|Yamaha Marine Group|
|(Sep. 24, 2008 - Kennesaw, GA.)... Whenever you go crankbait fishing with Yamaha pro Kelly Jordon, be prepared to go to school.|
That’s because Jordon, a six-time Bassmaster tournament winner, Bassmaster Classic qualifier, and former Lake Fork guide, takes his crankbait fishing very seriously. The long-billed diving lures have been a major key to his fishing success.
"Crankbaits are among the very best lures a fisherman has in his tackle box," notes Jordon, "but if they’re not properly rigged, or if you’re using the wrong tackle with them, they’ll never be as effective as they can be."
The very first change Jordon makes is to replace the standard round line-tie split ring for an oblong one. The elongated design prevents line from crimping and thus effecting the lure’s action; a few manufacturers now put oblong split rings on their lures but many still do not.
Next, Jordon inspects both hanging treble hooks to insure they can swing freely. A few quick scrapes with pocket knife clears paint from the hanger eyes, which is where this problem usually occurs.
"A treble that does not swing freely from side causes the lure to ’skip a wobble’," the Yamaha pro explains. "You can feel this if you make a quick, short cast and reel the crankbait back really fast. When a crankbait runs this way, it can’t reach its maximum depth so you may never reach the bass you’re trying to attract."
Certainly one of the most common problems crankbait fishermen encounter is a lure that runs in loops or far to one side rather than dives. This is most often caused by a line-tie that is not perfectly aligned. A slight twist with a pair of pliers will correct this, and Jordon has been known to "tweak" his adjustments in microscopic increments and make repeated test casts until he has his crankbait running perfectly straight and deep.
"These are just little tricks that take better advantage of any crankbait’s capabilities," Jordon explains, "but surprisingly few anglers take the time to make the adjustments. Believe me, as a former guide, I know the difference they can make in catching fish."
Proper line size is also important, continues the Yamaha angler, especially when fishing deep diving crankbaits capable of reaching 17 to 20-foot depths.
"I prefer 10 and 12 pound test lines," he says, "because they have a thin diameter with less water resistance. Heavier lines increase drag in the water and simply won’t let a lure dive as deep.
"At the same time, it’s important to use a limber rod that also allows your lure to run deeper. If you use a stiff rod, the lure has to fight that resistance, as well, and it simply can’t overcome it. My crankbait rods are so limber I can practically tie them in a knot."
Jordon emphasizes that virtually all crankbait fishing is more effective when the lure actually digs and bounces along the bottom or off cover, regardless of the water depth. To help achieve this, he makes long casts and retrieves with his rod tip down. Slow to medium-speed retrieves keep a crankbait down deeper longer than a fast retrieve, too.
"The final ingredient to successful crankbaiting is to fish where the fish are," the Yamaha pro concludes, "and while you won’t necessarily see bass on your electronics, you can certainly see baitfish.
"On Lake Fork we have some deep points where two anglers can catch 75 bass in the four to seven-pound range in an afternoon, and during that time they’ll usually have a chance at one or more fish in the 10-pound class, but if the baitfish aren’t there, you probably won’t catch a single fish.
"I always idle over a potential spot just looking for bait before I begin fishing, but if I don’t see any, I won’t even pick up a rod."