Crank bait tips and techniques

The more you fish crank baits the more apt you are to get frustrated, as many do, that they lose too many fish. We have all experienced the downside of fishing crankbaits; the line breaks, or the fish becomes unhooked by throwing the bait with an air-borne head shake.
The problem may be that you are making some mistakes with your crank bait technique. There are ways to prevent many of the frustrating losses from crank baits, it just takes a little planning and some good technique to make sure your fish are staying hooked up.
One of the most important things is to try to not over-power the fish; it’s just not good technique to show your strength over the fish and power drive it back to the boat. Take your time, let your drag do its thing, and tire the fish by working it back to the boat and not powering it back.
Drag settings, however, are a little controversial, and not all of us believe the same thing when it comes to tightening down your drag. I believe you need the drag tight enough to get the bait tightly engaged in the fish’s mouth. This means don’t over-tighten it, yet make it tight enough to engage the hooks. Many crank bait fishermen tighten the drag as far as it will go and release the pressure with their thumb. To me, this gives you very little room for error, so I prefer to use the drag on the reel as your friend.
It’s also a common mistake to make a hook set like you’re fishing a worm by driving the bait upward. This can prove to be a big mistake. Crank baits commonly are smooth on top and there are no hooks on top of the bait. So, if you make a worm driving hook-set up into the bass mouth when you get a bite you are pulling the smooth part of the bait against the upper part of the fish’s mouth and forcing the bait to disengage from the fish. All you need to do is pull the rod parallel to the water in a sweeping motion; this engages the hooks into the soft tissue of the bass’s mouth allowing you to get enough power from the rod’s motion and the bait will hook up just fine.
Lastly, keep your rod tip down while fighting the fish, in most cases it keeps the bass from jumping and keeps you in solid contact with the fish.
Captain Mike

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