Deep Cranking Time
If you are a fan of running a deep crank bait to the 20-foot depths and beyond, now is the time of year to try it. The bass are moving out and schooling up along the deep ledges; you have a window where they will compete every day if you can locate an active school, and hanging big fish or even doubles on crankbaits can be a lot of fun.
The challenge is using your electronics so you are not wasting time by running unproductive ledge areas.
It’s also important to learn to trust what you see on your graphs; the only way to do that is to study your electronics, understand what you are seeing and believe your eyes.
It’s also important to learn the difference in what schools of bass look like as compared to schools of say, crappie or white bass, as there is a distinct difference in the visual on your graph.
You must train your eyes to see schools on your downscan and sidescan screens of your electronics. Understand the areas that schools settle in on the ledges and work those areas with your eyes glued to your electronics until you see a school of fish, then get to it!
It is not rocket science as today’s electronics from Lowrance and others are like having TV screens on your boat; the visual is clear, precise, and you are able to mark waypoints immediately when you see fish loaded up in schools. It’s also true that many times bass scatter when they feel the constant pinging from your electronic sonar; this may require you to take a little different approach: go old school.
Once you find the school, set marker buoys out, put your electronics on stand-by and work the area after you give the school a chance to reassemble from the sonar pinging scattering them.
Work different angles, as many times the angle from which you approach the school can make a significant difference in how they see your bait. Bass like to feel safe, and their position as it pertains to the bottom structure, can be the key to getting them to bite. There is no more fun than getting a school of fish fired up in 20 feet of water.
-Captain Mike Gerry