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These baitfish imitating lures, Crankbaits by "Strike King" are arguably the most productive baits of all time. All Crankbait Pro-Model feature lifelike 3D eyes. strikeking.com
Strike King Lures
Strike King Crankbaits
If you want quality you need to fish Strike King.Been using these lures for years and they have never failed. Plastics and Crankbaits are great, maybe that is why they are called perfect plastic. With a company like Strike King teamed up with KVD how can you go wrong. Just when you think you have all the gear Strike King always finds ways to make it better.
The 1 is a small bodied, square lipped, shallow water bait that covers the two to four foot band well and can be cranked into and through cover. It is a great bait for springtime shallow water, and anytime fish are feeding on small perch or bluegill.
The personal go-to favorite, get-me-a-limit, crankbait. I’ve caught so many two to five-pound fish and so many different species of fish on this lure that it is absolutely sinful! It’s the bait that I use to teach kids how to crank a bait. Operating in the five to 9-foot range, this small-bodied, fat crankbait features an extended lip and positive buoyancy to get it through wood and rock cover.
Best colors for me have been black back/chartreuse, blue/chartreuse, Tennessee shad and Ghost. Smallmouth, spotted bass, largemouth, white bass and hybrids all eat this one with abandon. Throw it, wind it, make it hit something, and hold on! I especially like the “Bleeding Bait” colors in this lure. Gizzard Shad and Blue Back/Chartreuse are two must have colors in this bait.
Series 4 and 4S Crankbaits
These two lures are full-sized crankbaits, featuring the same size body as the deeper diving Series 5, but with either a square bill (4S) or a diving bill (4). The 4S is the Series version of the venerable Big O type lure, and is at its best cranking around gnarly cover in shallow water.
The 4S runs about three to five feet deep and puts off a wide wobbling vibration. I love to throw this one through laydown willow trees inside river oxbows. The deeper diving series 4 is a lure I select when I want to get a lure through deeper wood cover, situated in five to eight feet of water, especially in stained water conditions.
This has to be one of the best deep-diving crankbaits on the planet. My second favorite, only because the Series 3 catches MORE fish. The Series 5, with the full-sized body, catches less numbers for me, but generally is the crankbait that I look for when I need the quality bite, or fish get deep during summer and early fall. There simply is no better crankbait for me when cranking Pickwick and Kentucky lake ledges than a Series 5.
The favorite ledges are isolated bars or high spots that top out in 9-14 feet of water, and the Series 5 will stick its bill in the gravel in those depths and stay there.
Big fish find something very attractive in the action of this lure. My most favorite Series 5 memory was a day last summer on Lake Dancy with my good friend Roger Stegall, a Strike King pro staff member and noted Pickwick Lake guide. Roger and I found an underwater rock pile that was just loaded with 4-5 pound F-1 largemouths, and every time we hit the top of the rocks in 10 feet of water, things got real interesting. I retired a Series 5 in Chartreuse RootBeer after that hot July day. After over 80 pounds of fish, I felt it was the right thing to do!
Series 6 Crankbaits
This is the biggest and the deepest. I reserve it for the July-September dog days when bass are deep, as deep as 15 or 16 feet, feeding on big threadfin or gizzard shad. This bad boy is a big bait and it’ll let you know you’ve been cranking at the end of the day, but it offers the depth and size qualities that makes it a legitimate big-fish, big water crankbait.
New Series 8XD 1.4 oz.
This is the biggest and the deepest crankbait with unique curved bill . Dives to 20 feet and beyond. The 8XD crankbait has a different action than the 6XD & 10XD.
That’s the Series Team - 1 XS to 8. Surface to 16 feet. Are they magically better than other crankbaits? Probably not. We are in an age when every lure company offers high quality, effective lures.
Are they better organized, easier and more effective for anglers to choose and use? ABSO-DURN-LUTELY! Any angler can put together a crankbait box using the Series concept that will give them the confidence that they have the correct tools to fish any combination of water and cover from top to bottom.
The Strike King lures are clearly marked, and the Series number corresponds to a depth range that the lure will consistently achieve. Anglers simply need to remember that the higher the number, the deeper the diving range of the bait.
Jim the carpenter shows up for his first day on the job site. His task is to put plywood sheeting on the side of a framed house. Bare studs are up and Jim is armed with an apron full of 16 penny nails and a 7 ounce finishing hammer. He gets the plywood positioned exactly where he needs it and starts a nail. After 10-12 hits he finally gets a nail in and starts the process over again. Ten to twelve hits and he has another nail set into the sheet of plywood.
