Mike Frisch: Crankbait tips for fast summer bassin'
If you're in search of fast summer fishing action, you may want to consider tossing a crankbait for largemouth bass on the deep weedline.
Largemouth bass often roam weedlines in good numbers during the summer, and they are usually pretty easy to hook. Plus, not much fights harder than a summer largie!
Not only are bass numerous and fun to catch on the weedline, but you'll probably encounter some bonus pike, a walleye or two, and maybe even some big panfish when crankin' summer weedlines.
The deep, or outside, weedline as it is often called is usually located along drop-offs where shallow flats give way to deeper water. Weeds that grow up on the flat and down the edges eventually stop as water depths increase and lack of sun penetration prevents plant life. This edge is often referred to as the deep weedline. Lots of fish call weedlines home during summer and in some lakes a good portion of the largemouth population lives here now. A crankbait is a good lure to use while quickly moving down the weedline looking for schools of bass, and then is usually a great way to catch a bunch once a school is located.
Various crankbaits will put summer weedline bass in the boat. My favorites are the Pro-Model crankbaits from Strike King. These baits come in various sizes and diving depths to cover any water depth encountered. Plus, the baits are available in a bunch of colors that appeal to largemouth bass.
Many of the lakes I fish have deep weedlines in the 12-18-foot depth ranges and the Series 5 and Series 5XD work great in these depths. My favorite color patterns are neon bluegill and chartreuse perch, but as stated before, several colors will often produce.
Holding the boat out from the weedline and moving down paralleling the edge while casting inside and ahead of the boat works well. When a fish is hooked, several more can often be caught from the same area as these fish will school during summer.
The schools will sometimes hold on irregularities along the weedline, maybe points or turns, or maybe along a change in weed type. Regardless what holds them, a crankbait is a great way to quickly move down the weedline finding active schools.
Sometimes, it pays to switch to some sort of soft plastic to strain a productive area for a few more bites when the crankbait bite slows. However, it's often just as effective to move on down the weedline and find the next active school.
Crankbaits fished in this style often work well on baitcasting rods and reels that allow for long casts. Lew's offers several rod models designed specifically for crankbait fishing and also has several matching reels that do a great job for this fishing style.
Spooling reels with fluorocarbon line often works well when cranking, as well. Fluorocarbon sinks so it helps get a bait a bit deeper, plus it has good abrasion resistance for working along and through weeds. Fluorocarbon is nearly invisible under water and it has a bit less stretch than monofilament line, so it helps facilitate positive hooksets at the end of long casts. P-Line Tactical fluorocarbon in 12-pound test has helped put lots of crankbait bass in my boat the past couple summers.
Head to the weedline of your favorite lake, tie on a crankbait and start casting and you'll probably encounter some fast fishing action!
As always, good luck on the water and remember to include a youngster in your next outdoors adventure.
Mike Frisch is a western Minnesota fishing guide and co-host of the popular Fishing the Midwest TV series. Visit www.fishingthemidwest.com or follow Fishing the Midwest on Facebook for more "fishy" stuff.