by Mark Bilbrey -
Fishermen control two of the most important factors of a presentation with depth and speed control. One lure that these two factors have the greatest influence on is a crankbait. If not presented at the depth that the fish are holding it can be difficult to get a bite unless the bass are very active. Getting the lure into the strike zone is just as important as making a prefect cast. Once the lure is in the zone, always remember that your retrieve controlled at either a fast or slow presentation it should be erratic to entice a strike. The next few paragraphs contain some tips to help you take control of a crankbait.
The depth that a crankbait will run will be determined by several things such as line size, bill design and retrieve speed. As a rule of thumb, crankbaits run deeper when retrieved slowly on a lighter line and with longer casts. Crankbaits with longer bills run deeper and have a wider wobble than the baits with smaller bills. The key for better controlling and fine tuning a presentation is to find the perfect line weight for a lure designed to run at a specific depth. For example if you use a lighter weight line, you will gain depth, however if you plan to bounce the lure off cover and objects you cannot not go too light. Many anglers use at least ten pound test or better for cranking. A line with some stretch line is preferred by many for the simple reason it is harder for a bass to throw a crankbait without the resistance. It is for this same reason a cranking rod has some give to it. Another way that anglers vary the depth of a crankbait is with the height of the rod tip and some even stick the tip of the rod in the water to get the bait in the strike zone.
Reel and kill is a crankbait trick that will drive bass nuts that relies on the fact that an erratic presentations are more productive that a steady retrieve. This control function manipulates both depth and the speed of these baits that will give anglers the power to entice a natural reaction strike from predatory bass. A slow retrieve to gain the maximum depth, then a rapid burn followed by a complete and abrupt stop of the lure in the strike zone will turn the head of even an inactive bass. The erratic crankbait suddenly stopping and the floating will rise slowly or a suspending lure remaining at the depth will provide results. Another control feature of a crankbait is ripping. This is simply cranking the lure to get it at the target depth and then pulling the rod back sharply to cause the lure to dart quickly through the water. This is followed by taking up the slack and repeating the process.
One technique that is equally effective for both deep and shallow crankbait presentation is bumping. By allowing the bait to bump the bottom and search or hunt as digs, and scrapes along the bottom making a silt cloud and a commotion is another way to achieve results by controlling speed and depth. The bait must dive deeper than the water depth for anglers to achieve this presentation. Anglers can achieve a deeper run by attaching split-shot a few inches above the lure on the line. Others will Carolina rig a crankbait to achieve a bumping presentation. This technique can be very effective when bass are feeding down on bright sunny days and when they are in a negative mood.
Crankbait control is the difference between a good angler and a professional angler. Controlling a crankbait goes far beyond tuning, tying and throwing. It is an angler understanding first the conditions, the nature of the bass and the design of the lure that he will be presenting. Speed and depth are vital considerations when choosing to use a crankbait, with size and color being the next things to give thought to.
This entry originally appeared on Team Bilbrey Fishing http://markbilbrey.com
About Mark Bilbrey
Mark is the owner of Team Bilbrey Fishing which is dedicated to the sport of fishing and the education of anglers to be both productive and responsible. Team Bilbrey provide tips, assist with sponsorships, marketing and product reviews. Team Bilbrey also offers press releases and angler biographies just to mention a few services we offer anglers.