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A 3-Point Guide to Trolling and Casting Crank Baits

Using cranks baits while fishing can be a lot of fun. Crank baits can be used while trolling or casting and here are 3 key points to consider, when it comes to crank baits.

1) Depth


Most crank baits will indicate how deep they will dive – if not, you can judge by the length of the lip.

Keep in mind when casting a crank bait from a boat, it will only hit its maximum depth for a very short period of time and you will want to be sure your rod tip is always pointed downwards – towards the water, in order to maximize your depth.

Where as when trolling, your crank bait will hit its maximum depth and then stay at that depth, which is much more effective as you are staying in the fish’s strike zone longer.

When casting from shore, start the retrieve of your crank bait with the rod tip pointed downwards, toward the water.

Once the crank bait hits its’ desired depth, you will want to point your rod tip upwards to a horizontal position and then as your crank bait comes closer to shore, you will want to point your rod tip upwards even more so, almost straight vertically – otherwise, you’ll end up getting your crank bait snagged.

2) Floating Crank Baits vs. Sinking Crank Baits

Floating crank baits will dive to their indicated depth where as a sinking crank bait can be fished at various depths. With sinking crank baits, you typically “count down” the seconds as your crank bait begins to fall.

It will vary by crank bait but in general, crank baits typically fall at a rate of 1 foot per second.

3) Size and Shape of Crank Baits


Generally speaking, small crank baits will catch all sizes of fish – big and small. Large crank baits will tend to catch only big fish, again, as a general rule. I have seen tiny fish hit huge crank bait.

When it comes to crank bait shapes, you have a choice of long and thin, short and fat, or jointed.

The jointed crank bait produces an aggressive action and works best when fish are very active.

The key thing to do here is to match the crank bait to the bait fish, or craw fish in your area. If the fish are feeding on smelts, long, thin crank bait would be best. If they are feeding on crawfish, short/stubby crank bait would be best.

So, the next time you are keying in on aggressive/active fish, try using crank baits – when a fish hits a crank bait, you’ll know it!

Until next time, good luck and good fishing.

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