With fall here, one of the main sources of food for bass right now are shad and other baitfish. The bass will follow the schools of and pick off the weak and dying ones.
The artificial bait that most resembles and imitates a live baitfish is a crank bait. The crank bait looks, acts and in some cases even taste and sounds like real baitfish. Crank baits have been around for as long as most anglers can remember. They come in every size, shape, color, action and design you can imagine. But this is all for very good reason, because if the right crank bait is fished at the right time by an experienced angler it is one of the best bass catching baits that you will ever fish.
Deciding what crank bait to fish in diff erent situations and at diff erent times can seem confusing, but you can use some basic rules of crank bait fishing to help you decide. You can look at what the bass are doing at the time you are fishing. For instance, right now the bass are moving up shallow and chasing small shad along the bank line and drop off areas. So you want to imitate all this action as closely as you can. You would want to fish a shad-colored bait that gives the action of an injured or dying baitfish. So just try to match your bait to the action the bass are showing by feeding on shad.
Crank baits come in three different running depths — shallow, medium and deep divers. Most crank baits have bills on the front. The bigger the bill the deeper the bait will dive and run. Some baits such as the Rat-L-Trap are a lipless crank bait and can be fished at almost any depth by using lighter or heavier line and by making longer or shorter cast and by reeling the bait slower or faster. These baits are very popular with crank bait fisherman.
When you see bass feeding on baitfish, just find a spot you want to fish with a crank bait and make a long cast past the point where you want to fish and work the bait back into the area. Work your retrieve with a series of jerks and twitches. This looks like a injured bait fish and will often draw a explosive strike. The use of a long rod made for crank bait fishing will greatly help you, because the rod will have a good back bone to help in setting the hook and pick up long lengths of slack line off the water. The rod should have a limber tip. This is very important because the limber tip allows the angler to make long casts by giving the bait a whipping action. A limber tip also makes it hard for a hooked bass to throw the hooks.
You may e-mail me at gabbysfi