How To Use Crankbaits
Hello my name is Dwight Norris of fishingatwork.com and today we're going to be talking about how to use crankbaits. Now if you aren't used to every type of fishing lure out there, let me describe what a crankbait is. It's usually a minnow type lure that has a skinny or white body. Sometimes it is made to mimic a crayfish.
It has a lip or maybe it doesn't or a style lip. it's made to mimic a baitfish. it can do a variety of things. mainly it's made for going under the water shaking and shiny and making a lot of noise. There's a lot of variations within a crankbait and its use.
the most important thing that people have learned over time especially the pros is that this is a fish finding lure. that's one of its main functionalities. So before we get into all the details; let me work down what we're going to be going through today. we're going through the following:
- Types of crankbaits
- The depths that they can go
- The types of things you should use with it like knots and line types
- How to retrieve it
- Match the hatch
- Type of Gear
Types of Crankbaits
First, there are shallow types, which you may have seen from Rapala lures. They have the long skinny ones, short ones and the tiny bills. When I say tiny bills it usually goes from the back of the lower all the way through a tip. It can be around a quarter of an inch and the reason for that is so that it doesn't dive too deep.
We wanted to give it jerks and maybe a tiny slow retrieve in between, but not like a constant reel. that's not what you're shallow crankbait is for. It's really for making small jerking actions with reeling and then it goes like this and it stops. It kind of mimics a minnow that's in the shallows near the lily pads and weeds and the fallen logs in timber. it's moving about in an area which it thinks is safe because you'll notice that it loves smaller fish.
they call them a fish fry. They're very young. they're trying to stay away from the open water where all the predators are. all large bass, all the small panfish, all the pike, all the muskie, all the catfish, turtles, etc. They want to stay shallow. they want to stay in the cover and hidden and eating whatever they eat until they get bigger. they can go out and become the predator.
Particularly when you're learning how to use crankbaits for bass. That's mainly what I'll be hitting on bass fishing. because that's one of the mainstays when it comes to fishing. fishing freshwater and saltwater sometimes, because striped bass is a huge thing up and down the East Coast here in United States, but probably in other places as well.
So another type is the mid level crankbait. when I talk about mid level it's made to either dive to a certain level using a lip or bill. the length of the bill makes it dive deep, and the width of the bill determines how much it wobbles and how much water it displaces. Now, most people don't really understand why you would want a fish to wobble.
Certain types of bait fish, herring, shad, shiners swim in a certain way. So a wider rock side to side is for a fatter and longer baitfish. a small tail action is for going straight. they're long and skinny kind of like a mini barracuda.
So it's important to mimic the baitfish as closely as possible. Because the bigger the bass gets the smarter it gets and the better it's sensing organs are. They can see better, they can hear better, they can taste better, they can pretty much do everything better. Unlike us humans, when we get older, we actually lose a lot of our senses, not so for large mouth bass.
Not so for many fish, but for large mouth bass in particular they are getting better while you are actually diminishing. So make sure your knowledge and your skill increases over time. So you can master the bass, tell off the point there, but back to the types of crankbaits.
Another type is a deep crankbaits. they have very long bill. I'm talking like two to three inches long. Sometimes the bills that the crankbait uses can be just as long as the crankbait itself. that's this kind of makes a weird, the way your crankbait looks, and how it moves and how it dives.
I don't particularly like it too much. I say if the bill is a certain size, the actual bait should increase as well. sometimes it's hard to hide a crankbait bill when you're diving deep. Yes, it's dark but that bill is is placing a lot of disturbance in the water and sometimes that will get a bass the bite.
if it's not invisible like they usually come in a clear opaqueness so the fish can see even in the water but if you're an open water, you're not touching anything. it looks like part of the fish. it honestly makes a fish a little weird. Their like "why is that fish shaped like that?". their sensing organs can see what something moving through the water looks like.
It might get confused. that might be the reason you're not catching fish as opposed to attracting them and then getting them more curious and biting. So watch out for that when fishing deep. There are also some other types.
One of them is a sinking crankbait. those are weighted and our actually test the to sink a certain amount over a period of time using inside a box you'll see what this rate is. They're great for certain areas, because when they reach a certain depth, they'll actually stop sinking. they'll remain in suspended state.
