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Early Season Crankbaits By Gary Howey

  When Bill Christensen, Hartington, Nebraska asked if I would want to go fishing the following Monday, I was ready as I had not done much open water angling for some time.

  Bill is a crankbaiter, loves to pull cranks throughout the year, which works very well, as you can cover more ground and takes the more aggressive fish.

  I had all weekend to finish my next week’s column, and time to re-spool my two main jigging and livebait rods with lighter line, just in case the crankbait bite was off.

  When we arrived at Santee, the dock was crowded with Santee police, tribal game wardens, along with a dozen other folks who were loading up to head out and look for an four wheeler accident victim.

  They asked which way we were heading and asked if we happen to see anything to dial 911 and let them know.

   Bill’s a  crankbaiter and likes pulling # 5 & # 7 Rapala and Berkley Flicker Shads using line counter reels spooled with 14# Berkley Fireline, its smaller diameter line allowed the baits to dive quickly and deeper, yet, when needed, had the strength to land large fish.

  The reels, coupled to eight and ten-foot rods allowed us to spread out the lines, with the longer rods fished out each side and the shorter ones running straight out the back of the boat.

  Once our rigs were ready, we checked to make sure that our baits were tuned correctly, running straight in the water, as if they are not, they go through the water erratically, not running smoothly, in a way that turns off the fish.  They will also run off to the side, running shallow. getting snagged up or tangling with your other lines.

  This time of the year, with the higher water, there s a good chance there will be a lot of trash coming down the lake, grass, weeds, twigs and even logs and when this happens, we clip a small split shot about two to three feet above where the crankbait is snapped onto the line.

  The split shot on your line intercepts grass, weeds etc. from following down your line, ending up on your bait and messing up its action.

  But, It did not take us long to realize that even with a split shot above, the heavier current and trash coming downstream there was  trash getting by, fouling up the action of our crankbaits. [Read more…]

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It’s all in the Presentation! By Gary Howey

 

  A few weeks ago, we talked about locating fish by finding the structure they relate to. This article will deal with attracting and catching fish once you have located them.

  Presentation is the way you present or deliver your bait to the fish. It is the key to catching fish because without correct presentation, you’re simply anchoring your bait on or close to the bottom.

  The way you present your bait is important, no matter what bait you are using!  You need to make your bait smell, sound, taste and appear lifelike.

  The key to this is the line, if you are using too heavy of test or weight of line, it can make your bait appear very unnatural as it will run through the water in circles or appear erratic.

  Because heavier line has more memory or coiling effect than lighter line, when used with a lighter lure, it can run through the water appearing unnatural.  If the fish does grab your bait these coils or line memory will create problems not only feeling the bite, but also in setting the hook as you have to deal with all the slack in the line.

  Heavier line also has more resistance so it takes longer for it to reach the bottom. This is especially important when trolling crankbaits as heavier line will not allow your crankbait to dive as deep as the lighter line will.

  Another thing affecting your presentation when using crankbaits, is the way your bait runs through the water, so the first thing you should do before trolling a crankbait is to run it along the side of the boat, making sure that it is tuned or runs correctly.

  You want your crankbait to run straight not off to either side.  If it runs off to one side or the other you need to bend the eye, the wire that comes out of the bait in the opposite direction the bait is running.

  A slight bend is all that is needed to tune or make a crankbait run correctly making for a more lifelike presentation.

  Livebait rigs such as the Lindy or Roach rig allow anglers to use a subtle approach. This method gives anglers a very simple yet effective way to present minnows leeches, crawlers or plastics to finicky fish.

  As I mentioned earlier the key to fishing these rigs and all rigs is to present the bait in a lifelike manner.

  Live healthy bait hooked properly will appear more lifelike and catch more fish.

  Hook your leeches through the sucker, allowing them to coil and uncoil, string your crawlers out so it flows through the water and hook your minnows and soft baits through the front part of the lips or eyes, which keeps then straight and with live bait allowing them to last longer on the hook.

  When livebait fishing, yo will not have to worry about loosing your bait as you would when jig fishing because once the bite or tug on the line is felt, the angler releases line, allowing the fish to take the entire bait and hook into it’s mouth.

  You will not want to get caught in the trap where you think your worm, leech or minnow looks good enough, as in order to consistently catch fish with this rig and any other you need to redo your bait often.

  If your bait is not moving or squirming or if you feel a bite, get hung up on weeds, rocks or other debris, replace your bait as fresh bait will out produce old bait 100% of the time.

  When jig fishing, your presentation is not quite as critical as yo will create the lifelike motion by jigging your rod up and down.

  Again when using livebait on a jig, replace it often, keeping fresh bait in front of the fish as much as possible. This is not something you will need to worry about when using plastic baits. [Read more…]