Monday, October 6, 2014

Five Fabulous Fall Baits for Bass: Crankbaiting

Crank your way to success.
By Luigi De Rose

Depending where you live, crankbaits can be the most or least popular choice for fall fishing.  Crankbaits are just as useful for finding pods of bass as they are at catching them. Schooling bait and cooling water temps will bunch up bass. Cranking a plug allows anglers to cover immense sections of water while remaining productive at catching bass regardless of their mood. Once a sense of feel is established while using this lure, it can also be used to telegraph the bottom.  Weed, rock, sand even mud can be detected simply by interpreting the reaction of the bait as it comes in contact with the bottom.

Bait selection has been a huge hurdle for anglers. Consider these factors when reaching into your tackle bag.

Key factors:

  • ·      Water depth
  • ·      Cover
  • ·      Water temps
  • ·      Baitfish
  • ·      Water clarity

Each factor will determine size, style and colour scheme of the crankbait you knot on.
Rapala and Storm Pro-angler Jacob Wheeler knows
the importance of the square bill. This Storm Arashi
Wake Bait is a great fall crankbait when the bass are shallow.
(Photo: IBASSIN)
Darker water and heavy weed grown will force you to select shallow running or square bill baits. Square bills run through cover well and excel around wood or rocks.  If the water is warm or the sun pops out long enough to warm up a cool day, an afternoon crankbait bite might be the way to turn around an otherwise slow fishing day.

If the lake has a strong population of both smallmouth and largemouth select deeper diving cranks than can be cast very far and run along the bottom. Smallmouth can be boat shy particularly in crystal clear waters, so heavy baits than can be rocketed great distances is a huge plus.  Smallmouth love crayfish this time of year and scour the bottom looking for them. Scraping the bottom with a natural craw colour patterns can be a winner but don’t shy away from brilliant orange or chartreuse.  Neon bright colours can trigger smallies when all else fails.

The Shad Rap from Rapala is an
amazing cold water bait. 
Cold water won’t kill a crankbait bite but you’ll have to adjust accordingly. Start cranking much slower and it might be wise to switch from a large, plastic plugs to slimmer, balsa wooden baits. Wooded baits, such as Rapala Shad Raps, provide great action without being too erratic for docile bass.

There is a lot to consider when looking for autumn bass. Crankbait fishing is complex but it can also be as simple as chunkin’ and windin’.  Always consider the local conditions and rotate between lure size and diving depth before giving up on these amazing baits. 

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