There's also suspended crankbaits that are not really timed. Their just made to go down to a certain depth. there's also sinking ones are made the tick down to a certain depth like so. that's a good way to work different depths to find where the fish are. I like to use those in open water... the sinking ones.
The suspended are for when the fish are at a certain level and you can use your radar and sonar units to figure out where the fish are. the topographic maps are good to figure out where the fish are, at certain times, in certain seasons, at certain word clarity, at certain times during the day, at certain tidal stages, and etc. etc.
There are many ways to figure out what's happening and where the fish should be with a type of fish that you're fishing for.
So there was also a floating type of crankbait. this is set on the surface mainly and might go down about a foot max. those are sort of in the same area as a shallow ones.
The floating ones will absolutely not go down. there more buoyant and they can also be confused as a topwater lure or a popper. they don't have the concave mouth to push the water make it look like a school of bait fish is going by. Lure manufacturers like to make many variations to mimic certain things and that's just another variation.
The last type of crankbait is the lipless crankbait. it's a type of crankbait that I've only used for one type of fish successfully. that's a striped bass. I usually use a half ounce silver / chrome crankbait, I have one over here I'll be showing you in a second to catch those fish.
I usually use it when the striped bass are coming over top of a sandbar. there in the water and will go up a couple feet like four or five feet. you could stand up if the water and river wasn't going so fast. it has drops down to like 10 to 15 and right there at the bottom somewhere like 10 feet or so are striped bass. they're waiting for those baby fish to roll over the top of that sandbar and they just nail them.
that's where I've had the most success for crankbaits just bringing that up that rattling super shiny crankbait over the top of that thing. they see it. they hear it. they see the size of it. they see the speed that's going to have no choice but to take the criteria they have, the sound, the shape, and the flashiness of it, and decide I'm going to eat that. it looks like a delicious meal and CHOMP!
So if you're into striped bass fishing, this one technique I would suggest using. It's also used, well first like bass going to buoys as well but watch anything will work when they're sitting next to a buoy. Anything they normally eat works. you just have to get their attention. They have to be hungry. now usually small ones, they're very jumpy when they're young.
When they get older, like I said, they get smarter and not going to go after that thing. for largemouth bass it's the same thing. I would use it around cover. you might get hung up a lot, you might get something like a stump, but man when you get something that's when they attack.
So let's look at a few of the crankbait examples I have right over here. Now that we're having a topic let's talk about the lipless crankbait as you can see here we bring a little closer. The lipless crankbait has no real lip except for the top of the the crankbait here. it has a blue top it could be black or blue really just needs to be darker.
Because this is mimicking what a baitfish would have on its body. It's gonna be darker the top like most fish and lighter on the bottom. The reason fish are darker on the top and lighter on the bottom when they're not predator, mainly their bait fish. there's something that's going to eaten my something else is when fish looking down on it.
It's the darkness of the water and the darkness of the top of the fish. so it's hard to see them and when fish are below them; they see the sun. hopefully to see the sun if it's daytime and the light. the lightness usually white under a fish and that will match the sun's therefore it's hard to see them.
So this is a safety mechanism for fish. you should make sure you match the hatch when you do that. That's just one part of matching the hatch, got out there early. I'll talk about it a little bit. Yes, very simple, when you pull it it's going to be at an angle like this. So most of the time your fish are going into like the end of it and they'll know that's they're smaller. they're catching up to it because it moves really fast.
They get their whole mouth around it man. they're really starving. most of the time I'd say 80% of the time they're gonna bite this back end. So make sure that these bad boys are sharp in the back, make sure they're they're connected quickly. you may even do well on a trailer if you're into that sort of thing or maybe a little bit flash like a feather or something red to show that it's possibly hurt or bleeding.
As you can see here the back there's a little bit of red, I'm not sure why they think fish can see that. Maybe they can, it's in the front too, but it's supposed to show that the this is an injured baitfish which makes the fish like more like a bowl, like we could that they see that red and they whoa whoa, you're hurt, you'll be an easy meal, I'm coming after you, you are weak link in the chain if there's a school.
