Crankbait fishing for largemouth bass is a time-tested tactic. This tactic is a great way to quickly search for bass. Crankbaits cover a vast amount of water and allow you to target specific depth ranges with ease. Learn how to fish a crankbait for largemouth bass for an aggressive bite with these classic facts.
What is a Crankbait?
A crankbait is a lure with a plastic lip that dives underwater when it is reeled in. Crankbaits are used to target fish at specific depths. The length and angle of the plastic lip is what determines the depth that the bait can reach. Longer, less-angled, lips dive deeper than short, sharp-angled, lips. Crankbaits are fish catching machines because they can effectively cover water. Your goal is to cast and retrieve crankbaits across large areas of water to maximize your coverage. Cranks entice bites through a wiggling action that can mimic a baitfish, crawfish, or a fry game fish.
How to use Crankbait Lures for Bass
Crankbaits are great lures for targeting largemouth bass. Largemouth bass are typically spread out in shallower water, less than 30 feet. Casting a fast lure like a crankbait is an efficient way to target bass along these shallow areas. Crankbaits are grouped into four basic categories: squarebill/shallow diving (0’-8’), medium diving (8’-12’), deep diving (12’+), and lipless (varies). Choose a crankbait that fits your target depth range. Casting and steadily reeling is the basic premise of crankbait fishing. When you first learn how to fish a crankbait, start with a slow to medium retrieve, so your bait swims halfway down the water column. As you improve, variate your presentation. Try short pauses with quick cranks to mimic a wounded baitfish. Bump up against boulders, rocks, and timber to alert nearby bass with vibration. Experiment with speed, depth, and cadence until you find a productive pattern.
Best Bass Fishing Crankbaits
Cranks come in all colors, shapes, sizes and diving depths. However, there are two crankbait styles that we think are the best bass fishing lures. Interchanging the squarebill crankbait and the lipless crankbait allows you to target bass of all depths with virtually all presentations. Shallow cranking with a square bill and varying depth cranking with a lipless gives you the flexibility to cover lots of water on only two lures. Default to a color that matches the forage in your water body. Shad and crawfish are good colors that produce in almost every bass fishery.
A shad colored squarebill crankbait, like the one in our bass fishing kit, excels in water that is 10 feet deep or less. This is the most popular option for fishing ponds, off the dock, or along the shoreline. Squarebill style baits work well because thye typically run just above the weeds in average depths of 5 to 10-feet. This range is your average bass fishing scenario. Shallow water bass love shallow running squarebills because they match the baitfish and small panfish that inhabit the shoreline.
A lipless crankbait is one of the most versatile lures because you can fish it at any depth. The lipless crankbait is weighted and does not have a diving lip. These features give you the ability to control the cranks running depth with the speed of your retrieve. You can either retrieve it back at a constant speed for a wobbling presentation, or jig it with big swoops for a rattling presentation. A lipless crank can fast-retrieve just under the surface or yo-yo in 10-15 feet of water. The red craw colored lipless crankbait from our bass fishing kit is a great option for fishing deeper, rocky bottoms. Crawdads habit here so smallmouth bass congregate here as well. Slow roll a lipless crankbait around rocky points or rip it around sparse grass flats to entice largemouth bass.