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, December 18, 2008

• Suspend Strip Placement

One thing I rarely use on my crankbaits and hard jerkbaits are suspend strips. When I do, I'm glad I took the time to understand the importance of placement. I am generally satisfied with the swimming depths and action of the lures I use. Some cranks and jerkbaits are designed to suspend right out of the box. Suspend strips are good for the ones that are a little more buoyant. Not only does adding a suspend strip keep your lure in the strike zone longer, but it helps get the lure to a different depth. If properly placed, you can also alter the swimming action of the lure.

Suspend strips are great because you don't have to drill any holes or modify the actual structure of the lure in any way. They are simple strips or dots of lead with an adhesive backing. They generally peel off with ease causing little, if any damage to the paint.

The best place to put suspend strips is on the belly of the lure arranged along the midline. Placing more weight at the front of a crankbait or jerkbait makes the lure dive deeper, but sacrifices action. If you would rather have the lure suspend horizontally and stay in the strike zone longer, place the weight in the middle of the lure. When you stop the retrieve, the lure will not start to float up right away, but suspend at that depth for a moment. Adding multiple strips can change the rate the lure rises. Placing a suspend strip towards the rear of the lure gives it a wider side-to-side wobble and also makes it run more shallow. If evenly balanced, you can successfully produce a desired action by placing the strips along the side of a lure too.

Let me discuss and also illustrate in more specific terms. On a crankbait, as pictured below, you essentially have three options and a questionable fourth. A suspend strip can be placed at the front in between the first hook and the lip. Placement here will allow the crankbait to dive a little deeper and perhaps suspend a little longer. The second option is to place a suspend strip behind the front hook. The third option is to place a strip closer to the rear of the lure. Divide the rear section of the crankbait into thirds. If placed in the first third directly behind the hook, you can expect the lure to suspend horizontally. If you'd like a wider wobble, move the suspend strip to the middle or latter third.

Placing suspend strips on jerkbaits works essentially the same, but you have more places to put them. Most hard jerkbaits have three treble hooks. Again, if placed in front of the first hook, the lure will dive deeper. If placed at the rear, just in front of the last hook, the lure will have a very wide wobble. The middle section is where you have more options. A suspend strip placed in the middle and proximally will allow the lure to suspend horizontally, but still dive somewhat deeper. When placed more distally, you can achieve a more balanced horizontal suspension or a wider wobble. Putting a suspend strip at the very end in front of the rear hook is generally not advised as it tends to create too wide of a wobble.

Also keep in mind that adding heavier hooks and split rings will change how your lure moves and suspends. Lures will be have differently in colder, more dense water, although most bass fishermen call it quits when the cold stuff hits. Lures will float higher in colder water, but suspend deeper when the water is warmer.

The main reason I don't use suspend strips is because of the effect they have on action.

Adding weight to lighter lures can also improve casting distance to some extent.

Don't overload the lure with weight.

Lead tape works just as well and is much cheaper.

Experimentation is encouraged.

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


Wes said...

Good info. I hate having to use these as well. Too many times would I put lead strips on my bait and it leans to one side or the other, or doesn't swim straight in the water. I have to say I never thought of use a heavier split ring before, but it makes sense.