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Publication: Bass Matters
Deep Water Cranking

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><> ><>        BASS MATTERS - August 23, 2006        ><> ><> 

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Hello Anglers,

In lakes with grass, unless the grass is heavily matted, a 
very small weight will work much better than a heavy weight 
so that the bait can be worked more naturally through the 
grass.  As a general rule start with a light weight that 
allows you the control you need for the conditions and only 
go heavier if you move deeper or the wind gets up. A slow 
presentation is of utmost importance in worm fishing and the 
lighter weight will force you to slow down in order to main-
tain bottom contact and keep the worm in the strike zone.

P.S. You can discuss this issue or any other topic in the new 
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Enjoy a week of fishing!
email Brock

Deep Water Cranking
by Mike Iaconelli

The first time I saw the potential of deep water cranking 
was at a 1993 BASS Top 100 tournament, where I got drawn to 
fish as an amateur. On the third day of the tournament I was 
paired with David Fritts.

That day we fished the ends of slow tapering points in about 
15 feet of water. He was throwing a crankbait and I choose 
to throw a Carolina rig. And although we were both throwing 
"search" type baits, he consistently drew more strikes. It 
was then I saw the true quality of deep-cranking. He was 
able to effectively search deep water and elicit a deflect-
ion or reaction bite at the same time.

I consider deep-water cranking to be anything deeper than 10 
feet. My most normal range for deep-cranking would be any-
where from 12- to 20-feet. Getting deeper than 20 gets to be 
a chore. The reason this technique is so good is simple. It 
is under utilized. Just not that many people feel comfort-
able throwing a diving plug in water deeper than 10 feet.

One of the biggest mental concepts that I came up with to 
help me get over that "deep" mental block is to compare the 
bottom depth with the length of my boat. When you fishing a 
breakline in 18 feet of water, look back at your boat. Most 
bass boats are about 18 feet long. That's really not that 
deep. It helps put your fishing into perspective.

A Search Tool 
After that day with Fritts, I began to take notice of the 
deep diving crankbait as a search tool. It allows you to 
cover vast amounts of water and gives you the ability to 
read the bottom. That's key.

With a crankbait hitting the bottom I can feel where a mud 
bottom turns to rock or can bump that lone brush pile on the 
end of a point. Your crank bait is acting not only as a fish 
catcher, but also as a depth and bottom type finder. Using 
a deep diving crankbait in conjunction with your electronics 
helps you find those real isolated hot spots.

The Deflection Factor
Just as in shallow water cranking, the deflection factor is 
key in catching about 90% of the fish. With the exception of 
cranking through suspended fish, your crankbait must change 
direction or speed to elicit a strike. On every cast I make 
a conscious effort to cause that bait to change direction 

The most obvious way is to bounce off some form of cover. 
The ability for a crankbait to crash and bounce off of cover 
and to trigger that inactive, reaction type strike is uncan-
ny. Even when the bait is running in open water or hitting 
clean bottom areas, I use techniques to cause that bait to 
change movement. Changing speeds is my biggest method. Also 
throwing a jerk or pause into the retrieve will have the 
same effect.

Line Size and Long Casts
The use of line size and casting distance are two of the 
most important factors in deep-cranking. On average, expect 
about a foot and a half depth change with every line size 
change. The heavier the line, the shallower the crankbait 
will run. The lighter the line the deeper the crankbait will 


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Knowing this you can use line size to determine and fine-
tune the running depth of your baits. Lighter line like 8-10 
pound test can help a bait achieve maximum death.

Casting length also helps achieve maximum running depth of 
a crankbait. When deep-cranking, I always try to make the 
longest possible cast. But I always keep a reference on 
where I want that bait to hit. I try and keep my designated 
target a little less than half way back to the boat. This 
means you should always over-shoot your intended target when

Rod Positioning
This is also a critical factor in achieving a desired depth. 
The lower the position of the rod, the deeper a crankbait 
will ride. The higher the rod tip, the shallower it will 

In general when deep-cranking I try and keep a low angle of 
the rod tip in about the 4 or 5 o 'clock position. It's 
almost like you're going to lean the rod on your leg. 
Besides gaining maximum depth, this low rod position will 
aid in the slight delay in hook-set needed with crankbaits.

When anything out of the ordinary is detected (pressure, 
line goes slack, stop feeling the vibration) I either start 
to sweep up or to the side. If it is indeed a fish I 
continue through with the sweep motion. If it's not a fish 
and is just say a stump, then I bring the rod immediately 
back down to it's original position.

As the crankbait gets closer to the boat I will begin to 
slowly raise my rod tip until the bait is directly under the 
boat and the rod is in the 3 o'clock position.

Use rod positioning to your advantage. Play with the 
positioning of you rod to achieve the perfect running depth. 
Also for extremely depth conditions consider the kneel and 
reel technique. It really does work!

Retrieve Speed
This really depends upon the conditions. But as a general 
rule I use a medium-fast retrieve until the bait has hit 
it's desired depth zone. I then bump down to a straight 
medium retrieve, occasionally slowing the bait down if I 
come in contact with cover.

More than anything let the water temperature and activity 
mood of the fish determine your retrieve speed. (colder/less 
active= slower, warmer,more active=faster).

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Questions? Comments? email: Email brock
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