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Use crankbaits for summer fish of all kinds

Crankbaits are a great way to catch summer fish for several reasons.

Crankbaits allow an angler to cover lots of water in a short period of time.

Crankbaits appeal to most species of gamefish that swim in our Midwest waters.

Crankbaits can be cast to precise areas that are holding a concentration of fish, or they can be trolled over open areas, picking up fish that are scattered.

Crankbaits come in a wide variety of colors, shapes, sizes, and actions, enabling an angler to give the fish the exact bait that the fish want.

There are other reasons why crankbaits are a good choice for fishing in the summer months, but let's talk about some ideas for using crankbaits on your next fishing trip.

Unless you really have the fish pinpointed, trolling is a great way to present a crankbait. In the summer, the fish like the bait moving pretty fast. Two to three miles per hour is not an unusual trolling speed. The 797 Humminbird sonar unit that I use has a built-in GPS which provides speeds to the tenth of a mile. When a fish hits, I immediately check the speed and also push the "Mark" button, which marks on the screen the spot where the fish hit. By doing so, we can duplicate the productive speed and go back over the areas that have produced fish.

Many trollers like a medium action rod in the seven foot length. A Lightning Rod teamed with an Abu Garcia Ambassadeur 5600C4 reel spooled with 10/4 FireLine does a great job. Abu Garcia also makes a line-counter reel that enables an angler to know exactly how much line is out.

FireLine is preferred because it allows a bait to run deeper, but also because a quick snap of the rod tip will clear weeds that the bait might catch.

It has become apparent that planer boards are a huge asset in trolling crankbaits. They allow an angler to spread lines effectively, and also prevent the fish from being spooked by the boat going over head. Off Shore planer boards are as good as it gets.

When trolling, use baits of different colors, sizes, and shapes, and try different speeds until the best combination is discovered. Flicker Shad crankbaits have developed a very loyal following in a short period of time.

On a recent fishing trip, on one trolling pass, we caught walleyes, yellow bass, and a big flathead catfish, all on crankbaits. A smorgasbord of fish is not unusual when pulling crankbaits in the summer. Now is the perfect time for you to discover that for yourself.

(For more fish-catching information, visit