Cliff Crochet’s versatile bass bait

Crochet grips the lip of a sizable bass he caught while fishing Jan. 13 along Bayou Cheramie near Grassy Lake. (Photo by Don Shoopman)

When Cliff “Cajun Baby” Crochet takes a soft-plastic stickbait-style worm out for a spin, it’s all about the spin.

Crochet, a pro bass fisherman from Pierre Part, attaches a Humdinger Power Spinner, designed by Keith Poche, to a Set the Hook Spike, marketed by American Baitworks Co. The Spike can be fished other ways but adding the small screw-lock spinner blade gives it a little flash.

Crochet demonstrated how to fish the Spike on a cold, mid-January day in south Louisiana. He launched at Doiron’s Landing to sample the waters he fished since he was a boy growing up.

After a short ride to the Bayou Cheramie area near Grassy Lake, Crochet went to work with the hand-poured Spike, which has a soft, tapered body that shimmies as it falls. Besides adding a spinner, Spikes can be fished wacky style or on a drop-shot, he advised.

His descriptions for one of his go-to artificial lures all end in “est.”

“That Senko is the stupidest, simplest and best bait in the world,” he said, adding with a smile, “I’ve got a lot of bests, a lot of favorites.”

Bass pro Cliff Crochet adjusts the Spike, a soft-plastic, stickbait-style worm. Crochet uses it year-round but especially likes to throw it during the prespawn and spawn. (Photo by Don Shoopman)

He pointed out the trend in the bass fishing world to follow labels, such as Senkos, Rat-L-Traps, Chatterbaits and Lunker Lures. There are many other soft-plastic stickbait worms, lipless crankbaits, bladed jigs and buzzbaits.

The set-up

Crochet bit off about ¼-inch off the tail end of a 5-inch black/blue Spike, then screwed in the gold hammered Colorado Power Spinner. He fished the soft plastic Texas-rigged and weightless with regular baitcasting equipment and targeted cypress trees and deadfalls in 1- to 3-foot depths.

He had a 4/0 EWG hook imbedded in the Spike, tied on with 20-pound Seaguar InvizX fluorocarbon line.

“It’s finesse but you’re still fishing big. That’s bubba-size, but you can still downsize everything to make it more finesse. I’ve done that in different parts of the country, but I don’t have to down here,” Crochet said as he cast and slowly pumped the 7-foot-3 KastKing Spirale rod with a KastKing Bassinator Elite.

“I worm it real slow,” he said. “To me, I feel like the less you do with it, the better. The deal is, when you drop it, it quivers. That’s when you talk to them.”

The spinner triggers bass bites any time of the year. Action gets better and better as January turns to February, then March, he knows from experience.

“Why I think that works, that Colorado blade when I’m worming, when I pull the bait in, the blade thumps, thumps. Imagine a crawfish on the bottom with its tail. You can imagine the crawfish scooting along the bottom when you pick that bait up,” he said.

The proof is in the pudding

Five minutes after he started throwing it, a 10-inch bass bit near the base of a cypress tree and was reeled in, then released. Crochet caught another bass on it a little later. He had two other half-hearted bites in the 50-degree water.

His friend, Poche, capitalized on the spinner in the 2012 Bassmaster Classic on the Red River out of Shreveport, finishing third with 45 pounds, 15 ounces, worth $42,500.

“Keith did real well with it at the Classic. It came out and kind of ran its course with some people, but I still throw it a bunch,” Crochet said.

About Don Shoopman 519 Articles
Don Shoopman fishes for freshwater and saltwater species mostly in and around the Atchafalaya Basin and Vermilion Bay. He moved to the Sportsman’s Paradise in 1976, and he and his wife June live in New Iberia. They have two grown sons.

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