Written by Andrew Schadegg
Most of LTB Bass Box subscribers received the X Zone Lures Muscle Back Finesse Craw in their box in February. This 3 1/4 inch bait is the smaller of the two craw baits that X Zone Lures offers. The other product, the larger sized X Zone Lures Muscle Back Craw is 4 1/8 inches.
So when do you choose the Finesse Craw over the bigger Muscle Back Craw?
How do you know when and where to downsize your baits?
WHEN to Downsize Your Baits
One of things that separates the top professional anglers from the weekend guys is knowing when to make small adjustments. Here are the top times you want to drop down to a smaller profile.
1. Winter/Cold – When winter sets in and the water temps dip down below 50 degrees, the metabolism of bass is really low. That means they don’t expend a lot of energy and are typically lethargic. Many times downsizing and slowing way down is your best bet for getting bit.
2. Nice Weather/Pressured – Are you on water that gets beat up by tons of anglers when the weather gets good? When the same docks get hit by 100 guys throughout the day, bass get acclimated very quickly and sense the presence of something foreign and unfamiliar. This where the small X Zone Finesse Craw on lighter line, lighter weight and a spinning rod would be perfect.
3. Post Spawn/Summer – Just like with cold water, the doldrums of summer when the water temp gets up in the upper 70’s and 80’s can be a really slow time for fishing. Bass tend to feed more at night and in low-light hours. This is a great time to go deeper with a smaller offering.
WHERE to Downsize Your Baits
1. Smaller Ponds – Typically, in little bodies of water you have smaller fish and forage. Again, this is not always the case, but it definitely is true many times. When you’re not getting bit on the bigger offerings, drop down to the smaller, finesse stuff.
2. Clear Water – Though it’s not always the case, by and large clear water fish are super spooky. They don’t like things that are big and loud. When they don’t seem to be interested in bigger offerings, downsize and it can make a huge difference in the amount of bites you get.
3. Numbers Lakes – Not every fishery has a plethora of big fish. Many lakes are fun to fish and have a lot of quantity, but not much quality. That’s ok! Downsizing and catching 50 fish in a day is super fun and a small craw like X Zone’s Muscle Back Finesse can put a bunch in the boat in a hurry.
As a general rule, it’s always a good plan to have different sizes of baits ready to go at all times. You never know when the bite will be tough or the conditions will setup right for a smaller bait profile.