Crankbaits, like the one pictured above, come in all shapes and sizes. Their different designs allow them to cover the entire water column from the very top to the bottom of the lake, but one feature almost all crankbaits have in common is treble hooks.
Generally crankbaits come equipped with two treble hooks, each of which has three individual hook points. This gives the crankbait a total of six very sharp points to snag not only a fish’s mouth but everything in sight.
For this reason many fisherman will only tie on a crankbait in open water where it has no chance of making contact with anything. While crankbaits fished in this fashion can still catch fish, anglers who do so are missing out on an opportunity to dramatically increase their number of fish caught.
One of the easiest changes fishermen can make is to select a crankbait that is designed to run to a slightly deeper depth than water being fished. For example, if an angler is fishing in 10 feet of water, a crankbait that runs 11 or 12 feet would make contact with the bottom. The crankbait will deflect sharply off of the bottom and this quick change of direction will repeatedly trigger strikes from bass.
This technique is better with a more solid bottom like rock or gravel instead of a soft bottom like mud. If unsure of a crankbait’s running depth, a good rule of thumb is the longer the bill or lip on the front of the bait, the deeper it will run.
A similar technique can be used in flooded timber. Crankbaits with a square shaped bill can be reeled directly over a submerged log. When the crankbait makes contact with the log, the square shaped bill will safely lift the body (and hooks!) up and over the wood.
With a little practice this technique can be done in the heaviest of cover without ever hanging up and yield incredible results. Bass in heavy cover like timber may not see as many crankbaits as others and when it makes contact with the timber and deflects off bass find it irresistible.
Even aquatic vegetation can be fished with a crankbait. Once a crankbait makes contact with the weeds or grass, a quick twitch of the rod will often be enough to rip it free. The quick change of speed or direction will elicit vicious strikes from bass.
Next time on the water try making contact with some structure with crankbaits and don’t be afraid to take crankbaits where they’ve never been before.