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How to Fish for Summer Bass with Crankbaits

Posted by 
September 9, 2015
Published in News & Tips > Fishing > Bass
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Both for professional bass anglers and those who engage in crankbait fishing for recreational purposes, summertime is unarguably the best time to go bass fishing for obvious reasons. For starters, this period  marks the end of the bass spawning season. Hence, they migrate in droves looking for food from shallow to  deep waters. Due to their population at this time, they tend to be more aggressive in their search for food, and are more likely to be caughJ.smileyt chasing baits like crankbaits.

Before embarking on a fishing expedition, there are 2 factors you need to take into consideration: the depth of the water and where you intend to fish (open waters like rivers, or lakes/reservoirs). These factors will help determine the type of fishing gear you should carry along. Many bass fishermen will tell you that a crankbait is the best bait you can use for bass fishing in any depth of water. This is because they act as natural “lures” for bass, resulting in a higher productivity ratio for those who use them in bass fishing.

Basic tips for selecting crankbaits

The ability to identify the different types of crankbaits is perhaps the first step towards productive cranking. When selecting crankbaits for your summertime cranking expedition, you should consider some fundamental factors like the color of the baits, the style/design, and the depth of dive. However, of the 3, the depth of dive is perhaps the most important factor to consider. Depth wise, crankbaits are categorized into 3: shallow divers, medium divers, and deep divers.

The depth to which your chosen crankbait will dive is also determined by other factors like bait design, size of the line, and cranking speed (for retrieval). To achieve greater cranking depth, run the crankbait more slowly using a lighter line with longer cast. Furthermore, crankbaits with longer bills are more suitable for luring deeper diving bass. For best results, a general rule of thumb is to adjust the depth with the height of the rod tip and the retrieval speed.

Ideal spots for bass crankbaiting

  • Boulders and other large rocks: bass are more inclined to be found around these spots, and crankbaits have proven to be more effective here. This is because when they bounce off the rock surface, they tend to agitate the bass into a frenzy of activity.
  • Ledges and drop-offs of various depths: for deep diving bass, these areas are ideal spots to go crankbaiting.
  • Logs and clusters of debris: these clusters provide a lot of cover for bass which naturally flock there in droves.
  • Mud flats and gravel banks: although these areas are naturally shallow, they hold a lot of natural bait for bass. Hence, you will almost always find bass here.

My favorite cranks

  • Lucky Craft D20 – Ghost minnow (deep diver)
  • Lucky Craft SKT 120DR – Ghost Baby Bluegill (magnum baits)

An important point to note is that big billed crankbaits are not very effective for cranking in areas with weeds, moss or grass unless you crank them over underwater weed beds or along the edges of weed banks.


Tagged under Read 4172 times Last modified on August 30, 2017
James Smiley

Home: Frisco, Texas
(wife) Lisa, (son) Zeke
Bass fishing, watching football, especially college football
2010 Nitro Z-9

Angling Stuff

Favorite Technique: Being versatile
Fishing Strength:
Growing up on the West Coast, my strength is being versatile
Favorite Lake:
Columbia River, Oregon
Favorite Species
Largemouth Bass
Likes to Fish:
Lake Lewisville

Career Highlights

Fishing 21 Years
21 1st Place tournament finishes
Been licensed fishing guide for 5 years in Washington and California
5 Angler Of The Year titles in local clubs and team trials
21 tournament wins on various levels including B.A.S.S. club events, local team events and Bassmaster Federation events
2011 Winner Bassmaster Western Divisional for the state of California
2011 3rd place at the Lake Mead WON BASS Pro Am
2011 3rd place at the WON BASS Pro-Am Championship
2011 WON BASS Tri-States Championship Qualifier
2011 Bassmaster Western Divisional Qualifier - Lake Navajo, NM
2011-2012 3rd place Bassmaster Federation State Championship
2010-2011 1st place Bassmaster Federation State Championship
2010 Winner Bassmaster Western Divisional for the state of California
2009-2010 season, Qualified through Bassmaster Federation ranks to Bassmaster National Championship on the Red River
2009 SOCB Angler Of The Year
Served 4 years as B.A.S.S. Federation Club President of South Orange County

Latest from James Smiley


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