Written by Andrew Schadegg
Crankbaits are one of the most popular and effective baits in bass fishing. You can fish it fast, cover a lot of water and throw it around a lot of different structure. Particularly in the post-spawn, when bass are starting to settle into their summer patterns, crankbaits can be incredibly effective at inciting a spawn weary bass who is feeding up on small baitfish.
As with any technique, there are always ways to fish it better and more effectively.
Here are four ways to make your early summer crankbait fishing better:
1. Bang Into Stuff – Your greatest weapon to get more bites with crankbaits is contact. A high percentage of the time, bass bite after that lip deflects off of something and changes trajectory. So target that crankbait to bang off stumps, rocks, dock pilings or any other structure you can see in the water. Especially the bottom. Make sure you dig into the bottom on every cast. After that bait smacks its target, pause it for just a second and hold on!
2. Try All Angles – Many times as anglers, we’re going down a bank (either with a boat or walking the shore) and cast at the same angle every time. Either straight into shore or straight out from shore. If you’re in a boat, try going shallow and casting out, bringing the crankbait uphill or cast parallel to the bank and keep the bait on that drop-off or keep it in the strike zone longer. Mix it up! Many times, you’ll find that you catch more fish with one than the other.
3. Mix Up the Colors – Everyone is guilty of tying on a certain crankbait, fish it for 20 or 30 minutes without a bite and put it away. You might be missing out on tons of fish that are keyed in on a crawfish pattern rather than shad pattern or bluegill instead of crappie. Mix up your colors. Fish one color for 15 minutes. No bites. Try a different color for 15 minutes and so on. It might not be the crankbait, it might be the color.
4. Change Up Your Cadence – Another major mistake that every angler makes, is that we don’t mix up our retrieve nearly enough. If you watch the best fisherman in the world on TV or online, they almost never bring a bait back the same way twice. Stop chunkin’ and windin’ and start throwing in some pauses, quick reels or stop and goes. Try burning the crankbait back as fast as you can or slowing it down to a snail’s pace. Mix it up until you find what is working on that particular day and you WILL catch more fish.
Make some of these changes to your early summer crankbait fishing and the results will surprise you. Some of those days that you catch 2 or 3 fish on a crankbait, might just turn into 10 or 15.