Deep Cranking with the Megabass Deep Six September 03, 2015 01:11 1 Comment
As you guys have probably noticed lately, I've been on a solid deep crank bite. I learned early on that a deep crank can catch you bunches of fish in a short amount of time as well as a better grade than you'd get worming (typically). This is a fundamental technique that will improve your fishing with other lures, big or small.
Fishing on this small reservoir outside of Los Angeles has been tough, most guys are struggling to finesse a few bites during these 85-105 degree days. I've been on solid fishing by targeting reaction strikes instead of feeding fish. A deep crank is the perfect tool for this when the fish are sitting in 10-20 feet of water off the bank on structure spots.
The areas I'm targeting are shallow humps and flats with deep breaks. The tops of them have grass beds, a combination of hydrilla and this stringy crap which I HATE. Then in the 10-12 foot zone the grass stops due to lack of light penetration in the off colored water. This is where I am trying to focus my retrieves, through and into the rocks at the base of the grass beds. You can make a long cast into deep water and drive that big bill down quickly and into the strike zone.
Deflection is key with fishing subsurface hardbaits, it causes a reaction strike from inactive fish. Feeding fish are relatively easy to catch when active, you can catch them swimming through the water column without any erratic action or deflection involved. However, as you know by know fish are inactive for much of the day. Triggering a reaction strike is much more consistent in the long haul than depending on feeding fish. This is also why I believe that so many GOOD fish are caught on cranks and other reaction baits, they are striking out of reflex. They're more prone to make a mistake versus when they have time to inspect a slow moving "feeding" style presentation.
The beautiful part about this strategy is once you catch one or two fish, you can often fire up the rest of the school on the spot and pick them off again and again. Remember to speed up in the cover, as this will make the crankbait's bill hit and deflect off the cover instead of allowing the treble hooks to snag it.
Deep cranks are also a great tool for understanding how spots setup. When fishing a high quality rod like the Megabass "Launcher" and Pline braid to flouro, you can feel exactly what is on that spot, whether it's mud, sand, rock, brush or grass. A better understanding of how those fish setup on these spots will also come from understanding the deep crank bite, and allow you to better approach and fish the same areas with other techniques (including swimbaits).
I typically fish 3 main colors with my deep cranks, in off color water I like the red crawfish colors like the Megabass Fire Craw as well as Blue Chartreuse. In stained to clear water I'm typically fishing a shad pattern of some kind.
Rod - Megabass Orochi XX F5-711XXG Launcher (length promotes long casts, perfect taper for fishing deep cranks and keeping fish pinned)
Reel - 5:1 Shimano Chronarch B (lower gear ratio makes it easier to fish all day when fishing baits with this much water resistance)
Line - Pline TCB 50lb Braid to 2 feet of Pline 15b CFX Fluorocarbon Leader (no stretch of the braid enhances feel and makes it easier to rip weeds free of your bait. 2 foot still Flouro leader keeps the hook fouling to a minimum. Also promotes confidence that fish will strike your lure even in clear water, although I've found they eat these baits tied directly to braid no problem most times)
Crankbait - Megabass Deep 6 in Fire Craw (all my baits have swam true out of the box with no need for tuning as is necessary with the other models of deep cranks that I fished. Dives down to depth quickly and aggressively to get into the strike zone faster. Color selection from Megabass is confidence inspiring. I do swap the hooks out for Mustang KVD trebles, the triple grip or EWG style hooks)