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Crankin’ for summer bass

Casting crankbaits along deep weedlines this time of year is a great way to find largemouth bass and multiple other species.

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Mike Frisch with a largemouth bass caught fishing a deep weedline with a crankbait. (Contributed photo)

One of the most dependable summer fishing patterns involves throwing crankbaits on deep weedlines for largemouth bass.

“Largies” roam the outside edges of weeds looking for baitfish and are usually suckers for baits that mimic that prey. Not only are they often willing biters, but not much fights harder than a summer largemouth.

Largemouth are present in good numbers on many weedlines, and as a bonus, walleyes, pike, and maybe even some big panfish will be encountered when crankin’ summer weedlines.

The “deep weedline” is typically found along drop-offs where shallow flats give way to deeper water. Weeds grow on the flats, extending down the edges until eventually ceasing to grow as water depths increase and a lack of sun penetration prevents plant life.

This deep edge is usually referred to as the deep weedline. Fish of all species call weedlines home during summer, and in many Midwestern lakes, a good portion of the largemouth population lives here now.


Crankbait casting is a great way to target weedlines as this technique allows anglers to quickly move down the weedline searching for active bass. Not only are crankbaits great “search” lures that help find schools of fish, but they also work great for catching a bunch when a school is found.

Many crankbaits will catch weedline bass. The Pro-Model crankbaits from Strike King are my favorites for a couple reasons. First, they’re available in various sizes and diving depths to cover any weedline water depth encountered. Many of the lakes I fish have deep weed edges in the 12-18-foot depth ranges and the Series 5 and Series 5XD work great here.

Second, and very important in the clear waters I fish, the baits are available in a variety of baitfish patterns that match the hatch and appeal to largemouth bass, including a variety of bluegill, sunfish, and perch imitators.

When fishing crankbaits along weedlines, I simply hold the boat out from the weed edge and move down paralleling that edge while casting inside and ahead of the boat. Often, when a fish is hooked, several more can be caught from the same area. Irregularities along the weedline, maybe points or turns or maybe a change in weed type, are often what attracts schools of bass to a particular area.

Crankbaits fished in this style often work well on baitcasting rods and reels that allow for long casts. Recently, legendary tournament bass angler Kevin Van Dam designed a series of technique specific rods and reels for Lew’s. The new CC4 rod model in that line is designed specifically for use with medium crankbaits and has proven to be a top performer when casting to summer weedlines.

Fluorocarbon fishing lines often work well on these rods and reels when cranking weedlines. Fluorocarbon sinks so it helps get a bait a bit deeper and these lines also provide good abrasion resistance for working along and through weeds.

Lastly, fluorocarbon is nearly invisible under water, which prevents bass in very clear water from seeing it. Tour Grade fluorocarbon in 10 and 12 pound test works well for my crankbait fishing.

Summer and active largemouth on the deep weedline go hand in hand in most lakes across the Midwest. If you’re looking for some fast fishing right now, head to the weedline of your favorite lake, tie on a crankbait, and start casting. Odds are good you’ll find the fishing action you are looking for!


As always, good luck on the water and remember to include a youngster in your next outdoors adventure.

Mike Frisch hosts the popular Fishing the Midwest TV series. Visit www.fishingthemidwest.com to see all things Fishing the Midwest.

Mike Frisch

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