Carney column - crankbaits

Small crankbaits

Going small in your baits works wonders on all species.

Summertime is crankbait time, and it’s really fun to make the switch from live bait to artificials as we head into the warmer weather time of late July and August. I have become very fond of very small crank baits which are awesome for crappies and walleye. You don’t need a large bait to catch fish. Here is a primer on my favorite style of baits for this summertime period.

1) Small is Beautiful: Many of the lakes I fish here in the northwest part of Minnesota feature some awesome crappies, bluegills and occasional walleye. I prefer to throw baits that are multi-species oriented. My favorite mini baits are about 1-inch long and feature basically no lip but rather a flat front. The no lip feature allows the bait to travel horizontally across the top of weed growth, thus eliminating the snags and weed hassles. The weed growth is at its peak growth right now. It’s tough working the edges as it grows to the top of the surface.

2) Flat Retrieve: Working these baits over weed growth is relatively simple as the retrieve is a straight retrieve at a slow pace. There’s no need to “yo-yo” the bait or jig it but rather keep a steady pace on the retrieve. Mini baits with no lips allow the bait to come across the weeds in a direct path without diving like a bait with a plastic lip. By keeping your rod tip at the 12 o’clock position, the bait will ride high in the water column.

3) Color? Color doesn’t matter. The action of the bait and the smallness of the bait allows most any panfish or predator fish to smash it with ease. If you have ever checked the stomachs of even larger walleyes, they routinely have one-inch minnows inside.

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