Rebel Double Deep Shad
Next one is let me look closer here, the rebel double deep shad limitation. So this is a shad replica. at least one type of it. it's green and has the blacktop, the dark top, can't see, me and the lighter but kind of orange and yellow bottom. This is more of a murky water kind of shad and the deep dive is because it’s bill is long.
You see it's clear like I said before. it's not like super wide or square. it seems like more of the normal shape for a bill when they go deeper. It's not going to have to wide of a profile. It would probably rock no more than this. When it goes that's enough. As you can hear me stop. Obviously there's some sound both ends, because why not make some sound.
When a fish hears a sounds it's similar to a rock hitting another rock in the water. Click, click, click, click, click. So ball bearings going against something metal is a perfect imitation for a minnow, and especially a crayfish. so if you have a crayfish lure, you want to hit that thing all over the rocks, all up in the trees, make a shake, make it rattle and stir up dirt. That's a little tip!
I'm talking about well, there are crayfish crankbaits. those require trying to get home 90% or 99% of time. So this particular one, we go around between eight feet actually. I'd say eight, and maybe even 12 feet. I'd say eight to 10. This is what this link was if it was double the size. we're talking 15 plus maybe even up to 20 depending on the density of the water and the current.
I don't have any others because I don't fish that deep in the area around here. Even though they are that deepness of water right now. then there's holes in the Charles over that go down to 36 feet. There's only one hole that stays accessible. most of them are between 25 and 30 feet. I found a website from MIT.com that they join up with this collective community called crabs with a graph the whole lake the whole river.
The Seaside Park up to the first Dam it shows where all the holes are it shows some decent topography. I found some places where I can fish and catch them, but it will require me to one have a boat or have extremely heavy weight on some live bait. that's why I ordered some European nightcrawlers on Amazon Then they should be here Saturday and Monday. that will be live video of me trying to cast.
I don't know 3, 4, 5 ounce weights with a leader and a gigantic European Nightcrawler out to the edge of those holes. I can reach from the dock there and seeing if I can entice something to bite out there. it's super cold pre-winter weather. You know this is important stuff.
Rapala Countdown 5 Minnow
The last is this Rapala Countdown 5 Minnow. This one is a sinking minnow, which is also something that's used shallow. It goes down in the water at a specific rate. It thinks at approximately one second. every second it sinks a foot. That is pretty fast underwater, one, two. I've actually looked that and It doesn't seem like it's that fast. It seems like every second goes like six inches.
You can look here. Stop the video and just read that if it's not blurry. this is the lure. if you can see, not too expensive $9.99. This is the minnow. it's about two inches long has that small bill and when you're looking at the bill especially for the shallow ones you'll notice that when shallow they're more flat down instead of going this way. when it goes this way it's going to dive deeper and it's going to angle the bait and that's going to happen naturally as a lipless bait.
if you had like this and you drag to the correct speed. they wouldn't go. It would be kind of off balance. that's something they've had to deal with. With the natural use of a bill, it's not perfect, but it's barely anything now as you've seen here was some troubles. I noticed last two trebles and one of them bent. I noticed when I tried to get into the trees, bushes, stumps, and Lily lily pads that I got hung a lot. I was like oh this horrible.
that's when I get the bites. when I got home I just do a slow pull and I was like oh it's gonna break. I got this mouth filled on here. It sucks. it's not great man. I should just pull off and just throw it away and put some better stuff on there, some string or something some sea lure. Something Berkeley, something better, but uh I noticed that the hooks actually just bend and break.
They only handle a certain size fish, which means I get my $10 bait back. I can go somewhere and get some trebles and replace these. I'll remember to try get some trebles that actually break like these. so that the next time it happens I don't actually work. so that's a really good tip! When you have expensive minnows like this Rapala or you have a rebel lure or zoom lure or whoever you get your crankbaits from try to get crankbait with treble hooks or replace it with treble hooks that are bendable and will break before the loop will. before either one of these loops will break or your line particularly. if you're light lining it, use six pound test.
Your'e close. maybe the hook won't bend. I have an 8 or 10 pound test like crappy monofilament and the hook broke before the line broke. I was shocked. So that's the example crankbaits section. Let's go to the next section. The next section is about crankbait depths.
