Shallow water cranking is an effective fall technique. As the water cools the surface swarms with schools of bait fish. Working crankbaits just under the forage fish on the surface produces action from the predator fish preying upon them.

A blue September sky and relatively clear water sends anglers in search of darker water. Easing a boat into shallow coves allows for the use of crankbaits. If the water is slightly stained and there is a lot of wood to be found so much the better.

Cast crankbaits beyond submerged trees and brush. Then slowly twitch them into position on the edges of the wood. Letting it sit still for a minute entices wary fish that cannot help but attack this invader of their space.

Start cranking with small light colored lures. Color is less important than size. By beginning with small white, green or chartreuse colors you locate the fish. Then change to the larger crankbaits. The larger crankbaits take any size fish. Smaller lures tend not to attract many large fish.

A crankbait’s running depth is affected by the length of a cast, line diameter and the design of the lure. Do not just cast and crank casually retrieved. Change the speed allowing the fish to react to it. The depth a bait will run is marked on the package by manufacturers.

Once out of the package a marker pen can be used to write the running depth on the bill of the lure for future reference. A shallow running crankbait will run 3 to 4 feet down and is used to fish over the top of weeds or in shallow water. Deep running crankbaits run 8 to 10 feet down and are used in dirty/deep water.

Anglers count on a bait with a larger lip running deeper than one with a less prominent lip. It is possible to trim the lip on a deep diving crankbait to find a depth to make it run just right for the fish present. In this way you have a lure that will run between the zones of the traditional shallow running or deep running baits.

Another way to vary the running depth of a crankbait is to add weight inside the body of the lure. The more weight added makes the lure suspend or run deeper.

Colors are the preference of the angler. Subtle colors seem to work best in clean water. Bright colors are preferred for dirty or stained water.

The most important factor is having the lure in the fish’s strike zone. Lure speed has been found to not significantly effect the depth at which it runs. In fact some lures actually run shallower at faster speeds. Be consistent and learn from experience just how deep the lure is running.

Line diameter does affect the running depth. For each two pounds of line weight subtract about one foot from the lure’s depth.

Crankbaits are great tools for covering a lot of water and finding fish. By finding a good pattern, knowing the lure color to use and the right cover to fish, a fisherman covers more water with a crankbait than any other type of lure.


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  1. Pingback: GET CRANKY WITH CRANKBAITS IN FALL | AverageOutdoorsman

  2. Pingback: GET CRANKY WITH CRANKBAITS | AverageOutdoorsman

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