The Fall Crank Bait
With the fall bite firing up across the country I would like to take some time to talk about crank bait fishing. Crank bait fishing can be relatively easy as you in some cases just cast and reel. However that is not always the rule.
One method which is one of my favorite methods is bumping the bottom with the bait. You need to choose a bait that dives deep enough to tick or just bounce off of cover on the bottom. In other words don’t throw a bait that is designed to dive 12 to 15 deep in 6 feet of water. You will just be digging a ditch . Now there are instances when that is acceptable but that is a different story… Let’s just say I am fishing in 12 foot of water I want my bait to get to the bottom and any rock or stump that is down there I want to grind the bait into it. The deflection is when you will usually get hit. This does take practice as when you first start fishing everything you bump you will want to set the hook. A rod with quite a bit of flex is important because it will allow the bait to roll over the cover and load up on a fish. It will increase your hook up ratio as a stiff rod can pull the hooks out of the fish’s mouth. As far as a reel I personally use a 6-4 ratio reel it’s kind of middle of the road all around reel ratio. A lot of people really like the wench type slow reels like a 5-1 gear ratio. They are great if you have the money to just have a specific for cranking reel get one. , but it is not a necessity for the everyday person going out to catch a few fish on the weekend. I am a fan if the KISS rule, keep it simple stupid and it is easy with all the options out there to over think it.
Rattles or not I think depends on the situation if I have gin clear water I won’t use rattles if the water is real dirty I may. In the fall bass are gorging on shad feeding up for a long lethargic winter. So reaction is an important tool to have when fall crank baiting. One of the best reaction strike baits on the market is the Red Eye Shad. Strike King does not sponsor me the red eye shad just simply catches fish and catches big fish. It imitates a shad so many ways you can rip it through grass, you can pump it, you can reel stop reel stop in short bursts, and as it falls it looks like an injured shad. With any crank bait vary your cadence/retrieve until you get figured out what the fish want. Those being said, give each retrieve a chance. If you see some cover that looks really good pick it apart fish it with different retrieves. Remember the reaction is what you are looking for. You want that fish to be watching it and it jumps or does something funny then Mother Nature just make the fish eat.
I think the most important thing however is to match the hatch and that is in most situations. Find a bait with the right profile and action and then you will catch fish. If you are on a shad lake look at the size of the forage available and choose a bait with a profile similar to those. That is a good starting point. Be attentive to your surroundings watch the bank feel the bottom with your bait. Every fish you catch is a piece of a puzzle. If you can put it together it will help you in finding similar places to fish with the same result. It is fall it is time to really go out and catch good numbers of fish and enjoy some beautiful weather and scenery. Good luck and God Bless.