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Are You Digging It? Cranking up Bass Part I (The Basics)
Darin Roddick-Small


When you think about bass fishing, what is the first thing to come to mind? If you are like most, you will conjure up pictures of big bass busting through mats of vegetation, or of bass being pulled from the wood-covered banks of your favorite lake. If you are not thinking about working a crank bait in your local body of water, you may be missing out on some great fishing.

When Should You Be Cranking? 
I think that this question should be left up to the imagination. I am a firm believer that if bass are in a certain area, they can be caught on a crank bait. One thing that must be accomplished before trying to catch bass in any condition is you must develop confidence in cranks. To do this, I would suggest going to a body of water where you know the fish are biting. Whatever you do, do not try to develop a technique when you are struggling to catch fish. This is the biggest mistake that I see people making. Another good way to learn a new technique, like cranking, is to go fishing with someone who excels at it.

Bandit Crankbaits

The World of Cranks 
If you have spent much time at all in a bait shop you already know that there are countless styles and colors of crank baits. This can be very intimidating to a person trying to start out with crank baits. My suggestion to you would be to find a brand that looks good to you and learn everything they have to offer. For example, if you were to pick out the Bandit crank baits, you would see a variety of styles and sizes. They have a flat sided crank bait, as well as their “standard” line of cranks that feature varying sizes of lips that allow the bait to dive to different depths.

After you pick a line of baits that you will use, get a couple of each size if money is an issue, I would determine what the mid-depth crank bait would be. Crank baits will usually have the depths they will reach marked on the package; otherwise, you can find the depth they run by doing a little research on a computer.

What Colors Should I Buy and Use? 
This may be one of the best questions out there for crank bait fishing. It will also have a different answer from most people you ask. One of the main factors to consider when deciding on the colors to buy or use is what the main forage base for the body of water you are fishing is. A secondary factor to consider would be the water color. On clear to ultra clear waters, you will want to try to “match the hatch” as much as possible. I tend to use a lot of silver/blue, and silver/black, or light craw colors. If the water is slightly stained, I will switch to a gold/black and an orange or red craw color. In muddy water, don’t forget about the red craw and a fire tiger crank bait. As always though let the fish dictate the final color choice though. Sometimes I will throw a real different color than normal if I feel the fish are pressured, just to give them something different to look at.  

What Line Should I Use? 
Line can play an important role in crank baiting. Most of the depths for crank baits have been measured by using 10-pound test line. If you use a lighter diameter line, the crank bait will run deeper. If you use a larger diameter line, it will run shallower. This is all a result of the resistance that is created by the line coming through the water. Think of it like this. If you are trying to cut through a block of cheese, a sharp knife will go through easier than a butter knife. The more resistance, the higher the bait will stay in the water column. This can be a major factor. If the fish want a small lure in deeper water, downsize your line to 6-pound test on lighter tackle. This will give you longer casts and the ability to run the lure deeper to keep it in the “strike zone” longer. The strike zone is the area that the fish have been found to be actively feeding. If the fish are riding higher in the water column, switch to heavier line. This will keep the bait up higher.

The braids have added a new twist to this because of their higher tests at a low diameter. This can work to your advantage when considering how deep you need your bait to run. If you use braids, I would suggest that you use a mono or fluorocarbon leader to reduce spooking the fish.

Selecting a Rod
I personally like to use a rod that has a slower action and a softer tip. This will help to reduce the number of fish that will be lost to fish jumping and throwing the hooks. This is often something the many people will overlook. You should not use a heavy, fast action rod because you will lose a lot of bass due to the rod not being able to absorb the shock of a fish making runs and jumping.

Please check in later for part II of “Are You Digging It? Cranking up Bass for information on crank baiting specific situations you will encounter throughout the year, while fishing for bass. Tight Lines and God Bless

Darin Roddick-Small
Brovarney Baits- Pro Staff
Viper XP Jigs