This unusually mild weather the past few weeks has really cooled the water temperatures down several degrees, causing bass to move shallow.
When bass are in shallow waters they become more active and will move around and follow baitfi sh schools and chase bait to feed. The crank bait is a great choice to fish for bass when they are shallow and active. It resembles a swimming or injured baitfish and looks like an easy meal for a hungry bass.
Any time bass are following a school of baitfish they will look for and pick off the weak and dying shad that drift off from the school. This is what makes a crank bait such a great bait to use this time of year. These baits will cover a lot of water quickly and will find areas with active feeding bass.
The crank bait comes in three basic styles — a shallow runner, a medium runner and the deep diver. All of these baits have a time and place where they work best, but right now the shallow running baits are the best choice while the bass are active shallow.
As for color and pattern choices, I would mainly stick to natural looking baits with a shad or bluegill color pattern. Baits with rattles work well in stained and off-colored water and in low light conditions early and late. The rattling sound helps bass to locate the bait by sound and vibration.
It is best to use a long limber tip rod with a good backbone and a bait-cast reel with line in the 8- to 12-pound test range in most cases.
When fishing a bank, make a long cast and work the bait back and feel for a strike or tug on the line. Most of the time bass will hook themselves and you just need to keep pressure on the rod.
Crank baits provide a very good way to catch bass when the are shallow and active.