Unlocking bass: 3 keys to deep cranking

Going offshore for bass is often what separates the men from the boys in tournaments

Tim Horton
Deep cranking has paid big dividends for Tim Horton on the tournament trail.

About the author

Tim Horton

Tim Horton

Tim Horton won the 2000 Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year award as a rookie and is an 11-time Bassmaster Classic qualifier.

Figuring out deep, offshore bass is a real challenge to most anglers and often what separates tournament winners from entry fee donors. The ability to turn your back on the bank and catch fish that rarely see a bait is a major step in any angler's development.

Here are three keys to successful deep cranking that I know will help to put more bass in your boat.

1. It's all about the tools

Just as with any other job, you've got to have the right tools. When you're talking about deep cranking, it starts with rod, reel and line.

I like a 7- to 7 1/2-foot long medium to medium-heavy rod for my deep cranking. The long rod facilitates a long cast, which helps you get your bait down deeper and keep it in the strike zone longer. It also helps when fighting a hooked fish. You don't want too stiff a rod when crankbait fishing or you risk pulling the treble hooks out of the fish.

My favorite rod for deep cranking is my signature series 7-foot, 3-inch cranking rod in the Duckett Fishing White Ice lineup.

When it comes to reels, you want a fairly large spool capacity and about a 5:1 gear ratio. For me, the perfect cranking reel is the new Lew's BB1. It's the smoothest, longest casting reel I've ever thrown, and it picks up about 21 inches of line with every turn of the handle, which is the perfect balance for my deep cranking — fast enough to get the bait down, but slow enough that you're not fighting it all the way back to the boat.

As for line, I do most of my deep cranking with 10- or 12-pound-test fluorocarbon. The small diameter of lighter lines plus the density of fluorocarbon allows for a long cast and gets my baits deep.