June 13. 2007. UP DATE  >  How To

Crankbait Modifications….Why even waste your time? - Adam Hinkle

ImageHow many crankbaits do you have in your box that just sit there after maybe being used once or twice…Probably half of them right? Whats that…… more than half? You bought them because you thought they might have a place in your arsenal but in reality, they are just another bait that in order to be one of those baits that will find itself tied to the end of your line constantly, will need some modifications. There are a few different things you can do to these baits to make them do what you want. Our industry has created an endless amount of customization supplies. To name off  a few, we have suspen-dots, replacement hooks, split-rings, feathered hooks, scale patterns that we can add, and I am sure there are a few more that I am forgetting.


To tell you the truth, when it comes to modifying lures, crankbaits are the bait that I change the least. The reason for this is that I have narrowed my crankbait selection down to a few baits that I just don’t have to change much, to do what I want them to do. I feel that if I have found a few baits that will get bites in every situation that I will face, why even mess with baits that I will have to waste any time making major modifications just to get a bite or two.  In this article I am going to give you the baits that I have proven to myself and a quite a few others that will cover almost every situation you will face with a lipped crankbait.


Starting with the loud baits, I feel like Zip Baits has the rattling bait market beat by a long shot with their rattling B-Switcher series. These baits are semi-tight wiggling hard plastic crankbaits with a weighting system that allows for casts that very few crankbaits in the same weight class, can outdistance.  The bait features a very thin lip that dives very quickly and stays down, and somewhat of a shad shaped body. The rattles that these baits consist of, are a bunch of little glass beads in the head, and the top of the bait.  When the fish feel like eating, and the water is stained at best, the B-Switcher is definitely going to be a bait that I am going to have tied on.


Next, I’ll talk about low pitch crankbaits or baits with a “knocking” rattle. The bait that came out a few years ago, that took the market by storm, is the DT series by Rapala. The DT series is somewhat similar to the B-Switcher in how it swims. It has a semi tight wiggle, very thin lip and more of a sunfish shaped body which I love for certain times of year. These are balsa baits that have high quality prints on them for their color schemes, and my favorites are the bluegill and red crawdad. The rattle in these baits sound like a glass rattle placed in the balsa body. I have gotten away from throwing these crankbaits a little because I feel like so many guys have been throwing them for the last few years that I need to throw something a little different at them than the rest of the crowd.


ImageLastly, but absolutely topping every other crankbait in my box is the Beatour series by Hiroshi Nishine. I have nearly worn out every single Nishine crankbait that I own in the short time that I have been throwing them! The N-Foam body is a slow floating material that is perfect for the finesse crankbait presentation. The Beatour series covers the water column from 1 to 10 feet and are all silent crankbaits. Hiroshi has narrowed down his color schemes to 4 colors which makes it very simple to just grab the closest color to fit your situation, and go to work. A while back, Rapala came out with the shad rap, and the fishing community went absolutely nuts, paying insane amounts of money to get their paws on the baits. Since then it has been a stand-by lure for many anglers including myself…..Until now. The Beatour series has completely taken over all of the spots in my silent, tight wiggle crankbait box. It may sound like I am blowing smoke but when I tell you that the Beatour series is the ONLY silent, tight wiggle crankbait that I have thrown for the past year, I am telling the absolute truth.


Now for crankbait modifications… The only thing that I consistently do to a crankbait, after I pull it out of the box, is switch the hooks out to one size smaller than the manufacturer provides. A good friend of mine told me to try this a while back, and I have seen a significant change in how much less I got hung up in brush, rock or whatever I am fishing, and how many less fish I lost due to poor hook penetration. A smaller hook will avoid many more snags, and with the thinner wire and sharper point of a smaller hook, you are going to hook, and land many more fish than you would with a bigger hook, providing you have the correct line and rod for the situation…..but we’ll save that for later.


Adam Hinkle




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