Fishing lures catch fishermen! Flashy colors, shapes, and sizes hook many an angler even before they ever land a fish.
Fortunately for bass fishermen, fish aren’t very picky.
Bass are opportunistic predators, eating anything close enough or sitting too long in its neighborhood. Bass are physically designed to make short bursts with a large mouth to vacuum prey.
Bass are sight feeders. Low light and muddy water conditions create a challenge for predators. They must rely on their sense of feel. At the bass buffet, fish have limited capacity for smell and limited time to taste.
Water dwellers produce vibrations and sounds that create vibrations. Some scientists theorize that bass can hear. But I’ve never heard them call in on any radio station request lines, so I don’t buy that one.
They might feel sounds, but to actually be able to distinguish audible sounds is a bit of a stretch.
Crankbaits do their thing when retrieved, or “cranked.” Some call them “idiot baits,” supposedly because any idiot can crank them and catch fish.
That’s not entirely true. I’ve seen idiots who couldn’t catch fish with them. The action through the water and the internal chambers filled with glass, brass, or other noise-makers allow bass to feel their way toward prey.
In the land of sub-aquatic fishing lures, vibration comes in two flavors: wiggles and wobbles.
Wiggle is a tight action that can be generated at very slow retrieves. Wobble is a wide action that increases with speed.
A tight-wiggle works better in cold waters, giving the maximum vibration at the slowest speeds, while the wide-wobble delivers faster action in the warmer waters when fish are really aggressive.
Crankbaits wiggling in a bass winter underwater-land create vibrations, attracting bass with diminished appetites and metabolism. Lures are designed to produce noise and vibration, but anglers can spice up this offering. Thinner diameter fishing line along with a softer rod tip allow the wiggler to twist and shout.
Wide wobblers are warm water workhorses. These baits can be fished to match the active metabolism of the warm-water, cold-blooded eating machine’s mood and attitude. Fish are shallower. Here you can use heavier lines and rods with a bit more backbone.
For diving baits, with line size being constant, the length of the bill affects depth. The width of the bill determines wiggle/wobble. Narrow bills generally are tighter wiggles. The position of the line tie also impacts the tune of the bait. Closer to the nose, the tighter the wiggle.
Also, the shape of the bait dictates action. Flat baits usually wiggle and fat baits wobble. Other factors affecting vibration are the materials used. There are several types of plastic and wood used in the baits that float until cranked.
Different densities contribute to vibration. Some baits generate vibration and then, due to calculated weighting, suspend when stopped—making them even more aggravating to the almost hibernating big mouths.
For good vibrations, keep crankbaits tuned! If the bait runs to one side, use a pair of needle nose pliers. With the bait facing you, gently bend the line tie to the opposite side that the bait is running. If you bend it too far, the bait will run out of tune to the other side, so be careful.
Some crankbaits don’t give you any lip…lipless crankbaits. They are great springtime baits, vibrating at depths to 6 feet and more.
While other classes of baits will produce noise or vibration or both, the right crankbait will help you find the fish no matter where they hide or what time of year you’re fishing.
So, let’s get cranking!