With the bass spawn wrapping up and fish transitioning from their shallow bedding areas to deeper water, crankbaits are about to become more important parts of anglers’ arsenals.
Getting the most out of these incredibly effective lures is all about paying attention to the details, a bass-fishing legend said.
Texas Bassmaster Elite Series pro Gary Klein said he wants his cranks to run true, not kick off to one side or the other. There are two ways to accomplish this, he said.
First, you can bend the pull point. Or you can shave the lip to manipulate how water peels off.
“You want to have even water flow on each side of the pull point,” he explained.
Of course, it’s hard to shave a lure’s lip on the water, so adjusting the pull point is probably best in most situations.
“You can take a pair of needle-nose pliers, and tweak it,” Klein said. “If a lure is running to the left, you want to bend the pull point to the right.”
Just a small amount of bend is needed.
“It takes very little muscle to bend the eye,” he said. “Then you throw it out and test it.”
Altering the flow of water off a lure’s lip requires a knife or file to slowly remove plastic from the side of the lip that is digging in to equalize the flow of water. In contrast to the eye-bending approach, the lip on the same side that the lure is running off center is where trimming should occur.
Klein also uses golfers lead tape to push lures deeper than they’re designed to run, or to change a lure’s attitude as it runs through the water. The latter can be an effective way to reduce hang-ups when dragging crankbaits through cover.
“You want to put the lead between the front hook hanger and the pull point,” Klein said. “I try to centerline the weight with the pull point so the action doesn’t change.”
Exactly where to place it along this line depends upon how much angle he wants to have on a bait: farther toward the pull point pushes the front of the bait down more sharply, while moving it toward the front hook hanger results in more subtle changes.
Lead also allows for greater casting distances, which means more depth.
The pro also said he changes out any crankbait hook that isn’t Gamakatsu.
“If I get around fish that are really aggressive, I’ll go with Gamakatsu EWG hooks,” he said. “If I get fish that are nipping at the baits, I’ll use round-bend hooks.
“I feel I just have a better chance of getting a point in that fish with round-bend hooks.”
Regularly checks for hook sharpness also is important, he said.
“You can bone a fish and round that tip,” Klein pointed out. “You have to pay attention to detail: It only takes a second to run your finger over a hook.”