The secret is out; crankbaits are some of the hottest baits on the market right now, and with good reason. There is such a wide variety of crankbaits; lipless, modified square, square, deep diving, suspending, and a whole bunch of others. While each of these baits has their time and place there is something we can do as anglers that will help increase hook up ratios and even possibly make you more money out on the water.
When selecting a crankbait there is wide variety of choices, other than just the type, you have color, hooks, action, line tie position, and even body shape. All of these factors can either make or break you out on the water, mentally especially. In Part 1 of this tip series we will be going over hooks.
So Many Brands!
Let’s assume you have just the body of the crankbait and no hooks. We prefer a short shank treble with an extra wide grap, something like the KVD Mustad Elites, Owner Stingers, or the Gamakatsu Magic Eye. The reason behind this is you can up the size of the hook and avoid the tangle you get with the longer shank hooks. Most people will say that the KVD Mustad Elites are some of the best trebles on the market, they are pretty cheap per hook and KVD uses them, what more can be said.
All The Options
When considering hooks for your crankbait you need to consider what size of fish you are going for. There is a plethora of hooks out there with all kinds of different bends, wire thickness, and tip cut. Some companies, like Xcaliber not only have exceptionally sharp hooks but they also have a 6 degree bend, the bend twists the hook which exerts more force into actually setting the hook, instead of trying to rip it through it corkscrews into the fish and leaves a small hole. The downside with this hook however is we wouldn’t recommend this hook for getting larger fish out of cover, for this application the choice would more likely be the KVD Mustads, this is because they offer a thicker wire, shorter shank, and a small amount of material after the bend of the hook.
Another point worth noting is picking the wrong hook size can make the crankbait unbalanced, this can be a benefit or a detriment, experimentation is key! Always test before tournament day!
Customization, From The Shank To The Tip
Another thing to look at when looking to put new hooks on a crankbait is color; this can make a world of difference in hook-ups. Let’s go over the benefits of the main colors for hooks.
There are two main colors for hooks, red and black. The red hooks are beneficial in multiple ways, if put in the front they are more likely to generate strikes in the front of the crankbait but if they are put in the back they will generate more strikes to the back. This is caused by the look of a blood trail, fish attempt to zero-in on the appearance of blood, this can be exploited by placing the hook in the front so that you can get the front hook inside the mouth and get the rear hook somewhere else in the fish. Another advantage to the red hook is in the water at around 10ft deep the color red disappears, thus giving the illusion the hook isn’t there.
Then you have the black hook or raw hooks, these hooks can seem to disappear in the dirtier water. But for clear water applications I like to wrap hair, fur, or flashabou around the shank of the hook. Wrapping these materials around the shank will allow the material to swim, like the caudal fin of a fish. There is a wide array of benefits to do doing this, not only does it give swimming illusion it also gives the bait a different action because of a change of drag in the water, lastly it gives the tail of the bait a little action while it sits suspended. I personally prefer to wrap my jerkbaits and topwater baits; for the most part I do not wrap my lipless cranks. We will cover dressing a hook later on for those of you that are interested in doing it yourself!
If you don’t like to change the hooks yourself there is companies like Rippn-Lips Tackle that have some of their custom crankbaits that are pre-painted and have the right hooks.