I’ve never done it. Never fished a crankbait in water that cold. As Brian recently mentioned in an early-spring bait selection post, I like to swim a jig in early spring. It works, I have confidence in it, etc.
Have tried a spinnerbait, that can work too for me, but not a crankbait â€“ except sometimes for smallies, now that I think about it.
Maybe you’re like me â€“ can’t imagine cold-water crankin’, haven’t done it (yet). If so, here are a few tips from Yamaha pro Dave Mansue, courtesy of Yamaha.
“I start using squarebills when the water temperature is still in the high ’40s. This
may seem too cold to be fishing such shallow depths, but in early spring, bass are already starting to move toward spawning areas.”
â€œBasically, you can fish a squarebill crankbait in the same places youâ€™d fish a spinnerbait, but a squarebill has a completely different profile. Its shape and swimming action mirror the small sunfish that hover around shallow cover, so bass are accustomed to seeing them and chasing them down to eat.”
[I get what you’re saying, Dave, but I’m not seeing any small sunnies when the water is in the 40s!]
“In the colder water I use a slower retrieve so the lure wobbles more and bass can feel it coming.
“I reel it directly into rocks or stumps, then jerk it with my rod to make it move even more erratically. A lot of fishermen hesitate to throw these lures into thick cover because of the treble hooks, but being able to work a squarebill through limbs and branches truly separates it from other lures.
“Iâ€™ve learned this over and over through the years, especially living here on Toledo Bend, which is filled with stumps and submerged timber. In fact, Iâ€™ve experienced many times when Iâ€™ve followed other anglers down a shoreline filled with laydowns and caught bass with a squarebill when they never had a strike with a spinnerbait.”
“Much of the time, especially in colder water, the strikes arenâ€™t hard at all. The lure just starts feeling â€˜heavyâ€™ and the wobbling stops. Thatâ€™s when I know a bass has it.”
Dave usually fishes squarebills with 15- to 20-pound fluorocarbon line, but inÂ particularly heavy cover or dingy water he may change to braid.