Most any fisherman that knows a thing or two about bass lures has at least heard of a crankbait before. They’re one of the lures that has been around for a long time but still works as good today as ever.
So I was surprised when people started asking me where they should be throwing crankbaits because they weren’t having any luck. If you’re in that boat and haven’t been able to get into crankbaits, then this article is exactly for you!
Below are 5 places that I look to throw crankbaits in any body of water. Plus, if you read on to the end, I’ll give you the secret to fishing any crankbait anywhere that is sure to get you more bites.
1. Offshore Rock Piles
Crankbaits shine in many locations, but there maybe isn’t a better one on this list than offshore rock piles.
In the heat of summer, bass love to go into 12 to 20 feet of water and sit on rock piles during the day when the sun beats down on the water. You can find big schools of bass sitting on just one rock pile. And usually, there are some big ones mixed in. .
Getting down to almost 20 feet of water can be really challenging with most baits. And other bottom fishing techniques like jigs or carolina rigs which get there more easily are problematic because they get stuck in rocks easily.
But get a big, deep diving crankbait like the Rapala DT20 and you’ll be in luck. It dives to 20 feet every cast and doesn’t easily get hung up in rocks as the lip will make it bounce off the rocks before getting stuck.
The best part is this erratic movement of bouncing off rocks is exactly what makes the bass bite so well. They will reactively strike it as soon as it bounces and you can catch fish after fish front the right rock piles.
The real reason I love fishing offshore rock piles is almost no other fisherman will even try to hit them. All of the non-professional anglers will be hitting the banks. That leaves rock piles with tons of fish on them all to you and your deep diving cranks.
2. Rip Rap or Rocky Banks
This is maybe the most popular place you’ll see most fisherman fishing crankbaits and for good reason. Crankbaits running down rip rap, rock banks is a great way to catch fish all year long.
Add some wind blowing onto the bank, which creates the “rip-rap” moniker, and you could be in a gold mine.
The wind pushes tons of small bait fish into the rocky banks where they will seek refuge against the water current. Bass will sit just below these baitfish on the rocks below waiting for the stray fish to come out for an easy meal.
The rocks provide a great dead end to chase the bait fish into. And they create an excellent opportunity to throw a crankbait and “bounce’ off the rocks to create reaction strikes.
So if you notice a good wind blowing on your lake and it has been for a day or two – try and find a rocky bank where the wind is blowing right against it. Chances are, there will be baitfish that have blown in there.
Line yourself up so that you’re casting parallel to the bank and just work a crankbait like a Berkley Squarebull a few feet from the bank. You should be just deep enough to bounce off the top or the rocks.
Or if you don’t get bites there, parallel the bank and go 10 to 20 feet from the bank and switch up to a medium diving crankbait like the Bandit 200. Sometimes bass are sitting just a little off the bank and a lot of fishermen miss them.
3. Shallow Brush and Stumps
One of the reasons people don’t like using crankbaits is because they have two treble hooks – which means they get hung up pretty easily. So when I tell fisherman to fish shallow brush and stumps with crankbaits they’re usually a little concerned.
But you’re leaving a lot of fish in the lake if you aren’t doing this. A lot of fisherman are throwing plastic worms and other more weedless lures in these locations. Switch it up with a crankbait and you’ll be catching fish other anglers just aren’t.
The key to not getting stuck is to allow the crankbait to deflect off big brush and avoid the limbs they more easily hook into. If you’re fishing stumps or big limbs, you won’t get hung up as much.
When reeling and you feel a bump, simply stop winding and let your crankbait lift over it. Most fisherman pull immediately, thinking they’ll quickly pull it out of danger. But they end up just putting it right into the brush instead!
The best crankbaits here are going to be shallow running crankbaits like the KVD 1.5 Squarebill. But since you can lose some crankbaits, going with a BPS Lazer Eye is a good choice too since they are half the price.
If you’re really concerned about losing crankbaits, you can also purchase this lure retriever which I would say gets a bait back about 50 percent of the time in my experience. Well worth the $13 if you lose a good lure.
4. Schools of Feeding Bass
The easiest way to catch fish on a crankbait is simply to find schools of feeding bass and throw right into the middle of them.
If you have never seen bass feed – it’s quite a sight. All of a sudden in the middle of the water, for no apparent reason, you’ll see bait fish just start jumping out of the water. And occasionally the roll of a bigger bass chasing them upwards.
Basically what’s happening is a big school of bait fish is sitting near the surface. Something has caused a school of bass to get into the area and start feeding aggressively. Usually, this is triggered by something – and seems random if you’re just watching from the boat.
But what’s important is there are maybe hundreds of bass swarming on the bait schools and feeding on whatever they can find. And the bait fish are swimming hard to get away.
Doesn’t it sound like a great place to just throw a crankbait in and lure a bass into biting? Your crankbait will mimic the baitfish but swim much more regularly – making it an easy meal.
Almost any crankbait will work for this – but I like using Rat-L-Traps because they’re heavy and can be cast a mile so you can chase the school as it moves around.
5. Submerged Grass and Weeds
Finally, a great place to catch bass all year long with crankbaits is around submerged grass and weedlines. But especially in the summer.
The reason this works so well in the summer is that the green grass or weeds will provide much needed oxygen for all fish species. As the sun warms the water, water loses its natural oxygen which makes it hard for fish to live in. But the grass emits oxygen during photosynthesis, making it a much more livable environment during the summer months.
Another reason bass in particular like grass and weeds all year long is because they provide cover to prey and chase on baitfish. So you’re getting the best of both worlds if you find a lot of green grass submerged below the water’s surface.
Get one of the shallowest running crankbaits you can find, something like a KVD 1.5 silent squarebill. You want to reel it just fast enough so that you are ticking the tops of the weeds or grass to get a bass’s attention.
You can’t let it get too deep, or the open treble hooks will have you catching grass all day long with no fish. So it’s a feel and art that you have to develop overtime.
But it can produce amazing results and is a great way to catch bass using crankbaits.
There are other places where crankbaits may work, but try one of these five under the right conditions and I’m sure that you’ll be catching bass in no time.
One final piece of advice no matter where you are fishing crankbaits – make sure they are bumping into things or hitting the bottom of the lake. Many people think that crankbaits are meant to be fished in open water. But look at the suggestions above – each one involved hitting the crankbait into rock, wood, or grass lines.
Hitting the crankbaits into these things and creating reaction strikes is what separates the normal fisherman from the great fisherman. So make sure anywhere you’re throwing your crankbait, you’re hitting it into things! It’s the secret to getting more bites.