A Deadly Bassing System - Crank ‘Em Up with Cliff Craft
Stumps and Logs
Editor’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.
One of the reasons I like to fish a crankbait is that a bass doesn’t have to be hungry to hit the lure. I believe that you get more reaction strikes to a crankbait than you do feeding strikes. Some people think that all one has to do to catch a bass on a crankbait is throw it out and wind it in to the boat. And, basically this assumption is true. But the important factor for success with a crankbait is where you throw the bait and how you wind it. Bait placement is critical to the crankbait’s ability to catch fish.
The color of lures I use is dependent on the depth of water I plan to fish. I prefer natural-looking colors for shallow-running crankbaits that retrieve just below the surface. I believe when a bass has a lot of time to sit and study a bait, the fish is more likely to strike a natural-finish bait before it will strike a bait with bright, contrasting colors. With a shallow-running crankbait, bass often will follow the lure and look it over before they strike. The only thing I want a bass to see that is not natural is the hooks, and I haven’t figured out yet how to hide them. But for medium-to-deep-diving lures, I prefer high-contrast, bright colors like chartreuse or yellow. Once again, I am trying to get a reaction strike. I want a bait that the bass can see quickly, and one it will react to instinctively.
A shallow-water crankbait is my favorite lure for stumps and logs because often the fish will not be too far below the surface. I like floater/diver type crankbaits like those from Mann’s or the Bagley Kill’r B, Balsa B or a lure for fishing visual structure. My first cast will be 3-1/2- to 5-feet on either side of the log to try to draw the bass away from the structure. If you can get a bass to come out and take the bait, you won’t have to wrestle it through the structure and risk losing it. Simply wind the bait back to the boat. If the bass is hungry, it will take the bait anyway. So you don’t have to do anything fancy.
Tomorrow: Deadly Retrieves Near Stumps, Logs and Boulders