Downey’s shallow crankbait box

Crankbaits have morphed into specialty baits of their own.

Once upon a time, a crankbait was, well a crankbait. You filled up a utility box with lipped plastic and later balsa baits that had limited applications compared to what you see in these used by Bassmaster Elite Series pro Bob Downey. 
The original long-lipped, deep divers morphed into baits capable of reaching specific depth ranges, allowing the angler to home in on specific strike zones while keeping the bait in the hunt longer before venturing out of bounds in depth range. 
Rapala leads the pack in the category with its lineup of premium balsa baits, all designed for specific depth ranges. Lined up on the inside lid of a utility box are Bassmaster Elite Series pro Bob Downey’s top picks for the Rapala OG and DT series. 
“There really are crankbaits that are meant to reach a preset strike zone quickly, and stay there,” said Downey. “That allows you to maximize the bait’s location where the bass are feeding or holding.” Check out the evidence for that factual statement and stock up for the season. 
Rapala OG Slim 6
A premium balsa wood, flat-sided body produces a medium wobble and tight side-to-side action, and high-quality VMC Black Nickel 1x Strong Hybrid Treble Hooks ensure solid hooksets. Length: 2 3/4 inches. Weight: 1/2 ounce. Depth: 6 feet. 
“The OG Slim 6 is a bait that I’ll use for early season cold water cranking when I want a bigger profile,” Downey said. “It’s ideal for lakes with better than average quality fish.” The bait is also productive when cranked over shallow grass. 
Rapala OG Tiny 4 
Think squarebill crankbaits and a big profile bait comes to mind. That’s what makes this bait a standout. All squarebills aren’t created equal. The ultra-thin, balsa wood body of the OG Tiny 4 is ideal for tough fishing conditions and especially in cold water. Just like its OG siblings, the OG Tiny 4 features a circuit board lip that moves less water and provides sensitive feel of the bottom for better feel of the bait. Length: 2 1/4 inches. Weight: 5/16 ounce. Depth: 4 feet. 
Downey uses the OG Tiny 4 in early spring when water temperatures range between 40 and 50 degrees. “This is my go-to when the bite is tough in really cold water,” Downey said. 
Rapala OG Deep Tiny 7
The Deep Tiny 7 gets a bit deeper than the original OG Tiny 4 for an extended depth range before largemouth move into shallower water as temperatures increase. “The flat side and tight wobble make it perfect for a subtle presentation in a tough bite,” Downey said. Length: 2 1/4 inches. Weigh: 5/16 ounce. Depth 7 feet. Hook size: No. 5.
Rapala OG Rocco 5
A premium balsa body with a rounded shape make the OG Rocco 5 highly maneuverable through cover, while a circuit board lip displaces less water to increase feel of the bait through cover and bottom. The silent action is ideal for pressured bass when a subtle approach is needed. Length: 2 1/2 inches. Weight: 3/8 ounce. Depth: 5 feet. 
Downey uses the OG Rocco 5 in heavier cover or shallow rock, or around laydowns in a river. “The balsa provides high buoyancy and it comes through cover really well with the circuit board lip,” Downey said. 
Lure Jensen Speed Trap
Computer-controlled molding is the secret to the tournament-winning Speed Trap. The process creates a very thin-walled, high-action body, which produces maximum vibration while offering incredible balance. The bait is ideal for fast retrieves and won’t roll over. Available in 1/8- and 1/4-ounce models. Length: 2 1/2 inches. Weight: 1/44 ounce. Depth: 8 feet. Class: Floating.
“This is an old-school crankbait with a proven record of winning a Bassmaster Classic and other tournaments,” said Downey. “It’s a classic squarebill but with a flat bottom, flat side and almost a triangular shape that is productive in early spring around rock and grass.” 
The lure’s unique profile from the top.
Rapala DT04
The DT (Dives To) series of premium balsa crankbaits dives fast to a preset depth and stays longer in that strike zone. Carefully-placed internal weights, tapered fuselage and thin tail design creates the ultimate crankbait action. Ultra-thin polycarbonate lip digs the bait down quickly to desired depth. Length: 2 inches. Weight: 5/16 ounce. Depth: 4 feet. 
“I prefer the DT04 as a year round shallow diver and especially during springtime,” Downey said. “It covers the 2- to 4-foot strike zone and works really well when cranked over grass flats.” Reaction strikes occur when a fast retrieve is paused, allowing the bait to float upward. Downey also says the size of the DT04 makes it an ideal bluegill imitator on natural lakes. 
Rapala DT06
Downey calls the DT06 “one of the best springtime crankbaits of all time.” One of Rapala’s best-selling crankbaits — especially the Demon pattern — is good to use all year. Length: 2 inches. Weight: 3/8 ounce. Depth: 6 feet. 
“It’s the ultimate shad imitator and runs shallow to midrange,” Downey said. “It’s a must-have lure wherever you fish.” 
Rapala DT08
“The DT08 addition allows you to complete your DT lineup with a crankbait that will run up to 8 feet for deeper fish,” Downey said. 
Length: 2 inches. Weight: 3/8 ounce. Depth: 8 feet.