John's Journal...

A Deadly Bassing System - Crank ‘Em Up with Cliff Craft

Deadly Retrieves Near Stumps, Logs and Boulders

Click to enlargeEditor’s Note:  Cliff Craft of Suwanee, Georgia, a retired professional bass fisherman and guide, qualified for the prestigious Bassmaster Classic seven times and in the past won the Angler-of-the-Year title and numerous bass-fishing tournaments. Many of Craft’s wins came while fishing his favorite bait, the crankbait, and he was considered by many fishermen to be one of the top crankbaiters of his time. Here’s a visit with this crankbaiting fanatic.Click to enlarge

If I can’t draw a bass away from the structure, I’ll cast my bait closer to the stump or log and utilize a stop-and-go retrieve or a ripping retrieve. The stop-and-go retrieve is a deadly tactic that makes bass bite. Wind the bait down, stop your retrieve, and then wind again. Often the bass will hit when the bait stops. Ripping is similar to the stop-and-go retrieve, except that you pull the crankbait hard with your rod and then reel up the slack as the bait floats up. Again, the strike usually comes when the bait’s floating up. Go for broke on the last cast. Try to put the baitright against the structure, and then bring the bait back to the boat fast – just like an escaping baitfish behaves. This fast retrieve is my last attempt to try and draw that Click to enlargeinstinctive strike.

A boulder sitting out from the bank blocking the current is a good place to find bass with a crankbait. Although the bass may be behind the rock, it will be looking upstream for its food to come washing around the rock. To catch this fish, I’ll cast past Click to enlargethe rock and retrieve the bait quickly until the lure is in front of the rock. I’ll stop the lure and let the current wash the crankbait around the edge of the rock to the waiting bass lying in the eddy area. If the bass fails to hit, start your retrieve. The retrieve may trigger the strike. This maneuver allows the bait to be presented more naturally to the bass and has produced plenty of fish for me. Some anglers will cast in front of the rock or behind the rock but miss the fish. By allowing the bait to wash around the structure, the fish just has to hit.

Tomorrow: Fishing Treetops for Bass

Check back each day this week for more about "A Deadly Bassing System - Crank ‘Em Up with Cliff Craft"

Day 1: Stumps and Logs
Day 2: Deadly Retrieves Near Stumps, Logs and Boulders
Day 3: Treetops Fishing Treetops for Bass
Day 4: Old Creek Channels
Day 5: Boathouses


Entry 512, Day 2