For Kelly Jordon, the hot months of summer have come to mean only one thing, that it’s time to fish deep-diving crankbaits, not only for numbers of bass but also for big bass,as well. The veteran Yamaha Pro has caught more bass in the nine to 12-pound range with big crankbaits than he can count, and had plenty of days where the lures have produced 50 or more fish in the four to six-pound class.
“Deep cranking, typically in the 10 to 20-foot depth range, is absolutely at its best during the heat of the summer because fish tend to gather in large schools close to baitfish, and a crankbait imitates that baitfish better than any other lure,” notes Jordon, a multiple tournament winner in Bassmaster® Elite competition and former Lake Fork guide.
“The deep-cranking season generally begins in mid to late May and continues through August, and it works on lakes everywhere, so there are ample opportunities to enjoy the technique.”
During the summer, continues the Yamaha Pro, bass often gather on the ends of deep points; on top of humps, ridges, and other high spots; over submerged roadbeds; and along channel bends. Jordon’s favorite place to look for these schools is off the ends of main lake points. Even though the bass themselves may be relatively shallow, deep water will usually be nearby.
“Very often you can see the bass on your electronics as you idle over the end of a point, or you might see the baitfish,” he continues, “and sometimes you may need to look at a particular place several times during the day. Schools of bass will use the very same places year after year, but because the bait- fish move, they may not be on a certain point the entire day, and sometimes they may not even arrive until later in the afternoon.
“The presence of baitfish is important, and the more you see on your electronics, the more you can be assured that bass aren’t far away.”
Several manufacturers produce crankbaits that will dive into the 18 to 20-foot range, and these are the ones Jordon recommends using. Using a light fluorocarbon line, such as 10-pound test, will help a crankbait not only dive deeper but also faster and with more action, and he also suggests using a casting rod with a very soft action that allows for longer casts so the lure stays in the strike zone longer.
“The most common way to fish a point is to keep your boat in deeper water and cast shallow so your retrieve brings the crankbait down the slope of the point,” adds the Yamaha Pro, “but this certainly isn’t the only way to fish. You may have better results actually casting completely across the point so your lure comes up, across the top, and then down the other side. Just make a long cast, hold your rod tip down, and start reeling steadily.
“You may have to try several different angles until you find one that produces the best. A crankbait will always be more effective if it’s digging into the bottom during your retrieve, so that means you’re probably going to lose a few on stumps and snags, but you’re also going to catch more bass.”
On Lake Fork, Jordon has experienced many days during which he and a client boated as many as 75 bass in the four to six-pound range in a single afternoon from the same point. Included among them were usually several in the nine to 12-pound range.
“One day I had a fisherman who had never experienced this type of fishing before, and he was just amazed at the number of big bass we were catching. Then he hooked one he brought all the way to boat before it jumped and threw the crank- bait. I saw the bass clearly and I’m sure it probably weighed at least 14 pounds, one of the biggest bass I’ve ever seen.
“It lay on the water right beside the Yamaha outboard for a second and I almost got it with the net before it dived out of reach, but that’s just a clear example of how effective a deep-diving crankbait can be during the summer.”