The recent weather – near-freezing rains and cold winds – have prompted some fishermen to call it a season at High Rock and Badin lakes, but not Lexington’s Chris Brown, who said the small-crankbite bite should be just around the corner once the weather stabilizes.
“As long as the water temperature doesn’t dip into the lower 40s, largemouth bass can be caught with small crankbaits at High Rock and Badin,” said Brown, who uses similar approaches on both lakes.
Brown said the spinnerbait, which has been the go-to lure at High Rock lately, has just about had its day with the small crankbait about to steal the action.
“When the water temperature drops below 50 degrees, the spinnerbait bite fades, and the crankbait bite comes on strong,” said Brown, who will switch to small Zoom crankbaits and No. 5 Shad Raps.
“The No. 5 Shad Rap’s about the best cold-water bait ever made,” said Brown.
Knowing where to throw the baits is critical for success. Brown said the recent cold weather should trigger fish to move out of the backs of creeks, following banks adjacent to creek channels as they make their move. Most of the fish will hold in two to five feet of water, the depth range of small crankbaits.
“I’ll make my crankbait tick any piece of cover along the channel bank and retrieve it slowly,” said Brown.
Brown also factors in water color. He avoids fresh, muddy water, calling it the worse situation for fishing, dislikes cranking in clear water, but likes stained water, saying its ideal cranking water.
Fishermen also can’t go wrong fishing the riprap corners of bridges with crankbaits, according to Brown.
At Badin, Brown said the same strategies apply, except he will fish a little deeper because of the clear water, and he would add the Alabama rig to his arsenal.
Brown said he uses an Alabama rig as much as a crankbait because bass school at Badin in greater numbers than at High Rock. The Alabama rig imitates a group of baitfish.
Follow Brown’s advice, and keep your crankin’ rods handy. The hardbait bite is about to begin.