Select Page

Easily the most misunderstood bait in the bass box is the crankbait. By its own nature confusing because of the considerations. Think about the possibilities, there’s; size, shape, square lip, oval lip, lipless, baits with rattles, silent lures and of course the age old argument started by the best color. The BEST thing about crankbaits is that you can cast it out, merely reel it back and catch fish. The WORST thing about crankbaits is that you can cast it out, merely reel it back and catch fish. This offers the illusion that this is the only way to work it. Let me present a few options to cranking baits and ways to catch new fish on old lures.


In the search for trophy size fish you can tilt the odds in your favor by “upsizing” your offering. BIG baits attract BIG bass (or other species). The downside of larger lures is that any error in presentation becomes more visible to the fish. While being a beast to retrieve the oversized lures fool their share of fish. If you’re looking for numbers as smaller version of the same bait is most likely your best bet.


Hard baits, “crankin’ plugs” and this category of baits come in many shapes. Mimicking the elongated look of a minnow, the rounder profile of a bluegill, matching shad, crawfish and even a baby bird bait all exist. Matching the forage is good but considering the visibility under the surface helps determine the shape of the bait that is most likely to get “eaten.” Simply stated clear water calls for the long thin lures and dirty water has me tying on the bigger, rounder versions.

LIP SERVICE (I even laughed at this one)

The desired depth is reached with the shape, style and size of the plastic lip (or lack of) on the front of the lure. Early cranking style lures were limited to diving a few feet and maybe with some effort ten feet. With the development of materials and lip shapes now you can probe twenty feet down if so inclined (or declined). Peaking in popularity are the square lip family of lures. The lip shape creates a unique presentation that creates a “deflection” bite once the lure makes contact with any kind if cover. The oval billed baits produce when bass are off the shoreline and in many cases suspended in deeper water. The lipless baits do well in cold water conditions, early spring and late fall.


Discovered by accident rattling baits appeal to the hearing of game fish. Sound travels efficiently through water and in murky to muddy water environments this can be a plus. Almost every crankbait now available has either a rattling or silent series of crankers. I use both, l more likely go quiet in clear water and during the mid-day.


Most catalogues and the aisles of stores have mind numbing selections of crankbait colors. From a marketing prospective there are the “sexy” shades, clever titles such as craw, fire, tomato, bone, wicked, neon and surprisingly the nickname “natural.” Like most folks I have dozens of colors but depend on a few basic baits. The majority of my lures are Strike King and specifically the lures I carry and cast are a smaller selection for two reasons. Limited tackle space in a kayak and the ones that produce trip after trip in almost any place and any waters. Scenario number one: clear water, bright sky, no wind #699 Natural Shad, number two: stained water, partly cloudy sky, wind rippling the surface #667 DB Craw and finally dark sky, heavily stained to muddy water and windy #535 Black Back Chartreuse . #584 Oyster is another go to color and red shades in off color water produce well.


I do make a modification to all my crankbaits. I swap the front factory treble hook with a Daiichi red treble of the same size. The red hook seems to draw the attention of the fish and the majority of my crank caught fish are on the front red treble. www.TTIblakemorefishing

Varying your retrieves, testing certain baits, sizes, style and colors will as with other baits lead you to your own style. It’s the same as other techniques, experimenting will help you to develop confidence in the cranking lures in your tackle box.