Summer cranking

While all my friends continue to throw Texas and Carolina rigged soft plastics at bass in the summer, I tie on my favorite crankbaits. It's not that I just want to be different. I know the bass are tired of seeing the same ol' soft plastic slide by, and my Frenzy Mag Diver can certainly trigger conditioned fish.

I first look for submerged brush piles or steep ledges in 15 to 20 feet of water. Then I methodically attack this structure to give the fish every look possible at my bait. Many anglers fail to dedicate enough time to a target, casting a couple of times and moving on. I'll completely circle the brushpile, casting along each side and across the top. I like a bright colored Frenzy, even in the clearer water, to entice a reaction bite. Fire Tiger is always a strong performer.

And the same holds for ledges, be it a creek channel or sunken roadbed. I'll cast across the ledge from deep to shallow, shallow to deep. I'll cast along the ledge's top from left to right and right to left, then repeat the cast moving along the edge and on top further from the edge. I'll even stop my retrieve and let the Frenzy slowly rise. Suspended bass can't resist.

I prefer a steady retrieve and usually choose an Abu Garcia reel with a 5.1:1 or 5.3:1 gear ratio to give the right retrieval speed. I combine the Frenzy diver with the right size of Trilene Sensation monofilament to provide just the right depth. For example, if I'm using a medium diving Frenzy and 10-pound test Sensation, I know my lure is traveling at about 10 feet deep. I can achieve that same depth with a bigger deep diver by increasing my line to 14-pound test. This offers two sizes of baits with two different looks to the bass. If my chosen Frenzy isn't diving deep enough, I turn to an Abu Garcia C4 Winch reel with a 3.8:1 gear ratio and lighter line. I can fish deeper and not wear myself out after just a few casts.

Just remember, you can cast a crankbait just about anywhere you can use a plastic worm. Give your fish a different look this summer.