trolling crankbaits to catch fish

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senkosam
Posts: 49
Joined: 05 Aug 2019, 05:56

trolling crankbaits to catch fish

Post by senkosam » 07 Sep 2019, 07:39

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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Scott F
Posts: 195
Joined: 31 Oct 2017, 05:38
Location: Joliet, IL

trolling crankbaits to catch fish

Post by Scott F » 07 Sep 2019, 12:22

Depth control while trolling will help put more fish in the boat. A couple of things to know. If you have enough line out, the position of the rod has no effect on how deep the lure runs. You can hold the rod over your head, or push it in the water up to the reel, and the lure will run at the depth it wants to run at, again, as long as you have enough line out behind the boat. Thinner line allows the lure to run deeper than thicker lines. Experiment with how far back you let the lures run. In shallower water, fish will move out to the side away from your boat which is one reason you may not be marking fish under the boat. Longer lines can get some of those fish that come back after you’ve passed.

senkosam
Posts: 49
Joined: 05 Aug 2019, 05:56

trolling crankbaits to catch fish

Post by senkosam » 07 Sep 2019, 17:28

Good tips! - especially the line out rule.Thanks ! Will report on future outings using trolled crankbaits.
But one thing I just thought of: boat speed vs lure buoyancy. I would imagine the minimum boat speed must be fast enough to insure the lure stays at one depth. Someone on another forum suggest not using the tm and allowing the boat to be pushed by the wind between 5-10 mph. 5 seems a bit too slow especially for a cb with a short bill.

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Scott F
Posts: 195
Joined: 31 Oct 2017, 05:38
Location: Joliet, IL

trolling crankbaits to catch fish

Post by Scott F » 07 Sep 2019, 19:27

Every lure has a speed at which it runs best. Too slow, and it won't reach maximum depth. Too fast, and it breaks loose and runs on it's side or spins. Most run best between 1.5 and 3.5 mph. 5-10 mph is way too fast for nearly every crankbait. If you troll for long periods with the TM, you better have lots of battery power. This may not be much help but, back in 1989, pro walleye angler Mike McClelland, wrote a short book called "Crankbaits A Guide To Casting & Trolling Depths of 200 Popular Lures" The book is out of date and out of print. Many of the 200 lures he tested are no longer made and many current lures came out after it was published. All testing was done with mono lines as braided and FC lines were not in use back then. If you can find a copy, it's worth a read.

senkosam
Posts: 49
Joined: 05 Aug 2019, 05:56

trolling crankbaits to catch fish

Post by senkosam » 07 Sep 2019, 21:31

Thanks Scott
#2 speed on the Minn Kota handle was used and we'd been fighting a wind all day to maintain proper distance casting light lures right up against bank under overhanging and near rock walls extending off small flats. #2 used with a 1 yr old deep cycle battery should allow enough time to work lures for an hour especially with the wind. Trolling is not a method I would prefer but would use if other bites were dead.

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LDUBS
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Joined: 14 Aug 2016, 22:25
Location: Clayton California

trolling crankbaits to catch fish

Post by LDUBS » 15 Sep 2019, 12:41

I spend practically 100% of my fishing time trolling for trout. Depth varies by time of year from a few feet to very deep. I routinely pick up crappie on spoons, and rapala minnow-style lures. I've never really trolled a crank bait but don't see why it would not be effective.

I agree with Scott F that speed is critical to the action of the lure. Best to do a trial run along side the boat to determine best lure action before setting the lure out. As already said, too slow and the lure's action is poor. Too fast and the lure can spin out (and you will be changing your line out due to all the snarls). Most of the lure styles I use are good at 2 to 3 mph. Others I have need to be trolled at under 2 mph. I typically troll the rapalas between 2 & 3 mph.

If I'm fishing 20' or deeper, I use the 100' rule (depth + setback = 100'). If under 20' I use longer set backs. If trolling shallow, planer boards will move your lines out to the sides which is where the fish are going to be when they move away from your prop wash.

Btw, if the wind is strong enough to push my boat 10 mph, then I am out of there! Haha
Have Rod - Will Fish

senkosam
Posts: 49
Joined: 05 Aug 2019, 05:56

trolling crankbaits to catch fish

Post by senkosam » 15 Sep 2019, 21:06

Okay, so here's an update:
I used a Risto Rap (no longer made by Rapala) that dives to 4' - we trolled water 8' deep. Caught nice crappie and perch.
Partner used a Big O Triple Threat crankbait. Both about 2 1/4". We both caught fish - sometimes at the same time.
Using #2 speed on the Minn Kota, we traveled in a straight line about 60 yds before going back in the opposite direction noting were the best hits were. Most important was watching the rod tip vibrate. No vibration = algae caught on the lure = no fish.

It was pretty cool seeing my light action rod bend backwards, making me wonder : fish or algae? Usually a fish because the dead algae this time of year is sparse. Now I have to try five other crankbaits I stored for over 20 years that will dive as deep (for this one lake that only averages 9') and has a similar action. Amazon has a 6 pc kit of similar lures that looks tempting a $12 for six and free s/h. Most of the 147 reviews are positive. First I need to try mine old lures.

Trolling is a last ditch effort to catch fish when other presentations and lures haven't worked for hours and especially if less than of a desired size. Like I said, the trolled fish caught were of the best quality the lake has to offer. Other than crankbaits, you've given me other lures to try. Plus there are now other waters I want to try trolling.
Thanks for the tips.

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LDUBS
Posts: 2566
Joined: 14 Aug 2016, 22:25
Location: Clayton California

trolling crankbaits to catch fish

Post by LDUBS » 16 Sep 2019, 11:14

No vibration = algae caught on the lure = no fish.

Smart observation.

Doubling up is always a good thing! Thanks for the report.
Have Rod - Will Fish

senkosam
Posts: 49
Joined: 05 Aug 2019, 05:56

trolling crankbaits to catch fish

Post by senkosam » 16 Sep 2019, 18:55

Man, today was a good day for trolling crankbaits! Caught decent crappie, yellow perch and even a mud catfish.

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Other lures did well in shallow water:
wacky mini stick:
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tail off a finesse worm:
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claw tail:
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I just can't get over how fish slam those trolled crankbaits ! Seems like the backward bending rod is going to break !!

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