Posts Tagged Crankbaits

Strike King

KVD 1.5Anyone that has fished with me before knows I carry a box loaded with Strike King crankbaits. In particular, there will be many KVD 1.5 crankbaits. This has quickly became one of my favorite lures to fish around stumps and weedlines. I have been using these lures since Kevin Vandam won the Bassmaster Classic on the Louisiana Detla using them. The lures have held up great throughout the years and I have caught many fish on them.

This past fall before a tournament I bought 6 KVD 1.5 in 2 different colors. When I got there to practice I made three casts with the first one out of the package and the lip broke off. A little surprised because this has never happened to be with a strike king lure. When happened next really surprised me. In the next hour I broke 2 more lips off and put the rest in the box for the next day. The next morning was the tournament and I broke 2 more of them. Now I am sure you are reading this thinking I was cranking into stumps, rip rap or bridge piers. The truth is that I was fishing a weedline and I never slap my lures off the water when there are weeds on them. To say the least I was very disappointed.

The next week I wrote Strike King an email stating what had happened to with their lures and if they had changed anything that could make them weaker. Through conversation with several people showed great concern at their lures failure. This may have surprised me more than the lures breaking. Those people did not know me at all yet believed what I told them about how the lures broke and how often I had used them before without a problem. It is for this reason and this reason alone that I will continue to use KVD 1.5. They are great lures and the company stands by the product. When our conversations had ended they had asked me to ship them back to them to analize. In return they sent me replacement lures in the colors I desired. I am not telling you that so you contact Strike King to try and get free lures if you have broken ones. I wrote this because I am showing how a great company stands behind its product even for the weekend angler.

This experience has opened my eyes to how companies can work with fishermen to better their product. I will not hesitate to contact companies in the future if I am having problems or see flaws that could make the product better. It will not be for free items, but for the common good of fishermen everywhere that may buy the same tackle or equipment.



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Deep Diving Crankbaits for Largemouth Bass

Here the Linders give some tips on how to catch largemouth bass on crankbaits.


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Post Spawn Transition Areas

Summer is now here and the bass fishing, in Western PA, has heated up along with the hot temperatures. The Largemouth Bass have completed their spawing for the year and are now in a post spawn pattern. Post spawn largemouth will hold in the transition areas in post spawn until they enter their summer patterns. Bass fishing is all about opportunities and catching the fish at the right moment. Post spawn largemouth feed heavily to gain weight after the spawn. This is a fine opportunity to locate schools of bass on staging areas. A staging area can be anything from a point, hump, roadbed, wood, rubble, etc. The key factor to locating the school is finding where the bait is and also finding the areas closer to deeper water. If you can find these areas, all you have to do is look for the cover on the structure and that’s where you will find success. The baits that work this time of year depend on the forage and also the lake that you are fishing. Covering water with fast moving search baits will give you the clues you need to locate the fish. Although the post spawn can be breif, it is a great opportunity to hit your local waterway and test your skills to find the bass. Here’s a few videos I took from a great day on a small lake. Boated or lost around 40 bass all in the 3 to 4 lb range and a couple over 5+! Post spawn patterns and transition areas can equal big bass days for the opportunistic bass angler.

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Stormy Shenago Lake

Some friends, my dad and I spent the weekend camping and fishing at Shenago Lake. The campground was not crowded at all. Which was due to the forecast of rough weather that was going to hit that area. With the recent rains the water had risen, but not an excessive amount. My estimate was that the water was nearly 1 foot high when we arrived, and rose another foot while we where there. The water clearity varied greatly. On the main lake there was 4 feet of clearity, but in the feeder creeks you were lucky to see 6″ in the muddy water.

Friday evening we started fishing around 8:00 pm and fished until 9:30. We wanted to see if the striper were active, and if we could get a topwater bite. The night was pretty successful with the 3 of us catching over 10 bass. Most of which were on top water. None of the fish were big, but topwater is fun no matter what the size of the fish is. Tony, one of my best friends, even managed to hook up with a nice walleye on a spinnerbait.

