FLW

A SPE­CIAL­IZED CRANKBAIT FOR A MORE SUB­TLE AP­PROACH

SA Bass - - Contents - by TJ Maglio

“Flat-sided Crankbaits” A spe­cial­ized crankbait for a more sub­tle ap­proach – TJ Maglio

T o novice an­glers, any old hard wooden or plas­tic plug with a lip is re­ferred to as a crankbait. They all wob-ble, dive on the re­trieve and, pe­ri­od­i­cally, come back with a fish at­tached. To the crankbait die-hards of the Caroli­nas and the Ten­nessee River re­gion, though, the word "crankbait" it­self is just a head­ing used to re­fer to many dif­fer­ent styles of plugs, each with a very par­tic­u­lar time and place to shine. From those re­gions comes an old-school crankbait style that's now one of the fastest grow­ing: the flat-sided crankbait. It's a style that Wa­mart FLW Tour pros Wes­ley Strader and Alex Davis both use to achieve in­cred­i­ble re­sults, al­beit with dif­fer­ent twists. Flat-sides typ­i­cally shine when the bite is tough and in the spring or fall, and while sum­mer is still in full swing in the South, the shorter days and cooldown pe­riod of au­tumn are just a few weeks away for many bass an­glers. Now's the time to prepare.

Alex Davis Tar­gets Sub­mer­gent Grass Flats

When: "The flat-sided crank is quickly be­com­ing one of my go-to baits in al­most any sit­u­a­tion where an­glers would nor­mally throw a li­p­less crankbait. For me, it's usu­ally any time the wa­ter tem­per­a­ture is be­tween 45 and 55 de­grees, when the bass are slug­gish and want some­thing with a less ag­gres­sive ac­tion." Where: Davis breaks out the flat-side around sub­mer-gent grass flats. In the fall and spring, big bass re­late to the deeper grass lines found on these flats in many bod­ies of wa­ter, and they wait for shad to pass by. How: "I like to throw a plas­tic bait such as the Jack­all Jaco 58," says Davis. "It has the ex­cel­lent tight wig­gle of a wooden bait, but casts far­ther. I throw it on a G. Loomis GLX 843 CBR [7-foot, medium-power, moder­ate-ac­tion] crank­ing rod paired to a Shi­mano Cu­rado reel with 5.1:1 gear ra­tio and spooled with 12- to 14-pound-test Su­fix Elite monofil­a­ment."

Wes Strader Tar­gets Rocky Points, Riprap

When: "I'll throw a flat-sided bait just about any time the bass are feed­ing on shad and the wa­ter tem­per­a­ture is below 60," says Strader. "If you've ever seen shad swim-ming in the fall, they just slide through the wa­ter with al­most no ac­tion. Flat-sided plugs im­i­tate this bet­ter than al­most any other plug. It's a nat­u­ral-look­ing deal, and bass can't re­sist them." Where: Strader re­lies on the flat-sided crankbait a lot in the fall to im­i­tate shad, which he finds on rocky ar­eas with a depth change — rocky points and steep riprap banks, for in­stance. He says bass like such ar­eas be­cause they can hang on the bot­tom when in­ac­tive, but still eas­ily come up shal­low to feed if a school of shad swims by. How: "If it's not made of balsa, it's not on the end of my line," Strader says. "I've been carv­ing and tin­ker­ing with crankbaits for a long time, and there is some­thing dif­fer­ent about how a balsa bait moves com­pared to a plas­tic plug. Old School Balsa Baits is a com­pany I'm work­ing with to make hand-carved plugs avail­able to ev­ery­one. My sig­na­ture-se­ries flat-sided plug is called the W3. That thing is as good as it gets. It casts a mile and catches any­thing that swims. I throw it on a 6104 Pow­ell Max 3D [6-foot, 10-inch, medium-power, moder­ate-fast] crank­ing rod paired to a Team Lew's Lite reel with 10-pound-test Gamma Edge fluoro­car­bon."

PHO­TOS BY MATT PACE

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