By Ryan Heilmann -
When you mention the use of crankbaits, most anglers think of this as a spring and summertime technique, but bass love it in the winter also.
Cranking in the winter can produce big bags, and can catch a good number of fish. Used correctly, crankbaits are a versatile bait that will catch fish any time of the year. Sometimes the color matters, sometime it’s the depth that it runs, and sometimes even the size line you’re using.
I like to burn a Bandit 200 series down chunk rock in the fall and early winter months. Bass have a tendency to gather near the rock because the rock along the bottom warms up throughout the day and they use the warmth to regulate their own body temperatures. With a little focus, you will begin to develop a keen eye for when and where to utilize these baits.
During this time on my home lakes, you have to burn it or they will not hit it as well. As the year goes on, or when the water temperature gets below 50 degrees, the key becomes slowing the retrieve down.
I start out burning it, but slow it down after I get it to the achieved depth, unless it is unachievable with the size of crankbait your are throwing. During this time of the year, I also like to fish around brush, on steep bluffs.
I estimate where the end of the tree is, and try to run my bait right through it. This technique really pays off sometimes, as the fish suspend around the ends of tree tops when the water temperature cools. During these colder days, these aggressive schools don’t move much and a crankbait used to cover a significant portion of water can help increase your chances of finding the mother lode.
So next time you’re out on the lake this winter, try some cranking. It will defiantly pay off if you have patience.
About Ryan Heilmann
Ryan is a professional fishing guide on Normandy Lake in Tennessee. He has all the knowledge to put you on big bass on Normandy Lake. He is a avid tournament angler, and has been fishing his whole life.