After a morning of driving nails with his finish hammer he sits down with the rest of the construction crew for his coffee break. He has hung one sheet of plywood while the rest of the construction guys have hung nearly 10 times that much each.
Perhaps you know what it feels like to have a piece of equipment that isn’t really productive for the job you’re trying to do. I do. I felt like that awhile back fishing a small club tournament on a deep water lake. That day, I was Jim the carpenter.
Everything was going right for me. The boat (plywood) was positioned perfectly near an isolated hunk of deeply submerged timber. I had a box (apron) full of Series 5 crankbaits (nails) and the fish were there. I made my first cast and immediately hooked up, only to lose the fish a couple of cranks later. After 10 or 12 more hits I finally got a fish to the boat.
This went on throughout day and the remainder of the tournament. While I did manage to scrape up enough fish for a second place finish, I ultimately knew that I had the fish on that would have won me the tournament but lost them because the rod I was using had too much power. No matter how slow I reeled, the rod just wasn't forgiving enough to allow the fish to stay hooked up.
Lesson learned. I was swinging a 7 ounce finishing hammer when I should have been using a framing hammer. Time for some technique-specific hammer shopping! I've been chunkin’ crank baits in the river since my youth (somewhere around 25 years) but when it comes to the deep divers (12' +), it's a fairly new game for me.
I started with some basic internet research and jotted a few key points down to help in looking for a good cranking stick:
Slow is good - The slower the action the more the rod bends closer to the handle. This allows the rod to absorb the shock and head shakes of a fish.
Glass is slow, but heavy - Fiberglass rods offer extremely slow action and are forgiving, but they’re generally heavy and make throwing big baits all day a chore.
Backbone needed - Slow is great for feel, forgiveness, and absorption, but there needs to be a solid enough backbone to bury the hook.
Length - Match the length to the target. Shorter rods make for better accuracy while longer rods allow for longer casts to deep offshore structure.
Balance - Placing the rod in balance (slightly weight forward for rod down cranking applications) will keep from having to compensate the lack-thereof with your hand and arm.
Without naming names I will tell you that I tried signature series rods from three professional fishermen who are well known for their cranking abilities. While I did find some of the key things I was looking for in each of those, I did not find the entire package I was looking for; until I put a Dobyns Champion Series deep cranking rod in my hands.
A long rod gives you the ability to launch those deep, heavy crankbaits a long ways, but a long rod also takes up more line and will load up a rod faster when a fish hits.
In my opinion the hardest features to determine when evaluating a rod is power and action. Probably because there is no real mathematical basis or value associated with it, more likely it is an arbitrary ranking based on observed effect by the manufacture. That leaves the interpretation of power and action up to the manufacturers; thus some rod manufactures claim a medium power when it should be light, a medium when it should be heavy or vice versa.
Same goes for the action of the rod where a fast action tip should be med, etc. The only real way in my mind to determine the power and action is to put the rod in your hands, tie a bait on and start fishing. When I took to the water with this rod I was very happy to note the rod definitely lived up to its Medium Heavy power rating.
When setting the hook, there was plenty of backbone to bury the big number 2 hooks of those deep divers. In the tournament I referenced above a longer, softer rod would have afforded me the ability to keep those lost fish buttoned up by absorbing the shock of the hook set as well as keeping the hooks buried when the fish lunged near the boat by dampening the lunging shock.
When it came to balance, I didn't even need to make a cast. With this rod in hand and I could already tell that the balance compared to the others was far superior. Paired up with a Shimano Curado, the balance made this rod feel much lighter than rods (of similar weight) that I had tested before. As mentioned, the balance of this technique-specific rod is slightly rod forward, because cranking is a rod tip down application.
Crankbait DC 804CB Rod 8'0"
DESCRIPTION: 1/4- 1oz, 1pc. 8-17lb, Medium Mod-Fast Action
TECHNIQUES: Crankbaits, for details: http://dobynsrods.com/
After fishing this particular rod all season, I feel that the Dobyns Champion Series rod was the framing hammer I was looking for. It has met or exceeded all of my prerequisites and expectations when evaluating a deep crankbait specific rod.
Will be completely honest here and disclose that I have no affiliation with Dobyns Rods.
Used materials by Mike W., Kyle S and strikeking.com
See Strike King 2016 catalog
Strike King makes the most productive hard baits in my tacklebox! Anglers really love the slither rigs, too, when used with worms and brush hogs. Makes an irresistable presentation scooting across the rocks or in the grass.
Would love to start using Strike King baits, haven't ever tried using them really. See Strike King 2016 (pdf) catalog for all baits, products been using them for many years and will for plenty more.