Not All Crankbaits Are Created Equal

Ron Johnson
By Ron Johnson
Not All Crankbaits Are Created Equal

Walking down the aisle of your favorite tackle store can sometimes be overwhelming when trying to determine which lures to purchase, and that is especially true when it comes to Crankbaits. Many are drawn in by the eye popping colors and designs when making their selection, often overlooking the most important factors. Although color can and will come into play in many situations, the most important key to catching fish on a crankbait is to ensure the lure is going to get in the zone where the fish are feeding. Let’s face it, if the fish are set up in 20 feet of water and you’re throwing a crankbait that only dives five to seven feet, you can throw it all day without ever triggering a strike. Nowadays, there are crankbaits that dive from one foot to more than 20 feet. When I look for a crankbait, there are two factors for me that are more important than color.

First, I look at the lip of the crankbait as the length and shape will determine the depth the lure will dive. I aim to have an assortment that covers all depths one to three feet, five to seven feet, 10 to 14 feet and 14 to 20 feet (or deeper). Having an assortment allows me to work the different zones when trying to focus on the location and depth the fish may be feeding on at any given time. If you are unsure of the depth, read the package as it will indicate the “depth range” of each lure making it easier for you during the selection process.

The second most important factor is the profile of the lure. Some are very narrow and slender, while others have a wider and bulkier profile. Try to do some research on what the primary food source may be for the body of water you are fishing, and then go from there in your lure selection once again. For instance, if you are fishing a body of water where bluegill or crawfish are the main food source, then look for a profile or lure that mimics them best. When shad or blueback herring are most abundant, use slender smaller profile baits that match the size and action of these baitfish.

Crankbaits will range from tight wiggle to slow wobble and some in between. Some also have rattles while others are silent. Once you find the right depth range and lure profile to trigger strikes, you can work on color and sound. I try to keep it simple by using natural colors in clear water, followed by bright matte colors or dark colors in stained to dirty water. Don’t get caught up in trying to purchase every color available on the store shelf or what you think looks the best. Simply put, find the lure that best replicates the food source in the body of water you are fishing. Then it’s just a matter of covering water and locating the magic depth the fish are located. Keep in mind that when throwing a crankbait, your line size will also be a factor in reaching the optimal depth the lure is designed to dive. The heavier your line, the more resistance it will have in the water preventing it from reaching its max depth. If you happen to be fishing around a lot of heavy cover, you may have to sacrifice depth by increasing line size to lower the risk of breaking off your catch. I hope these few tips help you land more fish in your next fishing adventure!

Not All Crankbaits Are Created Equal

More About Ron Johnson

Ron Johnson is a professional angler, who has been active since 2006 and placed in numerous championships around the country, securing consecutive Angler of the Year titles. In 2016, he placed 8th in BASSMASTERS at Oneida in New York. He is sponsored by Wrangler® Rugged Wear and currently resides in Arizona with his wife, Michelle. Read More