Crankbaits

Fishermen use the term crankbait for any lure with a lip that causes it to dive and wiggle when cranked in. Designed primarily for casting, most crankbaits have a relatively short aerodynamic body. Minnow plugs are sometimes classed as crankbaits, but will be considered as a separate category in this book.

Crankbaits work best at water temperatures of 55°F or warmer. At cooler temperatures, fish usua11y refuse to chase fast-moving lures.

Because you can cast a crankbait a long distance and retrieve it rapidly, you can cover a lot of water quickly. Even when fish are not actively feeding, the intense wiggle often triggers strikes. And when fish are feeding, more will see yom plug than would see a lure that moves more slowly.

Most crankbaits float at rest, but a few sink, enabling you to count them down to the desired depth before beginning yom retrieve.

Crankbaits are made of foamed or hard plastic or wood, usually balsa or cedar. Hard plastic crankbaits generally cast better than foamed plastic or wooden ones of a similar design, but do not wiggle as well on a slow retrieve.

The type of lip determines how deep a crankbait wiH

dive. Many fishermen believe that a crankbait with a steeply-sloping lip dives the deepest. But in reality, one with a lip extending straight off the front runs deeper. The size of the lip in comparison to the body also affects the running depth. The longer and wider the lip, the deeper the lure will dive. Crankbaits with small, steeply-sloping lips may run as shallow as 3 feet; those with large, straight lips, as deep as 12 feet. Some deep divers will reach depths of 25 feet when trolled on a long line.

Bomber Mud BugBomber Crankbait Bodies

(26) Hi-ContrasCM, (27) Fastrac ShadTM, (28) Mud-Bug@, (29) ThinFin@ Hot 'N Tot@, (30) Double Deep Shad TM, (31) Bomber@, (32) Wally DiverTM, (33) Lunker Licker, (34) Super-Dawg, (35) Snipe, (36) Diving Bang-O-B, (37) A.C. Shiner 301, (38) Shadling@, (39) Deep Little

Shallow-running crankbaits work best for fishing onnshallow flats or over submerged weeds or brush. Deep . divers would dig into the bottom or foul quickly under these circumstances. But deep divers are better suited' for fishing deep structure, like a sharply-sloping shoreline. For extremely deep water, use a sinking crankbait.

Some crankbaits have metallips which can be bent to make the lure run deeper or shallower. But the majority of crankbaits have fixed lips that cannot be adjusted. Most fishermen carry a selection of crankbaits with different types of lips, so they can fish at different depths.

THE lip on a crankbait serves another important purpose. Most crankbaits run in a head-down position, so the lip contacts obstructions before the hooks do. As a result, the lure usually deflects off solid objects such as rocks and logs before the hooks can become snagged.

"N", (40) Diving Kill'r "B" 2, (41) Stinger, (42) Rooter, (43) Arbo-Gaster@, (44) Water Dog, (45) Shad RapTM, (46) Natural IkeTM, (47) Deep-Digger, (48) Deep Pig Razorback@, (49) Deep Running Fat Rap@, (50) Wiggle Wart@, (51) Hellbender.

Warts Dogs Lips

CRANKBAITS include (top) shallow runners with small, steeply-sloping lips and attachment eyes at the nose and (bottom) deep divers with large, straight lips and attachment eyes on the lip.

Fishing With Crankbaits

Some fishermen argue that crankbait fishing is boring because all you have to do is cast out and reel in. But anyone who has shared a boat with an expert crankbait fisherman knows better.

You must select a crankbait that runs at the proper depth. To determine how deep a crankbait tracks, retrieve the lure through water of a known depth, feeling for it to touch bottom. If it does, move to slightly deeper water and try again. Continue until the lure no longer touches, then note the depth.

Many fishermen believe that the faster you retrieve a crankbait, the deeper it with dive. Actually, every crankbait has an optimum speed at which it performs best. Too slow, and it will not dive or wiggle properly. Too fast, and it will turn sideways and lose depth. Experiment with different retrieves to find the speed at which the lure tracks the deepest.

A crankbait will not attain maximum depth unless tuned so that it tracks perfectly straight. Depending on the type of lip, a crankbait must be tuned by bending or twisting the eye, bending the lip itself, or bending the attachment wire.

Experienced crankbait fishermen sometimes mistune their crankbaits intentionally to make them run to the side. By mistuning yom plug, yon can fish beneath overhead cover like a dock, or bump your plug into vertical cover like a seawall.

To reach maximum depth with a crankbait, cast as far as possible and keep your rod tip low while retrieving. With a shorter cast or higher rod position, yon will begin pulling the plug upward before it reaches its potential depth.

How to Tune Different Crankbaits

Line diameter also affects how deep your crankbait runs. Thin line has less water resistance and allows the plug to run deeper than thick line. The smaller the plug, the more it is affected by line diameter.

When fishing a crankbait in open water or light cover, 6- to l2-pound mono is usually adequate. But you may need mono up to 25-pound test for fishing in heavy cover. Spinning tackle works well for shallow-running plugs or deep divers that do not pull too hard. But bait-casting tackle is better for deepdiving plugs that have a lot of water resistance.

For the best action, tie a crankbait directly to your line. If the plug does not have a split ring on the eye, use a Duncan loop (page l2). A heavy leader or snap-swivel will restrict the plug's wobble.

To keep your lure in the fish zone as long as possible, cast parallel to the structure or cover. For example, to work the shady side of a log, cast parallel to the log and retrieve the lure along its length. If you cast perpendicular to the log, your lure would be in the fish zone only a fraction of the time.

The way you retrieve a crankbait depends on the water temperature and the mood of the fish. In cool water or when fish are reluctant to strike, a stopand-go retrieve usually works best. Fish often strike when you stop reeling and the lure starts to float upward. In warm water or when fish are actively feeding, a fast, steady retrieve is most effective.

When a fish grabs a crankbait it often hooks itself. But strikes can be much more subtle. If the fish hits while moving in the same direction as the lure, you will feel only a slight slackening of the line. Set the hook whenever yon feel a change in the action.

Crankbaits will catch practical ly any type of game-fish except the smallest panfish species. Mini-crankbaits, measuring only about one inch in length, work well for good-sized panfish.

Lure Wire Bender

BEND or tum the attachment eye if the plug tracks to the side. If the plug tracks to the left, bend the eye to the right and vice versa.

TUNE a crankbait with a wire connecting arm by bending the wire in the same direction you would bend the eye on an ordinary crankbait.

ADJUST the angle of the metallip to change the running depth. Bending the lip down makes the lure run shallower but wiggle more.

BEND or tum the attachment eye if the plug tracks to the side. If the plug tracks to the left, bend the eye to the right and vice versa.

TUNE a crankbait with a wire connecting arm by bending the wire in the same direction you would bend the eye on an ordinary crankbait.

ADJUST the angle of the metallip to change the running depth. Bending the lip down makes the lure run shallower but wiggle more.

Best Lures Catch Pike

RIP a crankbait through broadleaf weeds to catch pike, muskies or bass. The interruption in the plug's action

Techniques [or Fishing With Crankbaits

BUMP a crankbait along bottom by continuing to reel rapidly even after feeling bottom contact. The coTbina-bon of noise, enatic action and stined-up bottom debris often draws strikes from uninterested fish.

often triggers a strike. Or, bounce the plug off a stump or other obstruction.

Making Crankbaits Lip

UNSNAG a floating, deep-diving crankbait by letting the line go slack if the lure catches in timber. The lure will float upward and backward, freeing itself. Some anglers remove the front treble to make the lure more snag-free.

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