On the Edge | Cranking Deep Ledges for Summer Bass

On the Edge | Cranking Deep Ledges for Summer Bass


It’s all about finding the hidden hard spots when ledge fishing a crankbait. Current will wash away silt and expose the firm substrates that hold the entire offshore food chain. Mega schools of bass will congregate in the cool comfort of deep water all summer but as usual, 90 percent of them will still be found in only 10 percent of the water. That slice of ledge which holds the most fish will invariably be a hard bottom area, whether composed of limestone or live shell.

A deep running crankbait is a great choice for grinding ledges, and deflecting off the firm bottom will make that lure dance.

A crankbait should be the first lure you throw when trying to fire up a school of offshore bass. Other lures work well when cleaning up the last few sluggish fish, but the biggest specimens in any school are likely to pounce on a crankbait first.

An often-overlooked aspect of cranking is the curvature of the dive angle. For much of the retrieve, a crankbait is working its way to the bottom, where it will spend as little as a quarter of the distance back to the boat actually digging bottom. The deeper the dive, the more exaggerated this effect. Consider this when casting. You may need to get closer to the target area so that your lure is contacting the bottom in the strike zone.

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Video transcript:

Alex Rudd:
What's up, guys? Welcome back to the Monsterbass channel. Today, we're going to do a deep dive into deep diving crankbaits and we're going to break down everything that you need to know about this awesome summertime technique. It's one of my favorite ways to catch them. It's fast. It's furious. Let's get into this and let's break down deep cranking for summer bass.

Alex Rudd:
All right. Let's break down my setup for deep diving crankbaits. It's going to just be bulked up from what I normally throw. When I'm throwing my little medium diver crankbaits and my squarebills, normally I'm throwing a seven foot medium moderate action rod. When I'm throwing these deep crankbaits, you know these things are going to be getting up in that half ounce, three quarter ounce, even ounce range. So for a bait like the Seeker, the crankbait I have tied on today, I'm going to be bumping it up to a 7'6' medium heavy, moderate, fast action rod, a six gear ratio reel and some 10-lb line.

Alex Rudd:
And actually, I do a little something different with my line. I'm actually not fishing at fluorocarbon, I'm fishing copolymer. The reason for that is that copolymer's neutrally buoyant and so when I kill this bait in the water, it's a slow rising bait, or it makes a bait that is a faster rising bait just slow down a little bit and come off the bottom and then I'm able to hit it again and get it going.

Alex Rudd:
It's also got just a little bit more stretch, which I have found with this medium heavy rod and this little bit longer rod, and the way that I set the hook, primarily that that little bit more stretch helps me to just really bury those hooks into that fish's face. It also gives me just a little bit more forgiveness when they're surging next to the boat.

Alex Rudd:
And then six year ratio reel, really the biggest thing is, it helps me to speed it up enough to get it down there and to move it fast, but also slows me down when I'm like really moving and grooving and just really, really cranking that crankbait.

Alex Rudd:
So you might be asking yourself, why are these fish out deep? Why have they moved out onto these river ledges? Why is deep cranking even something I need to be worrying about? Well, this time of year, we're in the post-spawn, meaning that we're after the spawn. Post means after. What it happens is those fish go up there. They make these beds, they have their babies, and they have this prolonged period of time where they're not eating, where they're not consuming food, because they're more worried about making babies and doing the spawning in process.

Alex Rudd:
So what happens is, as soon as they're done, the natural instinct to go kill and to go eat and to go fatten back up just takes over their body. You're going to have some fish that are residential that stay up shallow, they eat blue gills and they do stuff like that, but then you're going to have other fish that move out deep that come and get on these river ledges. They come out here, they follow the bait, they follow the blue gills and they just come out here.

Alex Rudd:
They school together. That's one of the biggest things is, they all get together in these big pods or schools and they'll be multiple fish in these schools. And they'll just work together to corral bait fish, to eat bait fish and do different things, but you can use that to your advantage. The reason behind that is, once you get one of those fish to eat, normally the whole school will, what we call fire up, which means they just all get in that feeding mode. They get in that eating mode and so you can stand there and make repetitive cast, consecutive cast over and over and over again and catch multiple fish in a row because once they start competing, even though they kind of work together in some aspects, they also want to get that food and then get away from those other fish so a bigger fish doesn't try to take it away from them.

Alex Rudd:
So this is just such a big part of summer fishing is, if you love to do the shallow fishing thing, it's awesome, but there's also this amazing bot out deep, where you can come out, you can use your grass, you can use your tech, you can go here and you can find some big schools of bass and just catch a whole bunch and sometimes a lot of big ones too.

Alex Rudd:
All right. So one thing that I do that in my experience with deep fish and in deep cranking that has caught me quite a few fish and honestly, some really big fish at that is, when I'm actually deep cranking this crankbait and it comes up next to the boat, what you got to realize is when that bait hits its maximum diving depth is normally right in front of the boat. It's that last third of the cast. And so instead of just reeling that thing straight up the top, I like to pump it up and pause it all the way up.

Alex Rudd:
What that does, it's almost acts like a jerk bait. So if there's any fish fall in that thing, that crankbait's going to make a directional change first of all, which usually can get them to react. And if that doesn't get them to react, it's going to pump, pump, pause, pump, pump, pause and it's just like a bait fish trying to get away from them. And I cannot tell you how many big kicker fish that didn't want to commit to the crankbait for some reason while I was cranking it, that I've got them on that directional change and then pumping that thing up from deep water up to the boat.

Alex Rudd:
It's just something to keep in mind. Don't just willy nilly reel the crankbait in, especially when you're deep cranking, because there could be one following it. I mean in just a simple pump all the way up to the top like that, you can have some giant followers commit to that bait and get those giant followers into the boat and the kayak or wherever you happen to be fishing.

Alex Rudd:
Deep cranking can be intimidating. It really can. You got to have electronics, you got to have the boat. You got to go out there. You got to look for them, but the thing is don't let it intimidate you. Go out there and go and try it. Be old school like I am. I still line up with objects on the bank. I still line up with buoys in the water. And I only use my electronics to kind of really help me to stay on the spot that I need to stay as far as what the map is telling me to see.

Alex Rudd:
I still go old school and you can do the same exact thing. Go out deep, spend some time offshore, go and find some of these school and fish because when you find a school and you get them fired up and you can crank something like a crankbait, you're just going to have an immense amount of fun, because it's just awesome. It's one of my favorite ways to catch them. I mean there's nothing like catching fish, every single cast.

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