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We all have our confidence baits. Maybe it’s what caught you your personal best. Maybe it’s the one that always puts numbers in your kayak. Maybe it’s the lure you’ve been throwing since you started fishing and it’s always been your “go-to.” For most anglers, our confidence baits are the ones we lead with, or maybe the ones we switch to as soon as something else doesn’t produce fast enough.

I’m no different. I love throwing shaky heads and jigs. They catch fish in a wide variety of conditions: they catch good numbers of fish; they catch big fish. Shaky heads and jigs are great for fishing slow and really picking apart water. As a tournament angler, though, there are times when I need to cover water faster than I can with a slow bait. So I set a goal for myself for 2018 – build confidence in a bait that could cover a good deal of water quickly and efficiently.

There are a lot of baits that could accomplish this goal, but I decided I wanted to focus on crankbaits. This was in some part influenced by the fact that I realized I had acquired a good number of crankbaits over the years. I knew they’d catch fish and I always meant to throw them, but not having confidence in them, they had basically become a “collection” stored in Plano boxes.

My strategy for building confidence was straightforward: go fish crankbaits. I know that might sound over-simplistic but that’s what exactly what I did – I made myself fish crankbaits. Well, more specifically, I made myself stick to throwing crankbaits despite wanting to switch to something else. What I found was I started catching fish, and more importantly, I started understanding where and when throwing a crankbait would produce for me. That knowledge is going to go a long way in 2019!