Saturday Dad and I headed out on the water and fished from 7-12 in the morning. It was probably the single best morning I have ever had at Shenago. We managed to boat 26 bass and a catfish. We caught fish on buzzbaits, spooks, multiple crankbaits, tubes, beavers, and brush hogs. Colors were wide ranged, but the ones that seemed to work best were transparent/natural colors. The depth of water we caught fish varied greatly. We caught them flipping the shallows, topwater shallow, and deep and shallow cranking. It seemed like the fish were all over the board, but when you found 1 you found multiple fish. We headed in for lunch and ended up sitting out a pretty severe storm until 3. At that point we wanted to get on the water. The three of us started fishing again. I tied a crankbait on and never put it down for the next 2 hours. I caught 2 pike, catfish, multiple bass, and a couple crappie. Then the next severe storm came through so we called it a day.

We woke up Sunday to bad weather and high winds. That being said we thought it best not to head out on the water. For the amount of time we were able to fish we were pretty successful, which makes me anxious to get back out there.

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Clear Water

Berkly hollow belly swimbaits are great options when fishing clear water.

If you are fishing clear water for any species of fish you must match the forage of the body of the water.  This is well painted jerkbaits and crankbaits can really do well.  Also, life like swimbaits are a good options.  If you are using spinnerbaits or chatterbaits you should use a more natural looking skirt with the proper blades to match.  The same is true with crawfish.  Depending on what part of the country and type of structure that  you are fishing crawfish take on different color patterns.  Knowing which pattern will lead to a higher success rate.

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Potomac River – Regional Championship

Recently I competed in the Bassmaster Weekend Series regional championship at the Potomac River.  The tournament was held on October 16 and 17, but I decided that with a new triton boat on the line and a bid to the nation championship on the line that I would go practice from Monday the 12th thru Thursday the 15th.  I was fortunate enough to room with a great group of guys from Pennsylvania.  I would like to thank Steve Hughes, Gus Glasgow, Ted Glasgow, Steve Allard, Mark Hughes, and my dad, Ron Cancilla, for a very enjoyable trip.  It was nice to be part of a group of guys that acted like a team to help one another develop winning patterns together.  For me it was my first trip down to the Potomac River and the guys gave me important information on dangerous areas and what to look for as far as fish habitat.

Before I left for my trip all I heard was how great a fishery that the Potomac River has become.  I believe that if we would have got better weather I would have seen that.  Unfortunately, with falling water temps all week, the conditions got more difficult as time went on.  Here is my experience.

Monday was my true first day of practice and decided that I should stay close to the launching site of the tournament.  The tournament was launching from Smallwood State Park on the Maryland side of the Potomac River.  Smallwood State Park is a beautiful facility, but has a $10 launching fee per day.  Smallwood State Park is located on Mattawomen Creek and is known for its number of bass.  That was apparent right away as I boated a bunch of small keepers on white spinnnerbaits, chatterbaits, buzzbaits, and a series 1XS strike king crankbait.  A keep largemouth bass during this season at the Potomac River is 12 inches and most of the fish that I found were in the 13-14″ range.  Around mid day I decided that I would try a couple of my lake spots that I wanted to hit with little success.  I did manage to catch a snakehead.  For those who don’t know these are fish are an invasive species that you are supposed to kill when you catch them.  I however did not kill the snakehead that I caught because I didn’t have a picture of the fish with me to determine if that is truly what I caught.  Later that night I confirmed that is what I caught.  After Some main lake spots, I decided to run to Belmont Bay and the creek in the back of it.  The water looked fantastic, but I only managed 3 keepers in there.  The water temperature was 65+ degrees depending on where we were fishing.  The weather was warm 70’s and mostly sunny.

Tuesday I decided to make my longest run of practice.  I decided to fish Aquia Creek, the Arcandale Flats, and Wades Bay.  There is not a lot for me to right about Tuesday because I only managed to catch 4 bass.  The best was on a series 4 strike king crankbait.  It was Tuesday that I finally saw the results of catching the tides wrong.  However, it would take me until the last day of the tournament to learn how to fish the tide change properly.

Wednesday I decided that I would spend less time running the big motor and more time trying to catch fish.  I decided to fish Chickamoxen Creek, main river areas, and 1 other small creek.  Up until 2:30 I was having very little success only catching 2 keepers all morning.  I had found some rip rap in about 3 1/2 feet of water at high tide.  Feeling a bit defeated I switch to finesse fishing a shakey head worm on a football shakey head jig.  Wow, did it work!!!  I stuck 4 fish on the 400 yards of water and had many more hits.  I figured that I would have had about 13lbs of fish with my best five fish that day and was confident that I would get those fish to myself in the tournament.  The weather starting changing Wednesday though.  It started sunny, but the wind picked up and overcast move in.  The water temperature had started to drop as well.

