There are a group of guys that I’ve fished with for years that have a rather twisted sense of humor. A long running joke amongst these guys is to tell you what bait they’re throwing by using the nickname they’ve assigned to that particular bait. For example a rattle-trap is a click since most older reels have that bit of slack in the gears and when a fish hits a trap the reel will make a loud click noise. To these fellas a spinnerbait is a blade or a chicken leg (I don’t know). A red rattle trap a marquee, a jig is a voodoo doll, unless it weighs 3/4’s of an ounce or more, then its a cannonball. One more, if your fishing with spinning tackle you’re using a sewing machine (equally difficult to master). This leads me to my title, the light bulb. I’ve written in a number of previous articles about my affinity for crankbaits here on Chambers. It’s time to take a serious look at big crankbaits and what has been happening to our favorite lake. As RC is maturing a couple of things are changing to cause one to take a closer look at this type of presentation. The first factor is fishing pressure. In 1991 – ’92 it wasn’t unusual to get on a spot and catch a ton of fish without ever touching the trolling motor. Now pressure on the classic spots (humps, dams, roadbeds, etc.) have moved most of those fish, if they haven’t been caught and transported 8 miles to a weigh in. The second factor is the trees in the lake losing a big percentage of their horizontal limbs. This does a couple of things but mainly it makes a crankbait much more fishable. Fish that in the past you had to make a vertical presentation (pitching or flipping) to can now be cast at. A third factor is the maturing of the population of shad and other baitfish. The lake is now about six years old and the percentage of big baitfish and big black bass that like to eat them is way up. All these factors add up to a bait that is becoming increasingly easy to fish, it allows you to cover a lot of water quickly and thoroughly, and catch some really big fish. As a matter of fact I had a conversation recently with the winners of one of this summers big team tournaments and they commented that opposite from their normal thoughts they had been catching limits early on Carolina rigs and then switching to crankbaits to catch their kicker fish later in the day. Now, I personally like to throw several baits under different conditions. If I’m fishing 15 feet of water or less I prefer to throw a I oz mud bug or a DD-22. If real shallow I’ll go to a 3/4 oz mud bug or a DD-14. If I’m trying to catch fish that are deeper where the fish are either suspended or I simply can’t reach the bottom I’ll go with a 300 or 400 series Poes or a Manns 20+. All these baits are large, which is part of the attraction. Even though it’s getting into fall or what some might call winter fishing (there is no real winter in Texas) I still am a very firm believer in these big baits, only trick being throw them in the thickest stuff. If you’ve ever been to Rayburn in February and thrown a rattle trap in 48 degree water you know that big fish will chase them down. So next time your on RC I would suggest getting the light bulb out. If you want to book a trip or just talk fishing, give us a call at Brown Dog Guide Service (214) 443 1880.
– Texas Saltwater Fishing Guide