I recently attended a boat show that had Rick Clunn, 4-time BASSmaster Classic Champion, as the guest speaker. The topic of his lecture was on fishing square bill crank baits, which just so happens to be my favorite style of crank baits. I learned a lot that day about how to properly fish this style of crank bait.
Rick told us about how in the 70’s hand carved crank baits were becoming very popular on the tour circuit. They were pretty limited to the tour circuit because back then the cost ranged from $20 - $50 a piece. You had to find out who the good lure makers were and try to stock up when ever you were in the hometown.
According to Rick, these square bill crank baits began to die off because manufactures had a tough time mass producing them and keeping them running straight. As a result square bill cranks fell out of popularity until recently. Rick Clunn helped to design the Lucky Craft square bill crank baits and left us with the following tips.
• Burn it on the retrieve! This was one of the biggest tips that he left us with that day. According to Clunn you will catch three times more fish burning the lure on the retrieve than any other retrieval method.
• Get as close to the bank as you can with every cast. He stated that he would rather you hit the bank on your cast than be too far away from it. The only exception to this rule is when you’re casting into brush piles or other structure. For these scenarios Clunn recommended choosing “the harder casting option”. By this he meant to not worry about the possibility of getting hung up but instead to cast into the heart of the structure to draw out more fish.
• Throw the lure in stained color water, really any water where the visibility is less than 3 feet.
• Match this lure with the correct rod. Clunn recommended pairing the lure with a 7’ medium heavy-to-heavy rod. The reason being that you get a better hook set on this style of bait with a heavy rod.
• Use 12-20 lb test monofilament. The main reason that he stated for using monofilament line is because it stretches and recoils. If you get this lure hung up on a log, you can usually do the bow and arrow whip with your line to retrieve the bait. Most times that little bit of recoil is just enough to knock your bait backwards and get it unstuck.
I thoroughly enjoyed listening to Rick Clunn share his years of experience fishing square billed crank baits. I can’t wait to hit the water this spring and try these tactics although something tells me that I might want to start looking for a whole seller for square bill crank baits.