As we transition from the fall bite to the winter bite there are some key beliefs that I have about catching fish on crank baits in the winter; here are my keys to winter cranking. First and foremost I believe that the slower the metabolism of the bass the more they like a tight-wobble in the crank bait. So as the water temperature falls into the 50’s the type of crank bait you fish with becomes the key to catching fish with crank bait.
If you examine crank baits you will find that many of the crank baits have a different angle in which the bill protrudes out from the body of the bait. The steeper the angle of the bill the more wobble a crank bait has, so look for a crank bait that the bill is more of a straight line off the body like the SPRO Little John series crank baits. The angle off the bill is just at a slight angle downward allowing the bait to move side to side with a tight wobble.
It is also important that you understand in the winter time what the fish are keying on as far as structure and bait as your presentation can be a big factor in catching fish. I look for steep yet gradual drops that allow you to fish the different depths off the drops as sometimes the fish may be in the first 7 to 8 ft of depth or down deeper and finding the correct depth can be key to catching fish. You do this with boat position, if you position your boat at about a 20 degree angle with the point drop or bank your fishing, you can fan cast the area until you find the depth the bass at holding on. This allows you to position your boat for the next cast and be in the strike zone once you have determined where they are at. Once you’ve determined their depth and position you turn from fishing to catching and the fun starts.
It should also be said that equipment can be key, fish with a medium cranking rod and a slower retrieve reel so you’re getting the best action and retrieve speed from your equipment.
To fish with Captain Mike Gerry on Lake Guntersville, AL visit: fishlakeguntersvilleguideservice.com