I've talked about this previously. the main depths are between zero and 20 feet in general. the shallow ones will go between one and three. the mid depths will go between three and 10. The deep divers will be go between 10 and 20. The sinking minnows will usually go down to maybe six feet, no more.
The fallen ones will go one foot and come right back up. It's like a bobber and the littlest ones will go straight to the bottom if you want them to. you'll have to stop and then use it as a jig. that's a technique that you can use. So when you're actually doing your reels, you will have to think about how you want to work it in many different ways. I'll talk about those techniques in a few minutes.
Match The Hatch - Mimic The Baitfish
The next section is match the hatch. We're finally here. What do I mean by match the hatch? In general, you have certain baitfish in your body of water. I totally support you or compel you to go find out what those baitfish are. If they're shad, if there's some kind of regular minnow if they're herring, if they're shiners, I mean the list goes on and on.
There's different types of each. so go to your local state website. Go to the Fishing and hunting section. figure out what the fish types are. There should be some downloadable document probably in the PDF. if not call them, and then figure out what predator fish you have there. if you want to catch and what bait fish are there that you want to know about.
Then get pictures of them. then go online.find your favorite a lure manufacturer of crankbaits. I personally like rapala. I've used them for a very long time. then make or find the lure that matches them as close as possible. Then get one of each type. get a shallow one. get a mid. get a deep one. get a sinking one. get a floating on. if possible get that the littlest one too. Get them all because that's what the fish know.
They know those fish are there. it looks exactly like them and if you can work it exactly like them you're going to catch more fish. that's exactly what you want. That's what I want for you at this website. I want to teach you how you can catch more fish and matching the hatch is a great thing for you to do anywhere you are in the freshwater and in the salt water. you need to make sure you do that. if you do it's one little characteristic that the fish has to decipher when choosing whether it's going to ignore this thing or it's going to investigate it further. because it looks like something it wants to eat.
So you have to hit all the checkmarks. one of those checkmarks is the size.the correct size for the type of baitfish that I'm using here. we have a lot of herring here. we have two different types and they can go between five inches all the way up to a foot. Don't be fooled the largemouth bass go for those foot long ones.
How To Catch More Bass
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They are crazy. They'll try to eat anything that's smaller than... even something that's two thirds of its size. You want to figure out the size of it. not just the length, but the girth. it has a belly. we're going to have that strange belly that has the fins if possible as well. I've seen crankbaits have friends like the lipless crankbait has a mini fin.
Now it's hooking everything.... including me! It has thing on top. You want to match that. I've seen some of the ones that have the other parts of the fins not the side dorsal fins, but the top fins. Really want to match the size as closely as possible. Also the different color of the the fish. I've noticed sometimes with the big manufacturers that they actually have exact named replicas for the different types of bait fish.
If you just go online or go to their websites and in search threadthin shad lure, boom, you'll get a list. Bite no., That's what you need. If you're looking to ramp up your kit and get things that will help you catch more fish. That's what you need to do. Find the bait fish, match the hatch, buy online, buy it, or go to the local bait shop or wherever you like to get yours lures.
Doesn't matter, just go because that's going to improve your fishing almost instantly. No skills, no techniques, just matching the hatch. There's also the wobble, which has to do with bill, the fish actually moves in a certain way, you'll really only be able to witness this if you see them come in and you actually see them swimming through the water.
Maybe we can find a smaller one. that shallow one that's fine too. see how it swims or maybe go online and watch a video of bait fish. maybe in the fish tank being fed a spade and it's trying to run away and see how it wobbles. Is it a real Walker side to side or is it like a Barracuda. like skinny and fast and strong and only uses its tail for a movement.
Think there's something else like, yes, and there's also the hook size. It isn't actually part of the fish, but it's important because depending on the size of the fish that you're trying to match you'll have to match the hook size to it as well. The manufacturers tried to use the most standard and natural looking hook size for a bait fish. It takes the guess work of how to use a crankbait away a little bit.
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sometimes it's too large, it's too wide, it's too heavy and sometimes it can interfere with what the bait fish is trying to look like. It looks like the bait fish all exactly but it has to dangling things from that are super huge, and oversize. This is when you want to trade in those treble hooks for something else. something that takes up less space, but it's still sharp and will still hook the fish depending on the size of the fish and the way its mouth is structured. it shouldn't be a problem.
