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Thread: trolling crankbaits for fish

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    Default trolling crankbaits for fish

    Two friends of mine I fish with have told me they use crankbaits trolling for bass and panfish. Up until yesterday I was skeptical until when on the way back to the dock my partner caught a bass and two crappie trolling a medium dive crankbait at #2 speed on the trolling motor. His rod was held high at 45 degrees so the lure couldn't go too deep and the rod was medium action. The depth averaged 10' or so and the bottom fairly smooth with a few small humps seen on sonar while he trolled down the middle of this narrow lake one mile across three miles long.


    The day was in the 60's, cloudy, windy at times (15 mph wind) and the water temperature 71 degrees and dropping due to nighttime temps dropping to 49 degrees. We are going into a fall pattern early that started over a week ago along with a drought that started in June. It's been a very weird year weatherwise!


    When that rod bent back I thought he snagged something until he started fighting a fish ! I own hundreds of crankbaits with different lip sizes and never thought to troll for fish - especially panfish ! Other than soft plastic design and testing different ones, I stopped using bass lures such as jigs/trailers, spinnerbaits, crankbaits, spoons, top water lures, etc. though I've done well on all of them at one time or other.


    Guess I'll have to concentrate on this this presentation when fishing is tough because my partner insists that he catches fish in the middle of a sunny day trolling crankbaits. He also said that when a fish is caught, he throws out a buoy marker and retrolls the area in the opposite direction after turning the boat around and at times stops the trolling motor casting back to the area in hopes a school is present and active. Man I love fishing schools - one after the other !!!


    Too bad his sonar is old and never shows fish - only the bottom and at depths that are inaccurate by a foot or more. I would have loved to have seen the fish the pontoon boat moved over before being caught with a 2 3/4" crankbait! I have a feeling that a gas engine would have spooked those fish and maybe prevented any strikes. Now the question remains : which crankbait to use !!???

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    More info than is imaginable ...
    https://www.crappie.com/crappie/miss...-cranks-101-a/

    Rickie
    www.podunkideas.com <--Click here
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    www.crappie-gills-n-more.com
    www.cornfieldcrappiegear.com
    ------------------------>> Pro Staff Sonar Advisor

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    Tru to mimic the shape of the lure to the shape and size of the bait in the lake. Another trick that I have used is keep trolling in the same direction. I found sometimes when fish stop biting they only want a lure moving one direction. I could troll north and south a catch fish. Turn around and go from south to north and nothing same spot. Turn around and go back over the same area and catch fish. Caught plenty of crappies using the gas motor trolling up to 2.4 mph. If fish are hungry they can ambush a bait moving fast. More of an instinct reflex. As your speed increase or decreases the action of the lure will change from a slow wobble to an eradict action. Let the fish decide how fast to troll.
    Likes Spoonminnow LIKED above post

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    Thanks for the insight ! It's opened up a new way to find and fish for fish that are in the middle of nowhere! Crankbaits won't be the only lure type I'll experiment with.

    One reply I got on another forum suggested that trolling is not really fishing. But when you think about it, isn't that what we do when retrieving lures past or over structure types except we're trolling a lure over a shorter distance to find fish that will bite? Besides, certain lures and presentations are usually retrieved at a constant speed, IE spinnerbaits, some surface lures, spinners, swimbaits, etc. which is similar to open water trolling is at a constant speed at a chosen depth, lure size and action. Should be interesting.
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    The more popular cranks work well, but even some not so well known cranks can produce. Size of the crank doesn't always seem to matter all that much, at times. I've caught "hand size" Crappie on Bandit 300's

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    Crankbaits do and will always catch crappie. Just don't be surprised when you catch a bunch of other species as well. And to your point, every moving presentation IS trolling. It's all a matter of perspective. And by the way, if you get into wind, why not just shut off the motor and drift? A 5 - 10 mph breeze will provide plenty of action on your crankbaits. And drifting is just as effective as motorized trolling, and much quieter. That being said, I do not believe motor sound is a turn off for fish, of any species. JMO.
    "A voyage in search of knowledge need never abandon the spirit of adventure."

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    I like to troll cranks. Excellent way to find fish and explore new water especially open water. Hot 'n Tots and shad raps were catching as many crappie as walleye for me but recently added Pico's, Bandits and Arkies. We are not limited to just trolling. Our methods are strictly based on weather wind and my wife's mood. She's da boss!

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    Pulling cranks is casting without having to chunk/wind .

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    if you get into wind, why not just shut off the motor and drift? A 5 - 10 mph breeze will provide plenty of action on your crankbaits
    Problem with a low drift speed is that a crankbait would have to have almost a neutral buoyancy - any floater would swim too close to the surface.
    Thanks all for more ideas and confirmation regarding fish and trolled crankbaits. Just seeing 2 decent crappies and a bass hit within 20 yds on a straight path was proof enough that when casting to areas isn't working, trolling may get it done!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Spoonminnow View Post
    Problem with a low drift speed is that a crankbait would have to have almost a neutral buoyancy - any floater would swim too close to the surface.
    That's why you mostly see crank Pushers using heavy weights & running the boat at 1.5 - 2mph !! Crank Pullers get their depth from excessive lengths of line out @ those relative speeds.
    I've successfully Pushed cranks @ 1mph with 1/2oz weights ... but, my success rate was far below those using heavier weights & greater speeds. But, that was when I was first starting out with cranks & jigs. Now I use 1oz weights in front of my jigs & have 2oz & 4oz weights for my cranks ... I just ain't had the opportunity to use my cranks. (I'm also hindered by a trolling motor that's only 12v & 42# thrust, so I'm not able to maintain the higher speeds for more than a few hours)

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