3 Deadly Fall Crankbaits And How To Fish Them

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Five crankbaits lay on a wooden dock demonstrating the theme and subject matter of the article.

Crankbaits are a deadly search bait for active bass in the fall. As baitfish are schooling up shallow, in the back of coves, and along shallow banks, bass are gorging and fattening up for a long, potentially life-ending winter. Crankbaits are among some of the top baits that can “fire up” schools of bass, getting them to chase down food. Their action is what does it – deflecting off rocks, moving and pausing, twitching, digging into gravel and mud. If you’re slightly new to crankbaits and haven’t tried these 3 lures on your water, give them a sling.

Rapala DT-6

A gloved hand holds a largemouth bass with a Rapala DT8 crank bait its mouth with a lake behind them.

The Rapala Dives To (DT) series provides anglers versatility. These lures range from DT-4 to DT-16 which covers every depth you need. But it’s the up-shallow game these cranks excel at. I personally prefer covering that 4 ft- 8 ft range and target chunk rock, isolated boulders and stumps, and rock piles and points. Sound-wise, the DT series is pretty quiet, which sets it apart from other cranks. While some will rattle up a storm, the DT sneaks quietly into the strike zone – a pretty awesome advantage after the fish have seen hundreds of crankbaits all year.

One of the DT series crankbaits hangs from the mouth of a largemouth bass being held by a human hand.

How to Fish It

The DT-6 Demon color is great for fall fishing around rip rap and deflecting and banging off hard structures. These areas typically hold crawfish and heat as water temperatures begin to drop. For deeper water bass,  DT-8 to DT-16 in Chartreuse is perfect as well as for stained water.

 Tactical Bassin’ DD Crankbait

The Tactical Bassi’n crew teamed up with River2Sea to develop the DD Crankbait. It’s a deep diving crank that’s perfect for nailing that 10-15 ft depth range and it accomplishes the right sound, frequency, and tight wobble action, specifically in colder water scenarios. As a result, it’s a perfect lure to throw as water temperatures begin dropping in late fall. According to the developers, this bait can trigger giant bass to chase down bait in the coldest months as it triggers an instinctual response to chase.

How To Fish It

The key is speed.  Make a long cast and retrieve it fast to get it to the right depth. Reel fast, pause, twitch, reel again. The directional changes, like all crankbaits, will set fish off. The size is perfect as it mimics a medium-sized bait fish.

Strike King XD Series

The 6XD crankbait lays on a wooden dock.

The Strike King XD Series dives straight down faster than any other crank and the weight distribution allows you to cast noticeably further than other baits. For this reason, the 6XD is perfect for covering water in late fall. Its ability to point straight down allows it to deflect off structure and then shoot back down, rather than blow out sideways potentially missing a fish sitting right behind a rock. It’s a great lure for all-season fishing, especially those offshore fish on ledges and rocky points. 

How To Fish It

Make a long cast with a medium-heavy rod with a good parabolic bend. This is essential to getting your bait down to the bottom. Crank hard and fast or slowly roll it over the structure giving it time to pause. It’s best thrown on a 12-14 lb mono line with a long medium-heavy rod with a good parabolic bend. This allows you to load your rod up and sling it further.

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