John's Journal...

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


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

Crankbaits were made for fishing boathouses for bass. Most boathouses have a high concentration of small baitfish in them since the bass know this, they’ll often be found around these structures. Being the lazy fish that it is, the boathouse bass is looking for the easy meal that it won’t have to work to get. The angler who provides that easy meal will catch the bass. I approach the boathouses much like I do logs. I try to get the bass to come out and take the bait first. Then I go into the boat dock and try to catch the fish. Finally, I knock on his door by having my crankbait run into pilings, Click to enlargeledges or any other structure that goes from the surface to the bottom. When the lure hits the structure, it will stop and float up for an instant. The bass sees an easy lunch and attacks the bait.

The size or diameter of the line you tie your crankbait also affects the action of your bait. Big line reduces the action (wiggle), while Click to enlargesmall line increases the action. I have found that 10-pound-test Stren line performs best in most situations when working a crankbait. Some may think that 10-pound-test is too small and will not give you the strength you need to take a big bass out of heavy cover. But I have not found this to be true. Remember, to catch fish, you first have to get them to strike. If heavy line retards the performance of your lure, and the bass doesn’t strike, then you don’t need the added strength to land the fish. On the other hand, if 10-pound-test will permit maximum performance of your lure, and you get more strikes, you will soon learn to land these bass on lighter line. Given the option, I choose to try and land more fish on lighter line than to have fewer strikes because the heavy line reduces the action of my bait.

Crankbaits are effective tools for taking bass. They are easy to fish. However, to catch more bass, crankbaits they must be thrown close to and into cover. The baits will walk through tree tops and over sunken cover if fished properly. I catch more bass and have more fun since I’ve learned to fish crankbaits. You will too.

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 5