Crankbaits work to bring in bass

OUTDOORS

January 23, 1994|By LONNY WEAVER

One of the best lures to call on when you want to collect a stringer of Liberty, Piney Run, Potomac or Carroll farm pond bass is the crankbait.

"It's always one of my top lures, regardless of the time of year or location of the water," bass pro Paul Elias said.

Elias recommends carrying at least three.

"I want lures that dive to about 5 feet, then one that works at around 10 feet and finally, a deep diver that digs down to 15 feet or more," he said.

Nearly all manufacturers put depth information on their crankbait packages, but keep in mind that running depth can vary as much as 2 feet, depending on line size and the length of the cast.

"It's important to be able to cover different depth ranges so that you can hit bottom. Most experienced crankbaiters think that the lure is not effective unless it is banging into something," Elias said. "I go along with this line of thought and believe that if my lure isn't doing that then I need to snap on a deeper diver.

"Deep-running crankbaits imitate bait fish, so it's important to have several sizes in the tackle box. Also, one of the most popular techniques found on the pro tour these days is using deep- and medium-running lures along shallow shorelines and points. In these instances, the lure really digs up the bottom and imitates a crawfish more so than, say, a shad."

In crankbait design, the lure's lip controls the depth the lure reaches. The longer the lip, the deeper it runs. The lip design also determines the lure's wobble-like action. The more the lip slants, the wider the wobble.

"Another thing to remember is that while light line allows crank baits to run deeper, heavier line helps keep them shallow," Elias said. "That's why when I'm working around shallow cover or over grass [typical of tidal Potomac], I usually change from 12-pound test to 20- or even 25-pound test. The added resistance helps keep the bait from digging too deeply."

Generally, wood crankbaits produce better side wobble, but plastic produces better sound. I've been switching to cedar these past few years and Elias endorses that decision.

"Cedar crankbaits have an almost neutral buoyancy. They stay pretty much at the same depth when the retrieve is stopped, which makes them a better choice for stop and go fishing around brush," he said.

"On the other hand, plastic gets the nod when I'm fishing around points, along riprap rocks or over fairly clear knolls and underwater bars."

Muzzleloader numbers up

Carroll muzzleloader deer hunters bagged 257 whitetails during the Dec. 18 to Jan. 1 hunt. In 1992, local buck-skinners collected 225 deer.

The statewide total was a record-breaking 5,096 compared to the previous year's 4,725.

Successful county hunters include Ben Wright of WestminsterTom Manes from Finksburg, Eldersburg's Ben Pauly and Silver Run's Frank Smith.

Reader's tip

George Marklen of Mount Airy shared this fishing tip: "A safety-pin spinner bait is a great choice for casting in grass, but strands of silt often collect on the lure's swivels and blades, clogging up the works.

"If the bait is rigged with Colorado blades, it helps to change to a willowleaf design. Willowleaf blades don't swing as widely and are more likely to turn freely in grass. It also helps to bend down the blade arm so that silt goes over the top of the swivel."

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