Whether you call them laydowns, blowdowns, or stickups, fallen shoreline timber is without question one of the best fish holding pieces of shallow cover you can find. They offer shade, hiding spots, and usually attract tons of baitfish.
Talk to your average basser about fishing laydowns, and you’ll usually hear about flipping and pitching, or maybe running a spinnerbait around them. What you don’t usually hear is discussion about cranking.
Cranking laydowns is one of the hottest techniques on both major tours, and anglers across the country are realizing that it catches big bass and allows them to fish more cover more efficiently.
The idea of throwing a crankbait into a downed tree can be a little foreign at first; most anglers instinctively try to avoid timber with their pricey cranks.
Here are 3 tips to help you get started.
1. Choose the right crank
When cranking laydowns, your choice of crankbait is critical. If you’re not using the right one, not only will you catch less fish, but you’ll also spend much more time snagged. The key aspect you’re looking for in a laydown crank is deflection, which is best provided by square-billed cranks like the Strike King KVD 1.5 and River2Sea Biggie. The square bill causes the bait to deflect off of limbs rather than ride over them – which results in far less snags. You’ll also want to gear up properly, with heavy 15 or 20 pound fluorocarbon (add some to your next box!) and a cranking rod with enough backbone to get a big one out of the tree.
2. Keep your tip up
In addition to deflection, you also want buoyancy while cranking laydowns. When the bait hits a limb, you want it to float up over it quickly and then resume its wobble. By reeling with your rod tip up, you can actually help the bait “walk” through the limbs, which will result in more bites and less snags.
3. Don’t be afraid
To get the proper deflection and trigger the most strikes, a crankbait has to continually be making contact with the branches and limbs of the laydown – which is the scariest thing to most anglers. Running a square bill along the side of a laydown will get far less strikes than running it right through the middle. Overcome the fear and throw right into the heart of each laydown. Over time you’ll be surprised at how thick of wood you can work a crankbait through.
More laydown fishing tips from Jon B.
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