I primarily suggest you to get smaller hooks and what the manufacturer provides. this is really getting into the deep pro level kind of talk here. pros have their ways of doing things and they do them very well. They test over and over and over and over again. that's really how to get better at anything. You have to test, which means fishing more. fishing more takes a couple things to do.
you have to be able to catch all that fishing more this takes more time. You just need more time to fish and that requires you'd make sacrifices and decisions about what you do with your time. you can sit in front of the some kind of screen all day. YouTube, Facebook on your phone or on a desktop, or at a TV screen, for hours and hours and then realize oh wait man, I really wanted to go fishing!
You decided to sit on TV and maybe you should spend that time fishing. That's a decision, we all have decisions and if you want to catch more bass, there's other decisions for that as well not just time. You can get better at skills, you can get better gear, you can get help from people who are better than you and learn from them and even use their skills and abilities to put you on the fish so that you don't fail in that usually cost money.
So let's talk about crankbait techniques now. The most important one that you need to know is you need to hit something. not with your fist. I mean your crankbait. Crankbaits are primarily used around two types of structures. one of them is sharp drops. the other is structure like branches and stuff. fish are in both those areas primarily. So when you're coming into something don't be afraid to dive into it.
Hit Structure and Pause
I'll let it flow through the top and pull it around. NO, NO sir rip it through there not fast. I'm gonna describe this. if there's a tree coming into the water and it's coming at you straight like this. the branches are coming at you like that. get into one of the grooves in a nooks of the tree and work it through there.
They'll hit a branch and soon as it hits that branch, pause for a second. not for long reel it again and then it hits the next thing POW! let it float for a second then keep going. One of those moments when it hits it and floats for a second the fish is going to come after it and gobble that thing down!
That's when they hit those things. you should really get in there and decide that if I get hung I'll try to get out. know that you're going to get hung alot. you're going to catch more fish. the reason for this is when a fish sees a minnow or a bait fish hit something accidentally or not and then stop and float away. they think it's done and when you've seen a small fish die in the fish tank, it just stops moving then slowly floats to the surface and goes belly up.
That's what it sees is like oh, stunned fish. It sees the belly. Oh, you exposed your belly and sucks it right up. nothing to think about it. It's a reaction bite. reaction bites are the best because they don't require any thinking. Now the same thing happens on sharp drops. you want to start it barely in a shadow. Sorry, I can't see that, you want to start it in a shallows and then bring it down the hill and when it goes down the sharp drop, you want to get it right on top of it.
You want to hit every type of structure that is on that drop.if there isn't any structure will not drop working for a little while. then they'll pass a place that structure, stumps, logs, trees, underwater grass, man-made structure, anything, anything that's not normal, fish love structure. if it's on a sharp drop, they really love it and if it's a near a place where bait fish are congregating.
They like even better like a point oh man. that's like I true factor. That's why you see people in those big pro bass tournaments working drops near points. they talk about older stumps down there. they're hitting it boom and it hits the stump and they floated up and there's like a basically a school bass was looking at it and they see it, boom!
Belly comes out for a second, and hit it. They know you can't get away. There's no shallows to chase it through. There's a ton of other have a competition here so they don't go after it first. somebody might fly past them and grab their easy meal and they don't want to do that. that's the easy meal. It's right in front me, I mean that's what you want to do.
There's also a different types of crankbaits techniques and one of them is a steady retrieve. I don't really recommend a steady retrieve, but most people do this because we learned to fish things like spinnerbaits. you should also do similar things with spinnerbaits. Hit stuff with that too. It's another type of bait that helps you:
- find fish
- find structure
- make fish bite
It helps you do all three which helps you learn about where you fish.
There are stumps down there. that's the drop there. fish are usually here. there's bait fish over there, etc. etc. It helps you kind of map the land without a hummingbird sonar unit. So use crankbaits and spinnerbaits a lot when you get to a new area or you're trying to discover if fish are here or not.
Don't Reel Too Fast!
I say it's not a good thing. One is because a fast retrieve will actually display too much water on a lip of a crankbait. It actually causes it to rise instead of dive. If you rip it too much, it doesn't actually wobble faster. There's a level of wobble I will take when enough water is pushing on it.
