Mike Frisch: A fall crankbait strategy
A crankbait is a lure that gets more and more play in my boat starting in September and continuing into late fall.
In fact, as the water cools and the weeds start to die, a crankbait is often my go-to largemouth bass bait for putting both numbers and larger-sized bass in the boat!
September bassin’ for me often involves holding the boat on the deep weed edge of a heavily vegetated flat, or one that was heavily vegetated during summer’s peak, and moving down the edge casting and retrieving crankbaits across and through remnant weeds and down the flat/weed edge.
With the trolling motor on a steady speed, I’ll parallel the flat’s weed edge until catching a fish. Often, slowing up and straining that area for more bites will pay off. If not, or when the bite slows, it’s time to move on looking for the next bite.
This is power fishing at its best and requires the right baits and right equipment. I use the Pro Model Series crankbaits in sizes 3, 5, and 5XD (xtra deep) for this fishing, choosing which model depending on the weed/water depths being fished.
These baits in their various sizes cover most of my fall cranking depths and they come in a variety of color patterns that bass prefer too. Neon Bluegill, Bluegill, and Chartreuse Perch are some of my favorite “match-the-hatch” patterns that really do a good job of catching largemouth bass in the very clear waters I fish. As always, experimentation is the best way to determine what lure color pattern the bass prefer on your favorite lake.
The right bait in the right color is important when “crankin” but so is the right rod/reel/line set-up.
I like to use a long baitcasting rod with a somewhat more moderate action than I use when, say, jig fishing or pitching Texas rigs.
A long rod with a bit slower action allows for long casts and also lets a hungry bass really engulf a quickly moving bait. Lew’s has a variety of good cranking rods throughout their line that are specifically designed for crankbait fishing and do a really good job.
The BB1 Pro Speed Spool Series is my reel choice for crankbait casting as it holds a bit more line than some bait casters, which facilitates long casts. Plus, the reel is very smooth and comes in a bit slower 6.4:1 gear ratio, which I prefer when casting and retrieving crankbaits.
The last equipment need involves line choice. Fluorocarbon line is good for crankbait fishing as it has a bit less stretch than other lines, which is important when setting the hook at a long distance. Plus, fluorocarbons offer very low visibility, which is important when fishing clear water. I usually spool with 12-pound test Tactical fluorocarbon when cranking.
Spooling lines and heading for your favorite bass fishing lake is a good fall activity choice. Baiting those lines with crankbaits and using some of the suggestions provided above just might lead to some fast fishing action for you this fall.
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 to see more.