(Above: This is a continuation of the earlier post. Normally I try not to shamelessly milk one trip for multiple posts but sometimes a double dip is worthwhile. In this case it may be prudent to cover one gear choice I talk very little about and that is the Rat-L trap style crankbait.)
When it comes to searching a lot of water it is hard to beat a lipless crankbait such as the Rat-L trap. They cast far, drop fast and rise up through the water column with a simple lift of the rod tip. Crankbaits are not my favorite lure this time of year especially when I am slinging gear from an inflatable device. But when it comes to searching a lot of open water in transition periods I find myself cranking.
This time of year the weather transitions from 70-degrees to blizzard and then gusty winds. This will cause the fish to transition from shallow and deep areas seemingly at a whim. Sure I will still hit the hot structure spots with jigs and soft plastics but more time is spent searching the fish out. Heavy winds limit some of my favorite choices such as the gorgeously skirted spinnerbait dressed with a soft plastic trailer just to look extra sluttish to the fish (honestly I thought about this option but could only cast it one direction in the heavy gusts).
For this trip I did a Mix-match the hatch using a color pattern that could cross over from bluegill, crawdad or even a shad. The black top, gray side and redish bottom might resemble one or all to a bass on a springtime feeding binge. Water was lightly stained so the lure choice was one of the darkest cranks in the box. (I only carry a few). The crankbait was matched up against the jig and a few other options beating them all at least 3 to 1.
As mentioned in the previous post, I like a 7’ medium\fast action rod for search baits and string everything up with as light of line as possible. The retrieve speed is slow with the occasional rod lift to bring the lure closer to the surface. Most of the bites came near the bottom so after a few fish my retrieve was modified from the standard rise and fall presentation.
(Above: Quick illustration from the Graphics Team that has been mostly absent of late. Maybe they are still upset over having Alan create my blog banner.)
Good luck and good fishing.