If too much water pushes on the crankbait it will actually pull the one side. you'll see your line kind of go to a side or the other way. it's really too much water displacing off the bill. It decides it can't take the wobble anymore and the wobble goes wild. it pretty much wipes out like a car trying to go around a corner with too much speed and really bad tires.
How To Catch More Bass
Learn the secret techniques, tips and tactics to catch more and bigger bass!
Jerk and Stop Technique
Another good technique is actually the jerk and stop technique. You just doing it in open water. you push some water, you pause it, you reel it a little bit steady retrieve, then you jerk it and then you pause it. you can do this in a variety of of intermittent stages and it's really dependent on you. maybe find a special technique that works for your fish.
you're like oh this is the way to do it man. You have to do it exactly this way. you jerk the bait three times, pause, jerk it three more times than steady reel, than pause, then jerk it again, guarantee that will work. it's really when the fish sees it. they see that it's doing something erratic, but similar to what a fish do. they'll get them to buy.
So your special technique may or may not be special. if you believe it is that means it is special. So keep doing it and keep telling everybody about it and use your special technique. I don't have one, I do things at random and random works.
Crankbait Fishing Gear
The last thing I like to talk about is crankbait fishing gear. The two types of things you'll want to really think about when you are fishing crankbaits for bass or anything else are the rod and reel and also the line.
So first of all, you want to use a long rod. seven to a possible eight feet and you want a soft tip.The reason you want something long is because the longer your rod the more you can point down and get the bait deeper. it gets deeper at a magnitude greater depending on the length of your rod. that's one variable.
the soft tip is to actually feel the little bumps when a bass grabs it and then tries to let it go. once it fills up it figures out that's not a real bait fish. So that soft tip can help you with the feel.
The second thing is you want to use a bait casting reel. most people don't really know what a baitcast reel is. that's the one with the horizontal reel of line. you actually thumb the line of your finger here and then you test it out. then while you're testing you have to use your your thumb to either let the line go out or not. this will take a lot of practice if you don't know how to do it because the first couple times or first 50 times you're going to get some crazy bird's nest. sometimes they're so bad on it.
So I suggest to practicing in your yard if you're a new to baitcast reels. they are great for crankbaits because they're smooth, they're fast, they're great ball bearing, so quiet, and for reeling. For a crankbait there's really no faster reel than that. You need to be able to get up your slack line and then do a fast enough and easy enough reel speed with your wrist to get down to those deep levels if you're using a deep diving crankbait.
The line should be fluorocarbon. why fluorocarbon? it's the lightest line. this light line will sink the fastest and the easiest. so if you need to go deep, but you don't have to worry about catching a world record bass or something that super huge then floral carbon is the way to go. You can get that anywhere. You can get it online, a local Bait Shop, the retail store, wherever they sell it. that should help you learn how to use crankbaits.
So if you have any questions please go to the comments below and subscribe. might be a button here or there. should be a subscribe button down there. go to the website fishingatwork.com. you can get your 10 step process to go fishing at work PDF right on the front page.
Then you just subscribe and the you'll get great information about catching bass, about catching more fish, about getting more time to catch more fish and everything else. Also, if you go to middle of the page, you should see a how to catch more bass PDF, which is a 45 page document of tips and techniques and tricks and a lot of learning about how a bass reacts. how it sees the environment. how it actually functions.
How To Catch More Bass
Learn the secret techniques, tips and tactics to catch more and bigger bass!
That's where I talked about how a bass get smarter over time instead of older like us older and slower. he gets stronger and faster and smarter. it has better reflexes and everything. it's crazy, but you can get that document for free. Just sign up and you'll also be put on the same list we will get more helpful information for me. So remember Dwight Norris and I'm trying to help you get more time to go catch fish.
Whether it be bass or walleye or trout or catfish or striped bass or fill in the blank whatever you like to catch. I'm here to help you so please if you have any questions or need guidance or you just want to know how to catch more bass or how to use crankbaits! Just give me a contact through the email, website or the comments below. if you write a comment I will reply in due time, which will probably be less than a day.
So once again I'm Dwight Norris fishingatwork.com telling you go fishing and how to use crankbaits.