Nania’s deep cranking tacklebox

Deep crankbaits come in a dizzying array of shapes, sizes, actions and color patterns. 
That’s good for tackling any conceivable angling scenario, but how do you fill a tacklebox with just the basics? 
Bassmaster Opens EQ pro Joey Nania has you covered with this simple selection that will get you started. Watch him fill this empty tacklebox with everything you need to get started, to match the right size and color of crankbait to the prevailing food forage, and where and how to apply those baits for successful deep cranking. 
For the deep-water cranking zone Nania opts for two different models from the 6th Sense Cloud 9 Series, which cover the 4- to 25-foot depth zone. 
Each lure in the series is designed to run at specific depth ranges, depending on line test and diameter, as Nania will note. 
Cloud 9 C10 (Shad Drone)
The C10 is 2.65 inches, weighs 1/2 ounce and runs from 4 to 8 feet. “Every simple system should have this size, which can run over 10 feet depending on line diameter.” Nania typically chooses 10- to 12-pound test to make the lure hit the bottom. 
“Making it contact isolated objects like rock or wood is a must to get the attention of the bass,” Nania said. “Every simple system should include a few shad patterns, and this one covers the various shades of white or silver in lifelike colors.”
Cloud 9 C10 (Custom Bluegill)
“An underutilized deep crankbait color is bluegill, and the bass get accustomed to seeing so many shad patterns,” Nania said. Which is exactly why this pattern goes in the box to give the fish a head-turning, reaction strike lure. 
The fact is that bluegill inhabit deeper brushpiles during summer, and they become a top forage for bass. “This pattern is a must for northern states and natural lakes without shad, making it the best natural imitation of what they eat.”
Cloud 9 C10 (Wild Lava Craw)
“There are times when you need to throw something different to stand out, like a crawfish,” Nania said of another key bass forage, for largemouth and smallmouth. 
“This pattern features a red spot on the tail that looks like a crawfish scooting away.” Add this to your tacklebox as a change-up pattern when bass aren’t feeding on shad, or in the absence of them in your lake.
Cloud 9 C15 (Blue-Treuse Shad)
The C15 is 3 inches, weighs 1 ounce and runs 12 to 19 feet; Nania says it will hit 22 feet with thinner diameter lines. 
“When bass are deep, they feed on brighter colors, and the chartreuse sides of this bait get their attention in darker water at those depths.”
Cloud 9 C15 (Ghost Pro Shad) 
“In deeper water, the first goal is to fire the school and get them to bite, and keep that bite going,” Nania said. 
This natural pattern does the trick, with a dual-purpose role. “In clear water on northern waters, this pattern is ideal in shallow depth ranges for smallmouth.”
Cloud C15 (Custom Bluegill)
Nania calls this the deeper-running version of the C9 of the same pattern for your tacklebox, and a reminder that bass don’t eat shad all the time. 
Fish it around deeper brushpiles and hard-shell bottoms where bluegill (and bass) spend the summer.
And there you have it. A simple solution for choosing deep crankbaits that will cover the water column, while matching the colors of forage fed upon by largemouth and smallmouth.