Crank Baits For Your Tackle Box
Craig Sandell 2013

Crank baits are among the more versatile lures available to Muskie anglers. With today's use of hard and soft plastics, not to mention wood, Muskie anglers have an ever increasing selection from which to chose.


Year Round Productivity - The crank bait has long been the victim of the myth that it is only effective at certain times of the year (early and late in the season). That is just not true. Crank baits are among the most consistent producers of Muskie over the entire Muskie season when they are used with a flexible tackle approach.

The crank bait is designed to run sub-surface however it can be used in a variety of different ways. Depending upon the lip of the crank bait, it can be used as a twitch bait, jerk bait and ever as a surface bait when retrieved very slowly.

The lures depicted at the left are three examples of crank baits that are available from any tackle shop or catalog. The top lure has a lip that is arranged to provide a wobbling action in the water. It runs 3 to 4 feet down and is very buoyant. It will work very well as a twitch bait and will allow the angler to present the lure just over the weed tops. The second lure has a more rounded lip that causes the lure to have a more natural side to side swimming action. It too is buoyant and is an excellent producer when used as a surface or jerk bait as well as a crank bait. It runs at a depth of 5 to 7 feet. The third lure has a lip that causes this crank bait to be termed a "deep diver". Its plastic construction makes it very durable so it can be used to bounced off of bottom structure as it ranges in depth from 7 to 11 feet. It can, however, also be used as a very effective jerk bait.

More that any other lure, the crank bait is capable of producing a wide range of performance characteristics when operated by an innovative minded Muskie angler. You probably already have a good selection of crank baits in your tackle box. The key here is to experiment. Take some time to "get to know" the crank baits that you own. Check out how they perform at different retrieve speeds and when using different retrieve techniques such as a twitch or a jerk. Most of all, keep in mind that the crank bait will produce fish in any weather, at any time of day and at any time during the season. The trick is to use it. If bucktails, jerk baits and surface lures are not producing fish, or even if they are, don't forget the crank bait; they will trigger a violent Muskie attack.