Deep cranking tips

B.A.S.S.
Getting your crankbait down deep can mean the difference between a big catch and just hauling water.

About the author

Kevin VanDam

Kevin VanDam

In the world of professional bass fishing, Kevin VanDam is at the pinnacle and arguably the best in the world.

No matter where you fish, now is when a deep running crankbait really shines.

The fish are done spawning in most parts of the country; they’re schooling offshore and are aggressive.

You can catch them on other lures, but the crankbait is the most efficient for covering all depth zones.

Here’s how:

Get it to the bottom: Regardless of whether you’re fishing 6 feet or 20, make the lure deflect off the bottom to trigger more strikes.

If a bait maxes out at 18 feet, throw it in 17 feet. However, don’t throw that same lure in 8 feet of water because it’s too overpowering.

Utilize line sizes: Line diameter influences running depths. For example, the depth difference between 17- and 12-pound line is 18 inches.

That’s why I have multiple rods rigged with the same baits, yet each reel will be spooled with a different line size from 10 to 20 pound. I also crank with XPS fluorocarbon as it will dive 18 inches deeper than monofilament of the same size.

Hold the rod low: The difference in diving depth between holding the tip near the water verses up at 11 o’clock can be as much as four feet.

Use the right equipment: The 7-foot, 10-inch Quantum KVD cranking rod I use gives me additional advantages. If I kneel-and-reel with this rod, I can get the bait at least 3 feet deeper. Also, the softer tip on the composite rod allows me to launch the bait farther, which adds to diving capabilities.

My Quantum KVD reel with a 5.3:1 gear ratio is less fatiguing for cranking deep-diving lures, plus it has a wider spool that accommodates more line. The 11 ball bearings make it smooth to crank which enables me to feel the bait vibrating and bumping along the bottom.

Try long-lining for greater depth: The more line you have between your rod tip and the lure, the deeper the bait will run. For example, I can get a 6XD down to 23 feet on a long cast, but long-lining gets it to 35 plus.

Long lining is similar to trolling, but that’s not allowed in tournaments. To utilize long lining, make a long cast then idle away from the lure with the reel disengaged so that more line comes off the spool as you move away from the bait. When you get on the backside of the target area, begin the retrieve.

Weight the lures: I add running depth to my 6XD by upsizing the stock hooks with KVD Elite trebles made of heavier, larger diameter wire. The lure will suspend and even sink a little.

I also will add lead coated, Storm SusPenStrips to the throat of the lure or on the bill. Center the adhesive strips forward of the front hook hanger where the bill meets the lure body.

I’ve also clipped 1/8-ounce XPS drop-shot weights onto the front hook hanger to get the bait to dive steeper and run deeper. If you want the bait to suspend, clip off part of the bottom of the weight.

Use the wind: When possible, cast downwind and launch the lure higher so that the wind assists it. With a 5 to 10 mph wind, I can cast a 6XD 75 yards which gets me an additional 4-5 feet.

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