Thursday I decided to try to find more rip rap for my shakey jigs.  The weather had turned nasty though.  Cold rainy conditions should have allowed for my pattern to hold up, but it killed the bite.  Around 9:30 I decided I would give Belmont Bay and its creek another try.  I had no success.  Around 11:00 I decided that I was going to start at the Occoquan River mouth and fish the weed line with crankbaits, spinnerbaits, and chattebaits, until I found a spot with some fish or I found a lure that worked.  After about 1/2 mile and 15 lures I found a lure and stretch that was loaded with keepers.  They weren’t big keepers, but I figured it got tough these fish may get me into the top 50.  My lure of choice was a lucky craft flat crankbait that had a less aggressive wobble in about 5-7 feet of water.  The water temperature was now around 58 Degrees and falling.

The first day of the tournament was Friday and I managed to draw 1st flight and boat 25.  That made me feel good since there were 167 boats in the tournament.  The weather was rainy and windy and the air temperature would never get higher than 45 degrees.  I had made my mind up the night before that I would start on the best fish that I found with my shakey head pattern.  From 7:15 – 10:45 I worked these fish hard and only managed to catch 1 keeper that was 12 1/4″.  My rider managed a small limit using a white spinnerbait.  At this point I decided to make the run into the Occoquan River and work the fish I had found the day before.  Over the next 3+ hours I caught 12-15 more keepers on the same lucky craft crankbait working a short stretch of water.  The key to the spot was that at low tide the fish located themselves on the weed edge.  Pulling crankbaits through the weeds was frustrating, but it was producing fish.  At 1:30 I decided to leave the fish and try a couple of spots on the main river that I though could give me a big bite.  Check-in came and I managed no more keepers.  I weighted 5 keeper largemouth bass that weighed 8.34 pounds.  For the Potomac River those are bad numbers, but I was sitting in 37th place.  The game planning started for the next day.

Saturday morning came and I was in 2nd flight and was boat 112.  The wait in the morning about killed me, but the weather was even more brutal.  The air temperature would once again never break 45 degree and it would rain/sleet all day.  Through the course of the night I had decided that I was going to sit on the one school of fish I had located in the Occoquan River all day.  What I hadn’t truly realized yet is how the tide effects where the fish were located in the spot I was fishing.  I ran to my spot right away and started working my fish with the same lucky craft crankbait.  After 2 hours of fishing my stretch I had no keepers on my weed edge.  Then I remembered the words that Steve told me before I left that morning.  “You will be surprised how shallow that the fish will go when it is high tide.”  I pulled out my spinnerbait rod opened my box and picked out a spinnerbait with 2 small nickel willow blades and a pink/white skirt.  Normally, I would only throw this spinnerbait for smallmouth, but I was desperate.  Three casts after I started beating the bank I caught my first keeper.  Then it was back to nothing.  Figuring it was a fluke I decide to work my weed edge with some other lures for another hour.  Once again no luck.  At this point the tide was going out so I decided to work the weeds in between the bank and my weed edge.  I decided that I would also drift to not spook the fish.  Oh my how it work.  In the next 10 minutes I loaded the well with a small limit.  But I had my limit.  As I finished my drift I realized that 10 boats saw me catching fish and swarmed my area.  Knowing that the fish were shallow I knew that many trolling motors and depth finders would kill the bite in a hurry.  And it did!  I never caught another fish shallow.  Slowly the boats disappeared and around 1:00 I was the last boat on my stretch again.  At this point I figured that the tide was such that the fish would have relocated at the weed edge.  Since the water had dropped all the water to 52 degree I made a lure selection that even I didn’t believe I was using.  I went to a lucky craft point 78.  You have to understand that if there is one technique that I feel inferior in using is hard body jerkbaits.  But you want to talk about instant results, my first cast I caught a keeper on a 5 second pause.  It would be the first of about 15 fish that I would catch in the next 1 1/2 hours.  Using a 5 -10 second pause proved to be key in getting strikes.  Looking back I wish I would have used the lure all morning because I think I would have caught more fish, but it was the adjustment I needed to move up the leader board.  Day 2 of the tournament I weighed 5 largemouth bass that weighed 7.81 pounds.

