Crankbaits come in a variety of depths, the deepest of which won’t be purchased by your everyday angler, or even fishermen who spend a lot of time on the water. Most fishermen simply don’t have a need to fish deeper than 12 or 15 feet. Deep-running crankbaits can be a great asset, though, once you learn how to use them to their fullest potential, and today I have a few tips on how to do just that.

More than just a tool to search for fish, deep crankbaits can actually be used to help provide a clearer understanding of the lake bottom. When a crankbait strikes the bottom, you can feel where mud turns to rock, or find objects such as brush piles. In these instances, your crankbait is acting not only as a lure for fish, but also as a depth and bottom finder. Using a deep diving crankbait in conjunction with your electronics makes for an accurate combination.

Line size and casting distance are two of the most important factors when it comes to deep cranking. On average, you can expect about a foot and a half of depth change with every change in line size. (The heavier the line, the shallower the crankbait will run, and vice versa.) Knowing this enables you to alter your line size to fine-tune the running depth of your baits. Casting long distances also helps achieve the maximum running depth of a crankbait, so you should always try to make the longest cast possible. Keep a reference on where you want that bait to hit, though, by marking a designated target a little less than half way back to the boat. You should always over-shoot your intended target when deep cranking.

Just like in shallow water, deflection is integral when deep water cranking. Your crankbait must change direction or speed erratically to elicit a strike, and deflecting the bait off objects—deep structure or rocks along the bottom—is one of the best ways to do this. The ability for a crankbait to crash and bounce off cover and trigger a reaction strike is deadly. You can also use techniques that cause the crankbait to change direction, even when it’s running in open water or hitting clean bottom areas. Changing speeds suddenly, or adding a jerk or pause to the retrieve will have the same effect.

If deep crankbaits have intimidated you to the point where you’ve neglected them as part of your tackle, hopefully the tips outlined today will help alleviate a bit of that hesitation. Be sure to stop by for Part Two, where you’ll discover even more tips on how to use deep crankbaits to catch a ton of fish!