Crawfish are like candy to gamefish of many kinds. You know that. And you probably also know that downsizing sometimes provides a wonderful way to counter fish fussiness. Combining those truths can be a key to consistent winter fishing success.
We’ll look at five finesse strategies that capitalize on the fish’s fondness for crawfish dinners. Collectively the approaches provide solutions for a broad range of winter fishing situations for catching multiple kinds of fish.
Crank Rock Banks
Crawfish love rocks, so it should be no surprise that bluff banks, sloping rock banks and riprap edges rank among the best places to fish crawfish-imitating crankbaits. Bass and other gamefish hold between rocks and in eddies, if current is present, ambushing crawfish on other foodstuff that pass too close.
Excellent smaller crankbait options include a Bandit 100 and Cotton Cordell Big O, both of which have corners on their diving bills to help them deflect cover. For less grabby cover along buffs and rocky slopes, a flat sided Bomber Deep Flat A is tough to top.
Whatever the specific crankbait, the most important aspect of the rock cranking approach is to bang as much of the hard cover as possible as you make your presentations. If you’re fishing from a boat, it is often beneficial to position the boat close to the bank and cast parallel.
Craws provide critical year ‘round forage for stream fish of many kinds, including trout, various black bass species, rock bass, catfish and larger bluegills, and small crankbaits allow you to work midstream boulders, seams in currents, sloping gravel bars and other areas very thoroughly and efficiently.
Various small crankbaits in crawfish colors will produce at times, but for fishing creeks and small rivers, it’s tough to top a Rebel Crawfish, especially the Teeny Wee Craw, Deep Teeny Wee Craw and Middle Wee Craw models. The profile is perfect, matching a crawfish in a claw-tucked, defenseless position. The wobble combines a wide pitch that deflects over well with a tight roll that helps the bait look like an easy meal.
Often, the best way to work a Rebel Crawfish is to cast and crank it back at a moderate pace, adding neither rod snaps nor pauses, and letting the lure’s designed action do its job. When the bait is moving with the current, crank just fast enough to keep the action engaged. In strong current, an outstanding approach is to cast straight across the current, tighten the line and let the bait swing downstream and across against the tight line to make it dive and wobble.
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