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    guywhofishes 05-03-2021 07:17 AM


    By Mark Romanack

    Crankbaits are amazing fishing lures. It's hard to imagine a lure that has a more impressive list of fish catching credentials. Amazingly productive in a wide range of conditions and deadly on just about anything that swims, crankbaits bring a lot to the party.

    Heading up their list of unique features, crankbaits enjoy the widest range of effective trolling speeds. From less than one mph to speeds upwards of five mph, crankbaits catch fish! In addition to covering all the common trolling speeds, crankbaits can be used to reach any depth from the surface down to 50 feet! If this wasn't enough, crankbaits are so consistent they can be used to target specific depths over and over again simply by controlling lead lengths! Now tack on the fact that crankbaits come in every imaginable size, shape, action and color and the picture becomes clear. Crankbaits rule as fish catching tools.

    Crankbaits come to life when they are trolled or cast and retrieved. It's the diving lip that brings these lures to life.
    The size and shape of the diving lip plays a major role in the action a crankbait delivers and also how deep it can dive. Baits with small and/or narrow diving lips reach modest depths and tend to deliver tight actions. The larger and wider the lip becomes, the more pronounced the wobble and diving depth become.

    Of course there are literally endless combinations of lip length, width, bait size and shape to contend with. This is in part why so many anglers are intimidated by crankbaits. There are simply too many to choose from!

    Admittedly crankbaits can be intimidating, but for the most part these lures can easily be categorized into two useful groupings. Most crankbaits fall into one of two basic categories, including models that float at rest and dive when pulled or models that sink and achieve their depth based on lure weight and speed.

    Floating/diving models enjoy the largest following and also these lures are the most consistent in their depth diving abilities. Most anglers understand that water pushing against the lip causes the bait to dive into the water. What they don't realize is that at the same time friction from the line being pulled through the water and the buoyancy of the lure creates an opposing force. As the force that pushes the lure down into the water, stabilizes with the forces working to push the bait back to the surface, something amazing happens.

    Every floating/diving crankbait will dive to a predictable depth. This depth is influenced by two simple factors including lead length and line diameter. If these two variables are controlled, it's possible to predict the precise running depth of literally every crankbait fished at all the common lead lengths!

    Lures that sink are more complex in that their depth is controlled by not only line diameter and lead length, but also by boat or retrieve speed. Sinking lures fish deeper when trolled or retrieved slowly. At faster speeds these same lures sacrifice running depth.

    Because sinking lures are more difficult to control, they have never achieved the popularity of floating/diving models.
    These striking bits of information form the foundation for the popular crankbait guides Precision Trolling and Precision Casting. Collectively these user guides have documented the running depths of countless crankbaits and helped thousands of anglers maximize their time on the water. A simple XY style graph is used to depict how much lead length must be used to achieve specific target depths.

    At a glance anglers can consult the "Dive Curve" and determine within inches how deep their lures
    are running. The information provided by Precision Trolling and Precision Casting is invaluable to anyone who takes fishing seriously. Not only does this trusted science allow anglers to know with confidence how deep their lures are running in relationship to fish or the bottom, it allows a multitude of lures to be trolled at target depths and virtually eliminates costly snags.

    Precision Trolling and Precision Casting deal primarily with crank baits that float. This handy fishing guide also explores the dynamics of adding weight to the fishing line. If you have ever wondered what happens when weight is added to a fishing line, read on.

    Crankbaits are amazing fish catching tools, but they have limitations. Every crankbait has a limit to how deep it will dive. Not always do the popular crankbait brands and models reach the necessary target depths. When a crankbait falls a little short on depth, there is a simple fix.

    Sooner or later just about everyone who trolls comes to the conclusion that adding weight to the line is necessary at times to reach target depths. There are lots of ways to add weight onto a fishing line, but nothing is as easy or more effective than an Off Shore Tackle Snap Weight.

    The OR16 (red) Snap Weight clip is the heart of this simple system. Designed to clip weight on and off the line as needed, the jaws of this clip are rubber coated to protect the fishing line. A small pin in the upper jaw indexes into a hole in the lower jaw. When the line is placed behind this pin, the Snap Weight is effectively held in place on the fishing line.
    Changing weight sizes is as simple as threading different size weights onto a split ring attached to the OR16. This simple weight clip allows sinkers ranging from 1/2 to three ounces in size to be placed literally anywhere on the fishing line.

    Putting the Snap Weight on or taking it off the line only takes a second, but the rewards are many. Adding weight in front of a crankbait adds versatility to a lure group that is already a capable fish producer. Depending upon how much weight is used, most any crankbait can be deployed to depths up to 50 feet!

    Again the Precision Trolling guide is an invaluable tool for determining how adding weight influences the running depth of crankbaits. The "20 Plus Method" described in Precision Trolling outlines in detail how adding one ounce of weight using a Snap Weight increases the running depth of floating/diving crankbaits by approximately 1/3 the normal running depth.

    Here's how the "20 Plus Method" works. Pick your favorite floating/diving crankbait and let out 20 feet of line. Attach a one ounce Snap Weight onto the line and let out an additional 100 feet of lead length for a total lead of 120 feet.
    Now consult the Precision Trolling guide to determine the normal running depth of your specific lure at 120 feet back. If that lure runs 15 feet deep at 120 feet back, it will run an additional 1/3 deeper when the one ounce Snap Weight is used.

    In this case a 15 foot lure will run 20 feet deep simply by adding a one ounce Snap Weight. A bait that runs 18 feet would run 24 feet with a one ounce Snap Weight, etc. Across the spectrum of floating/diving baits this simple to use formula is amazingly consistent, accurate and useful.

    Of course adding more than one ounce of weight will increase the diving depth more. The "20 Plus Method" is a good starting point, but anglers are encouraged to use lighter or heavier Snap Weights as conditions dictate.

    A good rule to follow when fishing crankbaits in combination with Snap Weights is to strive for consistent trolling speeds. The "20 Plus Method" is based on a constant trolling speed of two mph.

    Adding Snap Weights to crankbaits works best when fishing for suspended fish or for species found on flats and other areas where the bottom depth is rather consistent. Bottoms consisting of sand, silt, clay or gravel are ideal places to use Snap Weights in combination with crankbaits.

    If you're unsure how deep a particular crankbait is running with a Snap Weight attached, fish this line straight out the back and monitor the lead length closely. Slowly let out additional lead length until the rod tip indicates the bait is hitting the bottom. Reel up a few turns and you can feel comfortable the bait is running near bottom.


    Crankbaits fished in combination with Snap Weights are a natural for fishing with in-line boards. Combining Snap Weights, crankbaits and in-line boards like the Off Shore Tackle OR12 Side Planer or OR31 SST adds up to a deadly system for walleye, pike, trout, striper and many other species. Both of these popular boards will easily handle Snap Weights up to three ounces.

    Crankbaits are deadly fish catching tools. Snap Weights are the easiest way possible to add weight to a trolling line. Together crankbaits and Snap Weights are a natural choice anytime it's necessary to get a little extra depth from your favorite crankbait.

    source: https://www.offshoretackle.com/artic...l#multipleline

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