I‘m a liberal leaning outdoorsman attempting to open the minds of right wingers to the idea that libs fish too. Anglers come from all walks of life, left, right, and center. Not everyone who fishes for bass is a redneck fond of Nascar, country music, and religiosity. Expect posts about largemouth bass fishing, techniques, reviews of lures and other products, but not any condemnable conservative rants. I hope to inspire the online angler community to dial down rhetoric which will do more harm than good to our sport.

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Thursday, July 3, 2008

• Rigging Crankbaits

I'm always keeping an eye on the search terms people use to get to my site. I have a post on Carolina rigging a crankbait and for some reason, people click on that search result when looking for how to rig a crankbait. I also have a post on using a three way swivel with a crankbait. While I'm no crankbait expert, I can get you started. As I've stated in previous crankbait posts, I'm not going to explain every way you can use a crankbait. It's a multitalented bait. I'm going to tell you what I've learned about rigging a crankbait and include a few things that are just beyond the basic setup.

Let's first look at the line. You probably want the crankbait to get to the intended diving depth as easy and as fast as possible. You will want to consider the type of line that can get you there. Small diameter line will move through the water easier and get your crankbait down to that desired depth. Line with a small diameter will likely have a lower test. Fluorocarbon is another option as fluoro tends to sink. It is believed to sink so much better that it should help get a crankbait down to the rated swimming depth and perhaps even a little deeper. You also want to offer a little bit of give between yourself and the fish, but at the same time, you want a solid hookset so as to not lose the fish. In terms of line, that leaves you with a tough decision to make. Lines like monofilament and copolymer tend to stretch a little bit, whereas fluorocarbon does not. Line tests out there show that FC really does stretch a little bit more than what companies claim, but for the sake of this post, assume it does not. Sensitivity is also important, but in my experience, it's all about how you hold the rod and reel. Palming a reel puts all the responsibility on the line and the rod, but handling with the foregrip while thumbing the line virtually eliminates the need for sensitive high end gear altogether.

The kind of rod is also important. While you want a solid backbone for the fight, you don't want to rip the lure out and away from the fish either. That's why most crankbait enthusiasts prefer a tip with a bit of give to it. This allows a bass to suck the lure in just long enough so the lure is in the right spot when you yank. Most crankbait anglers like fiberglass rods for cranking, but nowadays, you can find a lot of decent graphite or graphite/glass rods out there for specific techniques. Use what you find comfortable and reliable.

As with any technique, the knot between you and the lure plays a very important role. There are a few knots you can tie. The idea is to tie a knot that allows the crankbait to swim true and move freely without restriction. I have learned that although I can describe how to tie a knot, having a visual illustration is a better learning tool, so with each of the knots described below, I have included a helpful link to assist you.

A Palomar knot is probably what many of us use just because it's so easy to tie. Others use some version of a loop knot which allows for less restricted movement. For example, the Homer Rhode Loop Knot is supposed to be ideal for crankbaits. It's not as straightforward as the Palomar knot. You're going to be tying two overhand knots. The first overhand knot will go around the eye on the crank. Don't tighten it down yet though. Run the free end back through the center of that overhand knot. Then tie a second overhand knot with the main line just above the first knot and run the free end through the center of that knot as well. Tighten it down and it should hold. The size of your loop will depend on how close you tie the second overhand knot to the first. A modification of this knot to prevent additional slipping is to double the line by wrapping the free end around the main line a couple of times before running it through the second overhand knot.

A Non Slip Loop Knot (Photo) is an alternative to the Homer Rhodes. Tie an overhand knot and then run the free end through the eye of the crankbait. Then run it back through the center of your overhand knot, wrap the free end around the main line four or five times (similar to a uni knot technique). Then turn it back the way you came running it through the overhand knot a second time. Tighten the knot and you're done. To tighten this one, you have to hold the main line with one hand and pull the tag end to start. Then tighten the rest of the way by pulling the main line.

The Rapala Knot takes this knot one step further by running the tag end through the overhand knot as just described and then tying an additional overhand knot using the loop going from the end of your twist through the second overhand knot. This knot is illustrated here courtesy of animatedknots.com. The difference between the Non Slip Loop and the Rapala Knot is in steps seven, eight, and nine of that illustration. The same site describes a Perfection Loop which might also be another option.
See Rapala Knot Diagram (PDF) - Photo

Another knot to consider using is the King Sling Knot. I don't see much written about this one and most of the images illustrating the knot are all the same. It looks as though they came from the Fisherman's Knot-Tying Chart. Run the line through the eye of the crankbait and make a loop. Then make another loop with the doubled line. You're going to make four twists with the doubled line leaving a good sized loop at the bottom. Most of the illustrations say to do this holding the bait in your right hand and twist around the tag end with the main line. The loop has to be large enough for the next step. You have to run the crankbait down through this loop. Tighten the knot by pulling both the free end and main line making sure you leave the loop the size you want.

As a late addition to the knot repertoire, the Pitzen knot, also known as the 16-20 knot, is both a strong and easy knot to tie. In addition, it takes only a matter of seconds to tie. You can watch a video illustrating how to tie the Pitzen knot here, but I'll explain it briefly now. Take the tag end and run it through the eye. Bring it back up parallel to the main line, essentially making a long loop between your hand and the lure spanning about five or six inches in length. Extend the length of the tag end four or five inches more and then, with a fluid motion, wrap it around the doubled loop of line you created. Make five or six twists and bring the tag end up into a loop you've formed at the top near your hand. Pull the tag end through. Then cinch it down by pulling the tag end to tighten the twists. Then pull the main line to slide the knot down up against the eye of your lure or hook. Watch the video and you'll understand all of this.

You can also tie to a split ring or a snap swivel. A split ring will change the wobble action of the lure. You can choose from either a round or oval split ring. A snap swivel can help do the same thing. However if you use it on a crankbait designed for fast retrieves such as a rattle trap, you might find that the snap swivel makes the lure swim up and on its side. Any time you use a split ring, be aware that the two ends of the ring are often sharp enough to damage the line, so align your knot so that it does not rub up against these two points. If you opt for a snap swivel, you have the ability to make quick lure changes, especially when feeling out the size and color preference of your target fish. Whether you're a knot or swivel person is a heavily contested debate, so I'll avoid taking sides. Use what gives you confidence and the fish will follow.

Related Posts:
C-rig a Crankbait
Crankbait + 3-way Swivel = New Rig
Suspend Strip Placement
Tune Cranks to Swim to One Side

Related Links:
Crankbait ABC's


Anonymous said...

very nice. i love fishing