Crankbaits and Bass

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Unlocking Bass Fishing Success with Crankbaits

If you're serious about bass fishing, then you already know that the right lure can make all the difference. Among the myriad options available, crankbaits stand out as a top choice for many anglers. These versatile, effective lures are designed to mimic the movements and appearance of baitfish, making them irresistible to bass. Here’s why crankbaits are an essential tool in your bass fishing arsenal and how you can use them to your advantage.

The Magic of Crankbaits

Crankbaits are hard-bodied lures that typically feature a lip or bill at the front, which causes them to dive and wobble when retrieved. This unique action closely resembles the swimming patterns of various prey species, triggering the predatory instincts of bass. Whether you're targeting largemouth, smallmouth, or spotted bass, crankbaits can help you land that trophy fish.

Why Crankbaits Work for Bass

  1. Versatility in Depth: Crankbaits come in a range of sizes and diving depths, from shallow-running models to deep-diving versions. This versatility allows you to target bass at different depths, whether they are hiding in shallow cover or suspended in deeper waters.

  2. Reaction Strikes: The erratic, wobbling motion of a crankbait can provoke reaction strikes from bass. Even when they're not actively feeding, the sudden appearance of a crankbait in their territory can trigger an aggressive response.

  3. Variety of Profiles and Colors: Bass can be finicky, and their preferences may change with the seasons, water clarity, and weather conditions. Crankbaits come in a wide array of shapes, sizes, and colors, allowing you to match the hatch and adapt to the bass’s changing moods.

  4. Covering Water Efficiently: Crankbaits are excellent for covering large areas of water quickly. Their design allows for long casts and efficient retrievals, making them ideal for locating and catching bass in expansive fishing spots.

Choosing the Right Crankbait

To maximize your success with crankbaits, it's important to choose the right one for the conditions you're facing. Here are some tips:

  • Shallow Diving Crankbaits: These are perfect for fishing in waters up to 5 feet deep. They work well around vegetation, docks, and other shallow structures.

  • Medium Diving Crankbaits: Ideal for depths of 5 to 12 feet, medium divers are great for fishing over submerged structures like rock piles and brush.

  • Deep Diving Crankbaits: When bass are holding in deeper water, opt for crankbaits that dive 12 feet or more. These are especially useful in clear water where bass might be lurking at the bottom.

  • Color Selection: Use natural colors like shad or bluegill in clear water. In murky or stained water, opt for brighter colors like chartreuse or fire tiger to increase visibility.

Techniques for Crankbait Fishing

  1. Steady Retrieve: A simple, consistent retrieve works well in many situations. This steady motion mimics the swimming pattern of a baitfish, attracting curious bass.

  2. Stop and Go: Adding pauses during your retrieve can make your crankbait appear more erratic and lifelike. This technique often triggers strikes from following bass.

  3. Bouncing Off Structures: Allow your crankbait to collide with rocks, logs, or other underwater structures. The deflection can create an unpredictable movement that bass find irresistible.

  4. Speed Variations: Experiment with different retrieve speeds. Sometimes a slow, deliberate retrieve works best, while other times a fast, aggressive retrieve will provoke more strikes.

Crankbaits in Action

Imagine a serene lake at dawn. The water is calm, and you cast your shallow-diving crankbait near a patch of lily pads. As you begin a steady retrieve, the crankbait wobbles enticingly through the water. Suddenly, a largemouth bass darts out from its hiding spot and strikes your lure with force. The fight is on, and thanks to your crankbait, you're about to land a beautiful fish.


Crankbaits are a powerful tool for bass fishing, offering versatility, effectiveness, and the ability to cover water quickly. By selecting the right crankbait and employing the right techniques, you can significantly increase your chances of a successful fishing trip. Next time you head out on the water, make sure your tackle box is stocked with a variety of crankbaits – they just might be the key to unlocking your best bass fishing day yet.

Tight lines and happy fishing!