Crankbait Fishing 411
Updated: Jun 24, 2020
It's that time of year. The spawn is long over, water temps are warming and the walleyes are putting on the feed bag. It's a great time of year to be on the water. Warmer temps means more boat traffic and hot fishing.
This time of year I love to put the jigging rod away and pull out my cranking rods. For me, it's my favorite way to fish. My local body of water is huge!!!! It has more shoreline than the entire west coast of the U.S. Many times the walleye get very spread out and you can find them in different depths, located on different structures, and spread out over long expanses of the shoreline. For this reason, I love to tie on a crank.
For today, lets discuss what is needed. Now many people know the importance of sensitivity in your rod for jigging, but with running cranks it's the opposite. Your reel is more important than the rod. If you are on a budget, spend your money on the reel. Lots of great models out there. I myself have been running the Okuma cold water series now for 4 seasons and really like them. The most important thing is find one with a good line counter, and drag setting. That line counter will be your best friend when you get on the bite and want to keep all your baits in the strike zone.
After you have chosen your reel, look for a rod with a moderate action that is set up for crank bait fishing. A good rod will have fiberglass in it. I have been running the Scheels Outfitters Xtreme Trolling Series rods. I have two in 8'6" and two 5'. Both sizes allow me to fish most trolling applications with ease. As long as your rod has a moderate action and some good give for shock absorption you should be covered.
Now that you have rod an reel, you need to put line on it. Lets start with my basic set up. For my flat lining trolling, I use 10/4 fireline. It's no stretch properties really allow you to see some vibration in the rod tip and any lack of vibration means you probably have a fouled up bait with weeds. Also, because the line is so thin, it really lets those cranks dive to their full depth potential. I have also noticed that it really holds up well to abrasion. When I am running fireline, I don't ever tie on a fluorocarbon or monofilament leader. Just tie your line to a good crank bait snap and you are ready to go. For the snaps, I find try to match them to the crank bait, it helps your baits run true. For #5 flicker shads, shad raps or the like, use a small crank snap and go bigger with the bigger the crank. Remember, those small cranks don't have that large bill on front and a large snap can create problems for the small cranks and will lead to them getting tangled in your other lines or not diving to the depth you think they should.
Now that you are set up, it's time to discuss tactics, but that's another day and another blog.
This big girl below was fooled by a Reef Runner Rip Shad in 25 feet of water.