Crankbaits That Hunt: What You Need To Know

The hunt for bass is on when you throw a certain type of crankbait. Bass fishing becomes more like hunting when you use wide-wobbling crankbaits that tend to start off running straight but then veer off course in one direction, then straighten its course and veer in the opposite direction. 

Wiggle Wart - Hunting crankbaits

The hunting crankbait trend started with balsa square bill crankbaits because the buoyant, bulky lures with short, stubby lips wandered back and forth in the water looking like beagles in a field hunting for rabbits. The trouble with the early versions of balsa crankbaits was inconsistency in the running action with some models darting off-course in the erratic hunting retrieve while others ran more on a straighter course or turned on its side and planed on one side.  Lure manufacturers throughout the years have developed balsa and plastic crankbaits that can run at various depths with the same hunting retrieve of the square bill crankbaits

Hunting Crankbaits
The Storm Wiggle Wart is among the most popular hunting crankbaits in the game.

I like to use these crankbaits whenever I fish wood cover such as brush piles or laydown logs because the lures deflect so well off of objects and rarely get snagged. These crankbaits are also great for deflecting off rocks to imitate crayfish trying to escape from bass.  I also throw hunting crankbaits whenever I find shad in the shallows because the evasive swimming action of the lure mimics a fleeing baitfish. The hard, enticing wobble of a hunting crankbait also draws strikes from inactive bass. 

Hunting crankbaits
The Storm Mag Wart is a beefed up version of their orginal crank.

My favorite tackle for throwing a hunting square bill crankbait is a 7-foot medium-heavy fiberglass rod matched with a high speed (7.1:1 or higher gear ratio) baitcast reel. I favor the fiberglass rod because the rod’s slow-action bend lets the fish take the lure before I feel the strike so I get a better hook set. The high-speed reel is ideal for running the crankbait at a fast clip to generate the erratic hunting retrieve. I fill my reel with 20-pound monofilament line because the thicker line winds into the reel quicker than thinner line and allows me to run the crankbait faster for hunting bass.  

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