Crankin’ RULES for gettin’ you some bites and coverin’ you some water, ‘specially this time of year. So here’s you some good must-haves…yous guys….
1. BOOYAH One Knocker
Go small! Tie on a 1/4-oz One Knocker — pronounced “kuh-nocker-kk” lol just kidding — in ghost, crushed bone or chrome black [pictured]. The smallest-size One Knocker still casts far on a casting setup, and matches the smaller baitfish this time of year.
Target flats, creek channel bends, and always be aware of schoolers. Zip it out there on a 6′ 6″ to 7′ M casting rod (moderate fast) with a 6-7:1 reel and 12-15 lb fluoro.
2. Rapala BX Brat
The BX Brat is a 4-wheel-drive squarebill with a copolymer plastic shell, but the magic of this bait is the Rapala BALSA core. Want balsa action? Gotta fish balsa mang!
> Truly the best of both worlds, action and durability.
> Jacob Wheeler says: “This is a bait that you can tie on, cast out and catch fish no matter where you’re at. It just gets bit. It’s a bait I throw in nearly every tournament, and it’s also the bait I’ll tie on my little nephew’s rod.”
Comes in 3′ and 6′ models, pearl gray shiner (top above) is great in clearer water, Homers buddy (below that) is good in stained/dirty water.
Fish it on a shallow-cranking setup — a 7′ (or so) M rod with a parabolic bend to ensure fish stay pinned, and 10-14 lb Sufix Invisiline Fluoro depending on cover.
Here’s a good vid on the Brat, and a shot of Gerald Swindle with a BX Brat fish — that I only include cuz the photographer caught a UFO in it. Hey — all UFOs don’t need to be giant!
3. Strike King KVD 1.5 Deep Diver Squarebill
Has anyone ever caught a bass on a Strike King KVD 1.5? Nah…but don’t let that stop you from a-tryin’ this bait. HAHAHAHAHAHA!
But seriously: Anything that says “KVD 1.5” on it might as well say this: “$$$!!!” Here’s the deal on this one:
> …allows it to reach 10′ making it easy to target submerged grass and wood.
Yep, a squarebill that reaches 10′ deep, designed by the man himself. I will bid $7.59 for that bait:
4. Lunkerhunt Kraken Flat Side Squarebill and Regular Squarebill
Here’s the Flat Side in “threadfin and regular Squarebill in “knight rider.”
FLWer Matt Arey talkin’:
> “Sticking with shad patterns and ‘matching the hatch’ are my main 2 rules to live by in the fall. Bass are really dialed into the bait they are eating and can be a little pickier.
> “I target the backs of creeks, typically less than 10′, and look for some stain to the water. Movement in the water is always a plus whether it’s wind or current.”
Both body styles dive to 2.5′, float, and weigh 1/4-oz. Matt fishes ’em on a 7′ M Lew’s Pro Ti Speed Stick Rod, Lew’s LFS Reel (6:8) and 12-lb P-Line PF Original.
‘Traps will catch ’em year-round, but they seem to crush it when the water’s colder. Try to use the 1/4-oz version, but the 1/2-oz will work too. ‘Traps might have the most colors in the feeshn biz so think about look what main color you want — whites, shads, reds, etc. — and go from there. Tackle Warehouse has a lot of colors [white zombie pictured], but the ‘Trap website has every…single…one.
To help ya, here’s a regional breakout of good fall ‘Trap choices, on the BB website.
6. SPRO Fat Papa Squarebill
Russ Lane talkin’:
> “Finding bait is always the key. Back ends of creeks are obvious areas to start, but main-lake shallow flats in the upper third section of most lakes can be sneaky good. Shad balls roam those 2-5′ flats close to the surface this time of year.
> “The dominant cover could be old stumps, logs or even gravel high spots. Largemouths and even big loner spots on the Coosa will use that as ambush cover. I move around those flats looking for cover targets to throw at.
> “Hitting the cover is the deal, and this is why the Fat Papa Squarebill is so good. It is light and buoyant enough that it comes through cover with ease — just like a handmade balsa bait, but way cheaper and much more durable.
> “I like the 55 usually in chartreuse black back in semi-stained water, and the 70 in dirtier water in the same color or nasty shad. If I had to choose only one it would be the 70. That bait is something special.
Johnny Crews on the difference between Russ’ squares and his Fat John:
> “The Fat John
is lightly buoyant with a natural hunting action that runs about 4-5′ deep. The Fat Papas are very buoyant with a harder thump and don’t run quite as deep. They are great compliments to each other.
> “The Fat Papa is hard to beat around isolated wood and real shallow hard cover. The Fat John is better served as a search bait with long casts…hunting action that gets strikes even when not hitting cover. Both are very good around docks.”
All the Fats have Gammy round-bend trebles standard. If yer wonderin’ why all this “fat” talk at SPRO, here’s the guy who names all the SPRO squarebills:
8. Kistler Feel N Reel Rods
Have mentioned these sticks before so will let TW do the talkin’ this time:
> …combine the very best attributes of graphite and fiberglass to give anglers the ultimate rod for moving baits. Fusing S2 hybrid blank material with T800 high-modulus graphite, the Kistler KLX Feel N Reel Series Casting Rods
maintain the light weight of graphite while providing the softer power of fiberglass.
> Built with moderate actions across the board, this innovative blank composition compensates for recent innovations in the fishing industry, like surgically sharpened hooks, zero-stretch lines, and high-speed reels, resulting in less pulled hooks and less heartbreak.
Will say again: Most of us fish with rods that are TOO STIFF, all the dang time.
9. Alpha Angler Mag-Rebound Rod
Jake Boomer from Alpha be sayin’: “Once you go S-Glass, you’ll never go back.” What he means:
> “The advantages of crankbait fishing with S2 grade fiberglass can’t be ignored.
> “Our anglers experienced great success using our Rebound Rod
for moving baits like Chatterbaits, Rat-L-Traps and spinnerbaits. So much success that it created a demand for a larger, more powerful version. So our engineers worked with staffers, deep-cranking professionals and customers to create the “Dirty Harry” version of the Rebound, the Mag-Rebound
> “It handles deep cranks, ‘Traps, squarebills and every manner of Chatterbait, all of which are the highest-percentage applications for fall fishing.”
Here’s Jake and Chuck Norris’ nephew talkin’ ’bout it: