W A L L E Y E   H U N T E R
Fishing Articles by Sam Anderson
Six Factors for Crankin’ for ‘Eyes
By Sam Anderson
Forage abounds as the summer heat rolls around. As we move into the mid summer patterns, size of baitfish increases and makes our live bait offerings mediocre at best. For this reason some of the best action is to fish an artificial bait fast. It might seem strange, but at times faster is better. In fact, when you think you are trolling too fast speed up a little more. My theory is that when an artificial bait goes whizzing by, the predator instinct takes over and the walleye lashes out. Give that same fish time to look over an offering and the chances are it will refuse it.
Selection of a crankbait is not difficult to determine, if you keep just six factors in mind. Choose your crankbait according to shape, size, running depth, action, color and sound. These six factors will increase your success while fishing this summer.
Running depth is a factor that has many variables to consider. To determine where the fish are, look at your depth finder. You will want to put that lure in front of their face, not below them or too far above them, but right in the" strike zone". Usually the bigger the lip on the bait the deeper they dive. Two things control depth on any given crankbait. 1) Your line diameter or thickness of your fishing line. 2) The distance of line from your rod tip to your lure.
Many anglers will weight their lines with rubber core sinkers placed ahead of the lure about 18 to 20 inches to get it down to a desired depth below where their monofilament might take their lure. You can also attach Suspendots or Suspenstrips to change the lure’s buoyancy. For example, a # 7 Shad Rap will run about 8 ft. down with 120 to 130 ft. of line out. If you drop down to 6 lb. test line you can achieve a 3 ft. drop in depth with the same crankbait and the same amount of line out.
The Shape of the crankbait you choose, might be determined by the type of baitfish that are present in the body of water your planning to fish. If there are smelt in the system your fishing try using a Storm Thunderstick Jr. or a Husky Jerk . If the forage base is more Shad based you can try a Hot n’ Tot or a Fat Rap. And finally don’t forget the good old Shad Rap if your fishing a system with perch, walleye fingerlings or panfish.
Sound is another sense that the fish use to locate and identify food. Water conditions and specie of fish will determine the sounds that you would like to imitate. All fish have an organ along the side of their heads and bodies called a lateral line that enables them to detect subtle vibrations in the water. If you are fishing in dirty shallow water a noisy lure is the answer. If you are fishing in stained water then you want the walleye to be able to hear your bait. Rattling Rapalas are a good example of a noisy bait that will take a variety of fish under these conditions. If you are fishing in a clear lake quiet baits that produce tight wobble and vibration are what you want to use.
Besides rattle, wobble and vibration don't overlook color. Try to match bait already found in the environment. Use flash tape to highlight crankbaits to give that extra flash. Along with flash you might want to change to a dramatic color. Chartreuse and the Firetiger colors aren't part of the environment but in stained water they are a visible target for fish. The type of terrain that you are fishing will determine color also. If you are fishing over sand maybe crawfish color, or next to a weed bed or drop off a perch color will trigger fish. Try to always alternate colors whenever fishing.
When walleyes seem very eager to smash a crankbait that has just been ripped free from a weed or any snag, use a medium sized bait that the fish will hit. When the walleyes are active, the bigger baits will often take the bigger fish.
The most active fish will probably be just off the weedline. Usually this is about seven feet down on the edge of the weedline. Each lake or river might be different, but more than likely if you find a depth at which fish seem to be the most active, stick to that depth and work that particular depth before moving deeper or shallower.
Bait action again can be the triggering factor for many a finicky walleye. In warmer water, tight action and increased speed will increase your chances of a larger fish. When the water really heats up speed and erratic action can be the ticket. Check your action when you attach your lure to the line. Run the lure along side the boat to see if it has a tight or slow wobble. Many baits can be tuned to run true by bending the nose ring on the bait. This will allow the bait to run in the correct path behind the boat.
Be a change up person. Don't stick with one bait all the time. Try
different colors, presentation, size, rattles and added weight. So many
fishermen tend to stay with old methods that have worked before and fail
to boat fish because they are stubborn about bait selection.
Remember you can be sure that you have made the right selection when
choosing a lure because, you have done the research and you are not
afraid of trying a new approach. The ultimate decision comes when you
start tying a new crankbait discovering its wobble, wiggle, depth, and
best time to be presented. Adding a new lure to your arsenal of tricks
is half the fun. Grab a few new cranks on your way to your next trip
and you’ll be sure to stick some eye’s when others are shaking their
heads. Oh, give me a shout if you find any real hot ones on my
website. Check out samanderson.com
Copyright © 1998-2000 Walleye Hunter Productions
All Rights Reserved
Since August 1, 1998