Bass, Cranks and Banks

Daniel C. Nielsen   Sunday, July 31, 2005 9:03 PM

Aquatic vegetation. Its either feast or famine for most Bass anglers when it comes to fishing weeds. Let's face it, there are not very many things an angler likes to do less than picking clumps of weeds off of an artificial lure. But you know there are fish in there. How to get to them effectively?

Well first, you should analyze the weed types. The two most common weeds are hydrilla and milfoil.What you need to do is locate a good milfoil bed. Hydrilla grows off the bottom in vertical walls, whereas milfoil gradually tapers with the bottom contours of the body of water you are fishing. Not all milfoil is going to hold bass. There are only certain "draw" areas that will key fish.

Looking over an area acres wide and trying to pick out where the bass are going to be can be intimidating. A boat with a good quality depthfinder is imperitive to locating the weedline edges. Hold just slightly back from the last remnants of the weeds before they meet open water and cast towards the bank with a crankbait with a wide wobble. The wide wobble will draw more strikes in warmer water periods than most slimmer, tighter running cranks. By casting to the shore with a crankbait, the angler can just tip the weedline as the lure digs for depth.

Hangups will occur, but in this case, they can be rewarded with nice fish. Pause a second after the hangup, then snap the lure from the brittle grass with a sharp flick of the wrist. This accomplishes a few things. 1:It breaks the lure free with a darting action 2:If any bass are following the lure, the darting action imitates a fleeing baitfish and bass strike instinctively Keep casts short. No more than 25 yards. Always maintain a constant mental awareness of depth. This is the most critical element of this technique. If you are just nipping the tips of the grass, then make a cast and the lure buries itself in grass, it is a indication of depth change and the area should be fished thouroughly. This is a weedline "draw", meaning a key staging area for bass. Most professionals use line diameter to control the depth of the lure, but for the everyday fisherman, a few lures of the same pattern in slightly different sizes should do the trick. Anglers should gradually bring the rod tip down towards the water as the lure gets closer so they can achieve a maximum depth.

Typical equipments includes a medium light action, and a low geared ratio on your reel of choice., normally around 5:1. But what about the shorebound fisherman? How can he benefit from this technique? Using waders to get out a little way into the vegetation, shoreline anglers can cast in diagonal directions to the weedline and bring the crankbait back gradually slower as the taper of the weedline increases . granted, it can be done, but it is even more work and if a lure gets hung up, the risk of getting it free are lessened with the increased taper. (It is easier going down a hill than coming back up)

If an angler keeps a focused sense of awareness on how and where his lure is running, he can get this technique to work from shore. This technique will work on active and inactive fish, just because of the triggering effect the crank has in the grass when it gets hung up. After doing some research, I have found a similar approach for walleyes called snap jigging. The same principals, different lure. However the crank will cover more water more effectively than a jig. A note here. Most of the time, the actual hangup with the crankbait will be with the bill itself and not with the hooks, depending on the length of the grass Keep those lines wet.

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