As weigh-in concluded I knew that my 10 bass weighing 16.15lbs would be close to the top 20 anglers who would receive a check.  I ended up finishing 21st out of 167 competitors.  I felt very good about my finish because I had never been there, I had a bad practice, and I made the adjustments I needed to.  Like most tournaments I did make a few minor mistakes that cost me probably 2 or 3 lbs and several places in the standing.  Even so, I reached my ultimate goal of going to the national championship at Lake Dardanelle in Arkansas.  Starting November 1st I will be competing against 199 other competitors for $100,000 and a bid to the Bassmaster Classic this February.  Check back in a couple weeks to see how that trip goes.

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Another Tough Day at Wilhelm

roadbed Oct1809

Sonar from the roadbed on Oct 18, 2009

Took at trip to Lake Wilhelm on Sunday with my Dad.  It wasn’t the warmest day on the water but it is October so fishing in the cold comes with the territory.  It was 38 degree with 15-20 mph winds, brrrr.  Water temp was 49 degrees. We launched around 10:00 AM from Launch #4.  We started fishing on some humps and roadbeds with a shad colored crankbaits and jigs for the first 2 hours without a hit. I’m pretty sure there were fish down there, see sonar, they were just not willing to eat for us.  Next we moved down the lake to a weed bed and was able to get two hit on a black and blue jig but didn’t get hooked up.  We then went to some laydowns but still couldn’t get hit.  We made one finial stop on the way back up the lake in a small weed patch in 5-7 feet of water and I was able to finally get a fish.  I nice 3lb largemouth on craw tube.  The fish were not eating as good as I was hoping but it was a beautiful day on the water.

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Past Weekend on the Water


I spent another Friday and Saturday at Pymatuning Lake with my dad this past weekend.  Friday was a practice day and man things couldn’t have gone better.  Everything we threw we caught largemouth and smallmouth.  We had a spot where crankbaits were working, another spot where buzzbaits where working, and we even found what we thought was a school of smallmouth on a roadbed.  In about 5 hours of being on the water we had boat about 20 bass in about 10 spots and did not set the hook on the same number of strikes.

In the Keystone Bass Buddy Tournament Saturday things went south.  We decided that we would start by fishing the roadbed for smallies.  Instead we found a school of 13 inch largemouth and about 5 nice crappie.  It gave us a nice limit, but these fish were not going to help us win the tournament.  We decided to go to the crankbait spot next because the size of the fish should have been better.  However, the only thing that we caught in that spot was a 8lb walleye.  After a couple of quick stops we decided to go try our buzzbait spot.  Instead of a buzzbait bite we found a spinnerbait/chatterbait bite that help us call multiple fish.  Unfortunately, we lost 2 fish in that bay that would have help us greatly.  In the end we were very disappointed.

dscf1265Sunday my wife, my friend and I decided to head up to Presque Isle and Lake Erie to try to get some spawning bass.  The wind had another idea.  It was a very rough day, but we still managed a couple nice smallies and a handful of largemouth.

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Lake Arthur Cranking….

Saturday my dad and I went to Lake Arthur in hopes of finding some walleye.  In my experiences on Lake Arthur I have caught many walleye while using a crankbait for bass, so we decided to try our luck at getting some walleye working crankbaits on the points, road beds and rocky shorelines. Sorry to say that we didn’t catch any walleye on this trip.  We were able to catch a few fish though. We ended up with 4 really nice crappie, a bass, a musky, and a carp.  The fish we caught came on DT-10s Yes a carp on a crankbait.   We had a scale but really didn’t have a way to measure the fish, but the musky was 13 ½ lbs and the carp was 16 ¾ lbs.  All in all it was a good day of fishing.  

muskie-0402 carp-0402

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Add Some Color

There are a lot of ways to change the appearance or you lures.  Most of us don’t think about changing our spinnerbait, jig, & crankbait colors without changing lures.  Some days the change needed to make a fish bite can be as subtile as a black line on a crankbait or a red stripe in a spinnerbait skirt.  All you need to make these subtile changes is take a permanent marker with you and add the modification as you need it.  Remember that less can be more and not to over do it.  spike-itThere are a few companies such as Spike-It,, that make a variety of lure dye and paints which can make the job of modifing your lures something that can be easily done on the fly.

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