Crankbaits – Deep Cranking Simplified

Late Summer Bassin Texas Style
August 26, 2016
Topwaters Texas Style
September 7, 2016

My last blog listed 5 techniques for catching summer bass in the dog days of summer here in Texas.  I am going to be breaking down each of these for a more in depth look into each of these.  Today, we are going to be going all in to Deep Crankbaits.


  • Mega Deep Divers- 6th Sense 500DD Crush, Strike King 10XD, Z Boss 20 and Lucky Craft SKT Magnum.

These baits are all capable of reaching depths of over 20+ feet deep.


  • Deep Divers- 6th Sense 300DD Crush, Strike King 6 XD, Rapala DT 16, Norman DD 22, Luhr Jensen Hot Lips

These baits are all capable of reaching 16 foot or deeper.

Now, there are many factors to consider when choosing a crankbait and where to throw it, as well as the tackle to throw them with.

  • Line Size & Type- Most diving depths you see printed on a crankbait package are listed for 10lb test. Very few of us are going to throw any of the baits mentioned above on 10lb test.  So you will more than likely be using 12-17lb test depending on the cover and water clarity.  The bigger your line, the shallower your bait will run and more abrasion resistant it will be.  For instance, if I want to throw a 10xd that mimics bluegill in 14 foot of water, I would opt for 20lb line to keep it up slightly higher, unless the water was gin clear, then I would use 17 or 15.
  • Fishing Line- I only use 100% Fluorocarbon line for all my deep cranking. It doesn’t matter if I am at Falcon, Fork or Toledo Bend I always use fluorocarbon.  It is virtually invisible, has very little stretch.  Just make sure to check your line often for knicks and frays at least a yard up the line.
  • Casting Distance- This is one of the most important factors in getting your bait as deep as possible. Crankbaits don’t instantly dive to 20 feet as some people think they do.  It takes the bait a while and you need to cast past your intended target to ensure your bait will be in the strike zone when your bait reaches the desired depth.  Rod length is the easiest way to add distance to your cast.  Most rod manufactures produce extra long rods just for deep cranks such as the IROD 7’11” Crank Launcher and Duckett 7’11” Crankin Rod.   You will learn to slingshot your bait and not try and muscle it out there all day, or your back and arms will be aching from casting and cranking these baits in the heat.
  • Sharp-Hooksx1200Hooks- You often hear the pros talking about changing the factory hooks on these baits. They are fishing at a totally different level than 99% of us.  They are fishing for a living and to put food on the table.  I show a pic of a factory 6th Sense crankbait hanging on my thumbnail sideways.  This is a pretty easy way to see if your hooks are sharp.  If I do replace my hooks, I will typically switch to a #2 short shank on the front and a #2 long shank on the back.  I do this when I am fishing HEAVY timber.  It seems to lower my snags and still catch fish.
  • Retrieves- You will hear tons of different retrieves for crankbaits, from stop and go to turn and burn. I like to reel the bait fast at first to get it down quickly, then slow to a moderate retrieve, UNTIL I hit something.  When I hit a stump, rock pile or brush I stop the bait dead and let it sit for a second or so.  Then I start reeling fast for a second or two.  This is when most of my bites will come and are usually violent strikes.  Other days a steady retrieve is best, or a pump and pause retrieve.  Experiment to see what they like on a given day.
  • Plug Knocker- If you are going to be throwing a $15 bait all day in the junk, you had better invest in a plug knocker. This is a must have for a deep cranker, because if you aren’t getting hung, you aren’t where most of the fish are.  I watched Keith Combs at the TTBC on Fork use his 10 times a day, that equates to $150 in savings just on crankbaits.

I hope these tips will help you to catch more bass this summer and be looking for the next blog when I will go over Topwaters in depth.

Story by Byron Smith


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