The crankbait lure is one of the most popular lure choices for bass fishermen when a lure is needed for catching bass on structure. Like most Bass lures they come in many different shapes, styles and sizes; each designed for a particular fishing situation or condition.
The first factor to consider when choosing a crankbait is the depth at which the bass are located. Once you have determined the probable depth of the fish, you will need to choose a crankbait that will dive to that depth. For example, If you expect the fish to be holding on structure 10 ft deep, then you will need a bait that will dive to at least 10 ft. This situation will require a deep diving crankbait.
I typically want a bait that will dive deeper than the actual depth of the fish. My reason for this is, I want the bait to actually hit the bottom and kick up silt and attract the attention of the fish. Or bounce of rocks, stumps or whatever cover the bass are holding on. I always want my crankbait to be in contact with something. This will trigger more strikes.
The second factor to consider is size of the crankbait. I like to try and match the size of the natural prey the bass are feeding on. If you see bait fish in the area take note of their size and color try to match it with the size and color of your crankbait.
The third factor to consider when choosing a crankbait is, the type of structure or cover that you’re fishing. The diving baits are generally a good choice on rock stumps or any type of wood.
If your fishing in, or over grass or some type of vegetation the lipless crankbait will be a much more efficient choice. The lipless bait has a much tighter wobble and thinner profile than most diving crankbaits; and will come through weeds much easier without snagging. The lipless bait is a great choice for fishing in or over vegetation. When fishing over weeds, don’t worry about getting the bait down in the weeds. This bait will draw the bass up. I have seen bass come up from 20 ft deep out of weeds to get this bait
The next thing you should consider is conditions. Weather conditions and water conditions are everything in bass fishing. These factors control everything that the bass does. Therefor should control how and where you fish for them.
Water color should dictate your choice when choosing your crankbait color. If the water is heavily stained or muddy, I will always start with bright or fluorescent colors such as chartreuse or even orange. If I’m in clear water, I start with more natural or shad colored crankbaits. Keep in mind that this is only a starting point if I’m not sure what the bass want.
Always be willing to change and experiment with color and presentation. Let the bass tell you what they want; and never be afraid to change.
Weather conditions also play a big part in my crankbait selection. For example if it’s cold and water temps are cold, I expect the fish to be less active and holding on deeper structure. In this situation I choose start with a deep diving lure. One that I can get down to the fish with a slower retrieve. Also if it’s very hot I use the same approach. For more detailed info see Crankbait Basics
Bass fishing is a game of variables. Always be ready and willing to experiment with different lures, colors and presentations. If what your doing isn’t working try something else until the bass tell you what they want. But always keep in mind that the crankbait is one of your choices..