Deep Cranking Tutorial – Tips For Throwing Big Lips

When the heat of the summer has the bass and other gamefish species deep, there aren’t many tools better at generating strikes than a deep diving crankbait. Their profile, wild wobble, and erratic action drives bass wild – often igniting a school that previously had lockjaw.

Unfortunately though, despite their reputation as big-bass catchers, many anglers are afraid to fish big-lipped plugs because they’re not super straightforward, they can be tiring to fish, and many anglers are afraid to lose them.

So, to help shorten your big-lip learning curve, we’ve pulled together the following tips for deep cranking.

Do your homework:

The first step to deep cranking success is to fish them in the right spots. We consider anything that dives deeper than 10 feet to be a deep diver, so you’ll want to look at a contour map and identify significant structure located in the 10-20 foot range.

Points, creek channel bends and ledges, bluff walls, humps, and rock piles are all common places to catch bass deep cranking. Once you’re on the water, idle over each spot you’ve identified to better understand its specific shape and look for baitfish using your electronics. Baitfish (or even better, the telltale “streaking arches” that signify feeding bass) is a good sign, but not always a deal breaker.

Use the right rod:

Pulling big-lipped baits all day long can result in tired arms and sore shoulders if you’re not prepared. To prevent fatigue, fish them on a low gear ratio reel. Most brands make a reel in the 4.8-5.4:1 range that is designed for deep cranking. The lower gear ratio gives the reel more power, which allows it to do the work for you.

Bigger deep divers also require long casts to reach their full depth, so most deep cranking experts rely on long, 7 foot 6 inch or longer parabolic crankbait rods. The best line for deep cranking is 10-12 pound fluorocarbon because it sinks and has good abrasion resistance.

Get a plug knocker:

One of the biggest reasons anglers don’t use deep divers is because they’re afraid to lose them. Unlike a shallow crankbait, if you hang a plug in 15 feet of water, you’re not likely to get it back – unless you get a plug knocker.

Plug knockers are essentially weights that you clip on your line, slide down to the bait, and then shake to dislodge your free your bait from a snag. There are several styles available that either have their own line or clip to your line. Plug knockers are extremely effective and pay for themselves with just a couple of uses, removing the fear from deep cranking.

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