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Tuesday, 25 January 2011 15:11

Fishing Square Bill Crank Baits

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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.
Read 11640 times Last modified on Monday, 24 January 2011 16:11
adam hayes

About the Author: Adam Hayes is an avid kayak angler and the Co. Founder of YakAngler.com. He enjoys spending time on the water with his friends and family and really just about anything than involves growing the sport of kayak fishing.



# landingcrew 2011-01-25 03:24
i use my spinning rod for these baits, you need to learn the arrow pluck to be successful with these baits. also do not be afraid to smash them on structure, thats how i get 95% of my bites.
# YakSushi 2011-01-25 05:36
Quoting landingcrew:
also do not be afraid to smash them on structure, thats how i get 95% of my bites.

Yup I seem to get most of my strikes right after I bump into a log or the bottom.
# adam 2011-01-25 07:47
Thats true but I think that ties back into making the harder cast. If you didn't cast on the other side of that log (because you were scared of getting hung up) than you would not have bumped it. I would also add that I have caught a very good amount right off the bank. When I was fishing down at Rough River this past fall I was fishing against a rock ledge that sloped down into the water. I accidentally hit the rock ledge several times and pulled in two fish off of it. It wasn't until I pull away from that spot that it hit me that casting up to the ledge (or hitting it) was the key there. :-?
# flounder 2011-01-25 10:39
Take this for what its worth...I use spinning rods for EVERYTHING. I do agree though that heavy action rods handle the crankbaits better, and in a spinning rod that kinda takes away from the castability. Good article. 8)
# slamdunc 2011-01-29 19:18
Thanks for the tip on the retrieve speed, I get a little tired of the slow winter fishing. Ready to grip it and rip it.
# YakSushi 2011-01-31 08:44
Quoting slamdunc:
Thanks for the tip on the retrieve speed, I get a little tired of the slow winter fishing. Ready to grip it and rip it.

100% agree Duncan!!! Bring on the SPRING!!!!! :D

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