Lake Fork Fishing Tips
From Lake Fork Guides
Crank-Baits, When to Use ThemArticle: July, 2003
I get at least one question a month about when and where to use crank baits. The best time to use a crank bait is anytime. I know some northern states the water gets to cold but here in Texas you can throw a crank bait anytime. To start with seasons is probably the best way to get things going.
The deep winter is a good time to use a big crank bait like a thirty plus. This bait will really get down to the fish but will wear your arm and wrist out. This is a good bait to troll along bridges, roadbeds, and boat lanes. Chartreuse is a good color in the cold water here at Lake Fork. The fish are feeding on big gizzard shad and this is the bait to feed them. Work Main lake points with these big baits as the fish will be moving along the points to make their way back to the spawning areas. When the spawn starts smaller shallow running crank baits are the best baits. Shad or bream color baits are best this time of year. Any pattern that may represent a predator to the eggs or small fry. The One minus is a good bait all through the spring. The fish will move out after the spawn and will start to feed. Mid depth crank baits in shad patterns and bream or perch colors are good bets. These baits are easier thrown than the thirty plus size with rod and reel. Work points, tree lines and grass beds with the mid depth baits after the spawn. When the summer patterns begin the mid depth crank baits will catch the suspended fish. Using your trolling motor or your big motor to troll these baits over humps, roadbeds, and main lake points can be deadly.
The ever popular lipless crank bait is one of the most thrown baits year round. This bait can be fished out deep or shallow. Size can change on certain days. So try several colors and sizes. I have seen days where quarter ounce will out perform the larger sizes.
The key things are line sizes, rods and reels.
The line needs to be as light as possible. The smaller line will get the bait down to the proper depth. When trolling line size may not be as important because you can let out plenty of line and get the bait down to the fish or bottom. When casting the smaller weight line will get the bait down to its proper depth. You will need to cast the bait as for as you can and crank down fast to get the bait down then slow the retrieve and maintain a steady pull Sometimes a stop and go is better When fishing stumps and timber try to hit stumps or trees and let the bait stall after striking and object. This will cause the bait to float up some then crank it back down.
The reel can be a fast retrieve or a slow retrieve. I like fast retrieve reels as you can crank the bait down quickly then slow the retrieve and it takes less turn to make the bait stay down.
The rod is a very important part as a fiberglass rod will absorb most of the drag and be better on you personally. The rod will help to get the bait through structure. Plus when you get a strike the rod will absorb the hit and help you hook the fish. Some people like long crank bait rods up to eight foot. I like a six-six to seven foot rod. If you have any questions please email me and I will try and help.
Thanks and Good Fishing,
by EX Lake Fork Guide Jim