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Crankbait Fishing
by Charles Stuart

If you have tried to use a crankbait for catching bass and had little or no success, read on. This might convince you to give it a try.

Let's focus on the largest member of the sunfish family, the bass. During certain times of the day bass like to move into deeper water. There are many reasons why this "transition" from shallow to deep water occurs, one of which is to get away from the fishermen who pound the shoreline with a variety of lures that they get to see week in and week out. When you cannot find the fish you are looking for from the shoreline, start looking for deep-water structure.

The structure could include, large rocks, areas of sunken forest, abandoned cars or building ruins that were flooded by the Corp of Engineers when constructing a new watershed or reservoir. Often this information can be obtained from survey maps of a lake or reservoir prior to impounding.

Once you have established the depth you want to fish, select your crankbait according to its capabilities. Most of you will know that the larger the plastic "bill" on the nose of the bait, the deeper it will dive. I like to paint the number of feet a lure will dive on the belly of the lure. This helps when it comes to selection time. If I am fishing in 20 feet of water I like to start with any two brightly colored crankbaits I have at hand. The reason for brightness as opposed to color selection is that I am looking for a lure that will reflect even a little light in the darkness of deep water.

The first crankbait will run at between 15- and 18-feet. With this lure I will determine if the fish are looking upward and are in a feeding pattern off the bottom of the water. If the first choice fails the second lure of choice would be a crankbait that can dive deeper that the depth I am fishing. This is because I want to present frantic baitfish bumping into structure. This lure will make small thumping sounds as it hits solid objects, or if it strikes the lake bottom the lure will cause clouds of silt, gravel or sand to billow up in the water. The noise and vibration will attract fish and provoke a strike. If I cannot get to the fish because they are in 30 or 40 feet of water, I attach a crankbait to a one-ounce Carolina rig, exchanging the worm hook for the crankbait.

In a shallow situation, crankbait color choice becomes vital, as the lure can be seen more clearly. Try to match the size and color of the baitfish to the size of your lure. As with any crankbait lure presentation, always start moving the lure quickly. If no strikes come, change your retrieve to a stop and go or slow it down to a crawl. Once the fish "tell you" how they want the bait, you will have found the pattern to fish and will catch more of them as a result.

Author Information.

Charles Stuart is a pro angler, journalist and NY State Guide who fishes the B.A.S.S., RED MAN, FOXWOODS and the ABC Tours in the Northeast. Born and educated in England, Charles fished professionally in England when he lived there. Charles has now lived on Long Island, NY for over 15 years. He's fished most lakes, rivers, streams and ponds on the island. He has fished from the Canadian border to Florida in search of largemouth and smallmouth bass.

One of Charle's objectives is to use the knowledge he has gained to teach young fishermen and women the joy of the sport and the art of "catching". Charles feels that, unlike other sports, all members of the family can enjoy fishing together. To Charles, fishing is a sport that does not place pressure on a child to succeed, thereby building the child's confidence and self-esteem.

Charles is sponsored by Bullet Weights, G.Loomis, Budz Fishin Wayz, Gamakatsu, Lake Hawk, Chevy Trucks, Hawg-ly Lures, Power Resources cranking & trolling motor batteries, Uncle Josh, Ike-Con Fishing Tackle, Snap-Set Spinnerbaits, Map-Trap, and Stamina Components.

You can email Charles at

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