses that inhibit the visibility underwater of bass. The bait is designed to be fished quickly around heavy grass and is the best when it runs into the vegetation, gets lightly hung up, then ripped out of the grass by the angler. This action when repeated over and over through a shallow feeding flat in a lake or reservoir will generate a number of strikes from bass that are caught purely due to the reaction.

When using a lipless crankbait it is good to use a stiffer than normal rod for crank, which normally are softer and include a parabolic action, since the goal is to get it lightly hung in the grass and rip it free. Many anglers prefer to use braided fishing line which may be as high as 30 - 50 lbs. test line.

What Do You Prefer

Favorite Type of Crankbait?

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    • Robb Hoff profile image

      Robb Hoff 4 years ago from Cincinnati, Ohio

      Nice overview...Anglers definitely have to experiment with different types and various patterns, not just to catch black bass but also other freshwater species.