trolling crankbaits to catch fish
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Thread: trolling crankbaits to catch fish

  1. #1
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    Default trolling crankbaits to catch fish

    Two friends of mine I fish with have told me they use crankbaits trolling for bass and panfish. Up until yesterday I was skeptical until when on the way back to the dock my partner caught a bass and two crappie trolling a medium dive crankbait at #2 speed on the trolling motor. His rod was held high at 45 degrees so the lure couldn't go too deep and the rod was medium action. The depth averaged 10' or so and the bottom fairly smooth with a few small humps seen on sonar while he trolled down the middle of this narrow lake one mile across three miles long.


    The day was in the 60's, cloudy, windy at times (15 mph wind) and the water temperature 71 degrees and dropping due to nighttime temps dropping to 49 degrees. We are going into a fall pattern early that started over a week ago along with a drought that started in June. It's been a very weird year weatherwise!


    When that rod bent back I thought he snagged something until he started fighting a fish ! I own hundreds of crankbaits with different lip sizes and never thought to troll for fish - especially panfish ! Other than soft plastic design and testing different ones, I stopped using bass lures such as jigs/trailers, spinnerbaits, crankbaits, spoons, top water lures, etc. though I've done well on all of them at one time or other.


    Guess I'll have to concentrate on this this presentation when fishing is tough because my partner insists that he catches fish in the middle of a sunny day trolling crankbaits. He also said that when a fish is caught, he throws out a buoy marker and retrolls the area in the opposite direction after turning the boat around and at times stops the trolling motor casting back to the area in hopes a school is present and active. Man I love fishing schools - one after the other !!!


    Too bad his sonar is old and never shows fish - only the bottom and at depths that are inaccurate by a foot or more. I would have loved to have seen the fish the pontoon boat moved over before being caught with a 2 3/4" crankbait! I have a feeling that a gas engine would have spooked those fish and maybe prevented any strikes. Now the question remains : which crankbait to use ???

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  3. #2
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    We use small crankbaits,trolled from a kayak to catch White Bass
    Fishscalz likes this.


  4. #3
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    I ain't no Panfish Jack or Steve F, but I normally catch the biggest crappie of the year (for me anyways) by trolling small crankbaits. It definitely works.

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  6. #4
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    I do it all the time especially when I’m going from one spot to another. I like it because they run at a somewhat specific depth.
    ~JOE~
    Solo Dei Gloria

  7. #5
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    Update: KILLED THEM USING SMALL CRANKBAITS IN DIFFERENT COLORS !!!
    This time of year fishing is either really good or slow . Today we barely caught 30 fish between the two of us and the quality left a great deal to be desired. So in the last 2 hours we trolled up and down the middle of the lake noting landmarks the fish were caught as well as depth which turned out to be consistent.

    Nice size crappy and yellow perch ! Sometimes we had doubles - we both had fish on at the same time and different species to boot! We used a # 2 speed on the trolling motor and I noted the depth and fish arches on the sonar as we trolled. Big sunnies in the shallows or under overhanging branches in shady areas, but the best quality fish trolling !

    Have a whole new respect for trolling especially when nothing else is working.
    SurfRider likes this.


  8. #6
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    I have a buddy up north (WV) who fishes Crappie tournaments. All they use is small crankbaits on planer boards and drag a line or 2 with live minnows. He told me they tear up the tournaments and catch a lot of other fish than just Crappie. When I lived up there, him and I fished lake Anna tournaments and we dominated them using another technique, he told me the trolling is even better.

  9. #7
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    A few days ago I was trolling a buzzbait 5 setting on a 55# trust motor. I had the bait well back behind boat trolling middle,of narrow lake. Saw a blow up and killed motor immediately. Landed a 6# no real fight until it got closer to the boat mostmof the time seemed like it was just swimming along toward me.
    2019 LMB Total :406 largest 6.5#; Total over 4:56; lifetime largest 9.25
    2019 Crappie Total:50 biggest:2#

  10. #8
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    If I want big crappie, Ill troll crankbaits. These came on a Rapala JSR7 in New Bern.
    bmac likes this.


  11. #9
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    Nice !

    Trolling a buzzbait. Now that's a new one !

  12. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by spidey View Post
    A few days ago I was trolling a buzzbait 5 setting on a 55# trust motor. I had the bait well back behind boat trolling middle,of narrow lake. Saw a blow up and killed motor immediately. Landed a 6# no real fight until it got closer to the boat mostmof the time seemed like it was just swimming along toward me.
    Trolling a buzzbait on a short line, (less than 20' behind the boat) around weed lines will work amazingly well sometimes, not just for Bass, but Pike/Pickerel as well.

    Adjust the rod tip height so that the buzz bait in just making a few bubbles, on the boat wake, and change directions very slightly (maybe a couple of degrees) every 30-40 seconds to change the cadence and the position in the wake. The speed should be fast, probably 4-5 with a trolling motor, a fast idle with a small gas engine.

    You may need to go to a heavier buzz bait to keep it upright and running true, a 1/2 ounce is OK if the blade is not too big, but you may need to go larger.

    Set your drag correctly, an use a rod that flexes with backbone, otherwise you will miss too many fish or rip the hooks out on a short line. 20 pound line is good line size to use in most places.

  13. #11
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    Thanks for the tip. It could work where I fish - especially in areas 7' deep that have weeds coming up from bottom.

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