You can hammer fish on crankbaits in freshwater, saltwater, and even offshore. You can use them in many ways, and you can adjust them for more catches. These crankbait tweaks can make them more effective, allowing you to catch more fish each time out.
Common Crankbait Modifications to Catch More Bass on Cranks
These are small tweaks you can make in your car at the ramp or even while out on the boat. You may be surprised what a difference they make.
Sharpen Crankbait Bills For Better Action.
Crankbait action comes from the shape of the bait and the placement of the hook. The less the bill gets in the way, the better. The bill has to cut through the water, so if it isn’t sharp, you should make it sharper. Use a file to sharpen the edge of the bill, and it will swim side-to-side with less water resistance. This will give it a better wiggle and greater action.
Change Crankbait Hooks to Hook and Land More Fish
Out of the box, most crankbaits don’t have the best quality hooks. To make the most of every strike, you may want to upgrade those hooks. Stock hooks sometimes bend back too easily (by hand even). Sometimes the points aren’t as sharp as they could be, and sometimes you want to go a size bigger.
Owner ST-36 are the sharpest hooks out of the box. But, they don’t stay sharp as long. Gamakatsu are sharp and last a little longer.
Use a small pair of precision pliers to remove the factory hooks from the split-rings. Install the new hooks in the same way. If your split rings look ok, they’re fine. If they’re crooked or separated, you want to replace them now also.
Remember, you also want to monitor your crankbait hooks for sharpness. Rocks and other structure, even catching fish can dull them. Be sure to either sharpen them or replace them as they get worn.
Dress Your Rear Hook to Increase Visible Bait Action
Your rear hook probably isn’t doing much to attract fish right now. If you’ve been reading and trying these tips, it should be at least hooking some fish :). But, you can make it do more.
Dress it, or swap it for a dressed hook. Dressed hooks that have a colored skirt can increase the visible size of your bait, and turn the hook into something that gets bit more often. Use skirts that match the color scheme of the bait. You don’t want to put a loud-colored hook on a natural-colored bait. For custom colors, you can wrap it in thread or twine of your choosing, and dab it with some superglue to keep it in place. You an also use plasti-dip, although it might not hold up to as many fish.
Squarebill crankbait with dressed rear hook. Pic via @lunkerz24_7 on instagram
Customize Crankbait Paint to Get More Looks From Bass
Imagine you’re a fish, and you see lures pulled past you all the time. A lot of them look the same, and some of them look unnatural because of bad presentation. Imagine you are a fish, and you see a lure that looks exactly like one you saw yesterday that was clearly not a fish. You’re not going to bite it, are you?
So, you can stand out by changing the look of your baits. You can use paint and clear coat for real custom jobs, or you can do it quickly with some fingernail polish. The quickest easiest way is to use some clear polish with glitter or flakes in it. You can even do that while you’re out on the water. Don’t forget to use some clear coat polish. Try it the next time the fish seem picky.
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