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Publication: Bass Matters
Crankbait Tactics for Huge Pre-Spawn Bass

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><> ><>        BASS MATTERS - July 12, 2006          ><> ><> 

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Comment The Post Below...

Hello Anglers,

Small creeks tend to hold more big bass. This is because 
they receive little fishing pressure. Small creeks are 
usually fed by springs and they are really clear. With the 
clear water you will have to use natural colored lures. 
Try casting up stream and bring your lure back down stream 
and fish it around rocks and logs. Don't forget, because 
most of these streams are spring-fed they are cool, so if 
you get hot don't be afraid to jump in.

Remember you can comment on any story or read comments   
by visiting: Bass Matters Blog

Enjoy a week of fishing!
email Brock

Crankbait Tactics for Huge Pre-Spawn Bass
By Steve VonBrandt

One of the most effective ways to catch huge pre-spawn bass 
in lakes and rivers are lipless crankbaits. These baits are 
especially effective when the water temperature is between 
49 and 58 degrees, especially in stained or muddy water in 
lakes, ponds, and rivers. Some of the techniques outlined 
below will help you catch bigger bass all over the country 
in the early spring starting in March, and peaking in April.

There are a variety of lipless crankbaits on the market that 
catch bass, but in the spring, in most of the waters in the 
Northeast, the "Rat-L-Trap" by Bill Lewis Lures, the 
"Rattlin' Rapala," and the "Viva Vibe," are some of the best. 
All lipless crankbaits have a different sound. Some are much 
louder than others, and will produce when some other quieter
baits won't. At other times, the quieter rattling baits will 
produce more. You just have to experiment with several baits 
until you find the ones that are producing best in the 
particular body of water you're fishing. Sometimes the same
baits, in the same size, by the same company, make slightly 
different sounds that can be better than the other. 

Experimentation is the only way to find which bait works the 
best. Some baits won't run as true at different speeds, and 
they turn sideways a little more than others, so you just 
have to watch them in the water, and find the best ones. 
The hooks should always be changed to a premium hook system 
such as "Gamakatsu" or "Owner" or "Eagle Claw" Premium. 
There are many other great hooks, but I prefer these. Most 
of your lipless crankbaits should be used in a 1/4 to 1/2 
ounce size, but recently, bigger bass in the Northeast and 
in Florida have hit the bigger Slat Water Traps in the 3/4 
to 1 ounce sizes.

The best colors for the spring, especially if you have a lot 
of Crawfish in the lake, are red, red/orange, and brownish/
orange. Some have spots on them and these are very effective. 
The standard Chrome, and Chrome with a blue back, and Chrome 
and Red, have worked especially well for the larger bass. If 
the water is extremely stained to muddy, we found that the 
red, and the chartreuse/brown combinations work well in this 
kind of situation also. 

If you have a lot of bluegill in the area, and less crawfish 
or shad, then the bluegill/Suncracker patterns work very 
well. The primary forage in the lakes are the best patterns, 
unless you know that many anglers are aware of this, and are 
using these colors also. Then switching to unconventional 
patterns can fool some of the wary bigger bass.


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Most people just cast the baits out and reel them straight 
in. While this will always catch some bass, there are more 
specialized methods that trigger strikes from the bigger 
bass. Cast the Rat-L-Traps out, and depending on the depth 
of the water, count them down to the level of the fish 
before starting the retrieve, and if it is a sandy and/or 
gravel/rocky type of bottom, let them sink to the bottom, 
then slowly raise the tip of the rod till you feel the lure 
vibrating, reeling the slack up a little, then lower the 
rod tip, and do it again. 

Many times they will hit as it is on the bottom, and first 
starts to be lifted up. If these techniques don't work in a 
few hours, use a slight pumping action of the rod as you 
reel, keeping contact with the bait. If it hits a rock, 
weeds, or other structure, hesitate a second, and then rip 
it off quickly, and reel it in with a steady retrieve. You 
can also yo-yo the bait similar to a spoon or spinnerbait 
in deeper water near points and drop-offs, which can be 
extremely effective in colder water or on inactive fish 
that are suspended. 

Most of the time in water below 58 degrees they hit very 
mushy, like grass or leaves, but most of the time it is a 
bass. As they get close to the boat they will see you and 
make a dash for the trolling motor, and down to deeper water, 
sometimes even breaking the surface to throw the lure. The 
bass have to played very carefully as lipless crankbaits 
come out of the bass's mouth much more easily than you might 
imagine. Most of the bass will be in the shallower water off 
the flats, near deeper water, rip-raps, if available, or any 
place where there is baitfish and or cover near the North 
shore or bay, close to food sources, near where they are 
going to spawn.

I like to use sinning gear for the smaller 1/4 ounce baits, 
and I use baitcast gear for the larger 3/4 to 1 1/2 ounce 
baits. I usually use a 7 foot spinning rod in medium action 
so as not to pull the bait from their mouths, usually a S-
Glass rod, or a "G.Loomis cranking rod. In the baitcasters, 
I use a 7 foot, medium to med/heavy rod, with a high speed 
reel, but many people prefer a good reel in a 5:0:1 or 5:3:1 
gear ratio. I always use "Spiderline" super mono in 10-12 
pound test, but 8 pound test is preferred by many. 

Stren is also a good line for this. Fan cast the baits in as 
many directions as possible in the prime areas such as the 
mouths of the back bays with creeks, where grasses and rip-
rap, are on a harder bottom, and you will start picking up 
some of these monsters this spring. A good scent on the 
baits, such "Yum" in Crawfish scent, can't hurt either. 
Whether it triggers more strikes is debatable, but at the 
very least, it masks any human scent on your hands.

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        GopherCentral's Question of the Week
Do you believe that North Korea's missile launches are a 
threat to the US?

Question of the Week

                  FISHING JOKES CORNER

A local fisherman is returning from a fishing trip with 6 
large size salmon in his creel. Nosy Parker comes along and 
asks if the man been fishing. "Yes!" replied the stalwart. 
Asked what bait he had been using our hero replied that he 
had used chewing tobacco. Parker asked how one used chewing 
tobacco as bait, and the fisherman replied, "I put the 
tobacco on the hook in the normal way, cast in the normal 
way and when the fish strikes I haul back on the line to 
hook it. When the fish comes up to spit, I hit it on the 
head with the butt of my rod!

Questions? Comments? email: Email brock
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