Bass fishing crankbaits is a ton of fun, but it’s a nightmare to figure out. The problem is there are so many different varieties of them. Plus, with all the info out there on what’s best, it’s really hard to know how to get started. Here’s some key tips to understanding how crankbaits can work for catching fish. After reading this post and watching the video below, you will effortlessly get through the crankbait fishing nightmares and start “Kraken” more bass.
How to use Bass Fishing Crankbaits
Understanding how to use a crankbait is essential to be able to catch bass on one. The easy part of fishing a crankbait is you just throw it out and start reeling it back. The bait will wiggle back and forth as the bill of the crankbait pushes the water while you retrieve it. The further you cast and the longer you reel your crankbait, the deeper the crankbait will dive. The type of bill on your crankbait can push a bait deeper faster, or keep the bait running shallower. Make sure to continue reading the section below on the different types of crankbaits. This will help you know how the different types of bills on crankbaits can affect their action.
The most important factor to remember about bass fishing crankbaits is to always have your bait banging against the bottom and the cover you are fishing. This was a really hard concept for me to swallow when I first started using crankbaits. Those exposed treble hooks look as if they would hang up all the time. The key is to know what type of hardcover a crankbait works best around, such as rock and stumps, so you don’t hang up. Crankbaits are designed specifically to bounce and grind off the bottom and cover. Thicker pieces of timber, stumps, and rock are traditionally the best types of cover to bang your crankbait on. I finally started catching more bass on crankbaits when my crankbaits were consistently banging or bouncing off the bottom and cover.
When to use Bass Fishing Crankbaits
There are 3 things to look for to indicate whether you should bust out your crankbaits or not. The weather, water temperature, and fish depth. Each plays a big role in whether you will have a banner-day on crankbaits. Here are some guidelines about these 3 indicators to help you know when to use a crankbait bass fishing.
With weather, cloudy or windy conditions is when these baits tend to shine the best. On flat, calm, sunny days, keep your crankbaits in the box–unless it’s early morning or late evening. Low light conditions are often another good trigger for a good bite on crankbaits.
Crankbaits are at their best as water temperatures are warming in the spring or cooling in the fall. Crankbaits require more energy for a bass to chase down and eat. In warmer water, they are more likely to reach out for them, whereas in the wintertime, when it’s cold, they tend to not eat them as well. A bass’ cold-blooded nature causes their metabolisms to either speed up or slow down with the change in water temperature. Thus, water temperature can be a major player in fishing crankbaits.
When bass are holding deeper than 20 feet, it is extremely difficult to get your crankbaits down to them to bang off the bottom. You can do it, but it requires extremely long casts and big, deep baits. The best depths for fishing crankbaits is actually 15 feet or less. This makes bumping and bouncing off the cover less difficult with the right bait. How deep you are fishing is a big indicator as to whether a crankbait would be a good choice.
The Different Types & Styles of Bass Fishing Crankbaits
Crankbaits or Hard Baits–as they are often referred to–can be broken down into 5 types in 3 different styles. Understanding these different groupings of crankbaits by type and style will really help you get a better idea of what crankbaits will work best in whatever situation you find yourself fishing. Here’s all the types and styles spelled out, with a little bit about which crankbaits work best for each of these common types of crankbaits.
Here are five general classifications of the different types of bass fishing crankbaits you can choose from. Plus, a little bit of info on these classifications to guide you in your crankbait bass fishing. There are a lot of crankbaits on the market. Luckily, manufacturers of crankbaits label them pretty clearly. You should be able to quickly identify which type of crankbait you are purchasing.
Shallower Diving Crankbaits
Shallow diving crankbaits have small bills on the body of the bait and typically only run 0 – 5 feet deep. A square bill crankbait is typically the most commonly used of the shallow diving variety. The square bill crankbait is used most often because of how well it deflects and bounces off of shallow cover. Some of my favorite shallow diving crankbaits are the Jackall MC, Lucky Craft 1.5 and the Megabass S-Crank. These lures have caught some good bass for me as they bang the bottom in shallow rock-type cover.
Medium Diving Crankbaits
Medium diving crankbaits have slightly longer bills on the front. These baits can dive down effectively anywhere from 5 – 12 feet of water. Some solid medium diving crankbaits are the Megabass Cyclone, Strike King 3XD and the Strike King 5XD. A good medium diving crankbait can get the job done when the bass aren’t sitting up in the shallow stuff and seem to be holding a little deeper along the edges.
Deep Diving Crankbaits
Deep diving crankbaits have even bigger bills and are quite a bit beefier than the medium or shallow diving crankbaits. Usually, you need beefed up gear to throw one of these babies around. Deep diving crankbaits are best used anywhere from to 12 – 20 feet deep for diving down to bounce off the bottom or cover. The 6th Sense Crush, Strike King 8XD and the Lucky Strike freak are good examples of a deep diving crankbait for catching bass.
Lipless crankbaits don’t have a bill at all. They sink down and have a tight vibrating action on the retrieve because of the small flat surface on the top of the bait. Lipless crankbaits tend to work best when fishing around grass. Ripping a lipless crankbait over the top of grass vegetation is a popular method for catching bass. A lipless crankbait can be fished at any depth. They typically come in heavier sizes for fishing deep and lighter sizes for fishing shallower. Some solid lipless crankbaits worth trying are the Strike King Red Eye Shad and the Jackall TN series.
Jerkbaits are a type of crankbait which suspends in the water and fished with a twitch-pause action. These lures are often used in cold water to imitate dying baitfish. Depending on the size of the bill, the deepest they go is around 12 feet. Most jerkbaits have small bills and only dive down to about 5 feet and they suspend in the water on the pause. Good jerkbaits are the Lucky Craft Pointers and Megabass Vision 110’s. These types of jerkbaits perform well for catching tight lipped bass.
There are an additional 4 main styles of bass fishing crankbaits. It’s important to remember the difference between the type of crankbaits mentioned above and the style of crankbaits listed here. The different styles listed below are essential to help you know what to look for when choosing a crankbait.
Tight Wobble Crankbaits
Tight vibrating or wobbling crankbaits don’t move as much from side-to-side. They have a quicker vibrating action. Typically, this style of crankbait has a thinner body type; the bill or lip of the bait is thinner as well. Most often, the tight vibrating crankbaits outperform their wide wobbling counter parts, especially in colder water temperatures.
Wide Wobble Crankbaits
Wide vibrating or wobbling crankbaits have a bigger side-to-side movement as they come through the water. Usually, a wide wobbling crankbait will have a bigger, rounder body style. These types of crankbaits also have wider bills to push a little more water. The wide wobbling crankbaits work best in warmer water temperatures. They also work well for getting a bass’ attention because of the amount of disturbance they push through the water. These baits can also be good to attract bites at night and in stained water.
The majority of bass fishing crankbaits have different types of rattles inside of them to make some noise–hopefully attracting some bass. Rattles in crankbaits come in all sorts, from large and small to tungsten and brass. All you have to do is shake a crankbait in its box to hear what sound will emit in the water when you reel it. Rattling style crankbaits work best in dirty and stained water, or any other time you need extra attention on your crankbait to attract strikes.
More and more silent style crankbaits are becoming available. These baits don’t have any rattles. The only sound they produce is the slight noise of the hook as it bangs against the side of the bait as you reel it in. This style of crankbait works best in clear water and highly pressured lakes.
Choosing the Right Bass Fishing Crankbaits
Holy snap, there are so many crankbaits! How do you know what to use? Here’s a simple breakdown of knowing what crankbait will work best for the different types of situations you may find yourself in when bass fishing. Remember, bass fishing crankbaits works best on windy or cloudy days. In addition, look for the following variables listed below to help guide you in deciding which crankbait you should pull from your box.
Clear water, stained water, or dirty water all play a part in deciding the type and style of crankbait you should use. Deciding on what color to use, my post on the best colors for bass fishing will take care of that question. As for which type and style of crankbait depending on the different types of water clarity, there’s a lot of variance.
In clear water, use tighter vibrating and silent style crankbaits. These appear more natural in the water and produce more bites when bass rely more on their eyes for eating. When fishing in stained water, a tight vibration style with some noise is a good option. You may choose to use a wide wobble bait with no rattles too. These styles of crankbaits in stained water don’t overpower them, but do just enough extra to get noticed. In dirty water, you should be using wide wobbling shallow square bill type crankbaits. Bass typically don’t live as deep in dirty water, so a good wide wobbling square bill with rattles will help you draw strikes.
Water temperature is a key ingredient to knowing whether you should use a tight vibration or a wide wobble crankbait. In cold water, the tight vibrating baits perform best. In the warm waters–above 65 degrees–use your wider wobble crankbaits. The wide wobble crankbaits produce more bites when the fish are more active in the warmer months of the year. Lipless crankbaits and Jerkbaits out perform the other crankbaits in the coldest water temperatures but can still catch bass the rest of the year. Their tight action really helps draw strikes when things are tough.
How deep you want to fish is the best determining factor when deciding what crankbait to use. If you are fishing really shallow, use the shallow divers. When bass are holding 5 – 12 feet deep, start using your medium diving crankbaits. When you want to fish deeper–from 12 – 20 feet–start throwing your deep diving crankbaits. Evaluating water clarity and water temperature will help you determine the style of crankbait whereas evaluating the depth you are fishing should help you determine the type of crankbait you should use.
Bass Fishing Crankbaits Video
Here’s a some footage of me bass fishing crankbaits effectively out at Sand Hollow Reservoir. Hopefully, you can observe what I did to further help you know how and when to use a crankbait to catch more bass.
Crankbait fishing for bass can be really hit or miss sometimes. With these tips, you will be able to hit more times than you miss. Please leave comment below about your experience fishing crankbaits. I’m always trying to improve my crankbait game and your thoughts are always appreciated. Don’t forget to subscribe to the blog for epic content to help you “Krak” some bass!