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All Crankbaits Are Not the Same

By Steven Vonbrandt

If you haven't gotten any Lucky Craft crankbaits yet, you may have missed the boat, (literally!). This is the hottest bait on the market besides the Sweet Beaver which will be in the Delaware Tackle store soon, (I just spoke to Andre Moore), and they are moving and backorders are down to 3-4 weeks now, and will soon be up to date. Anyway, back to the Lucky Craft crankbaits. Are they expensive? Yes!! Are they worth it?? YES!!! I climbed a tree to get one when it was the last one left in a particular color. One of our Pro Staff threw himself into the water from his boat to get one back, it is that good!

You can go right in behind any number of anglers competing at any level and catch bass right behind them on these baits. You don't have to listen to me though, listen to Rick Clunn and a thousand others who know how effective this bait is!

Clunn's Fishing Dreams

In 2001, Rick Clunn completed his quest for the BASS "Triple Crown" by winning Megabucks. Though he had won four Bassmasters Classics and an Angler of the Year title earlier in his career, it was the Megabucks title that eluded him the longest. "I had been so close to winning Megabucks on two other occasions," Clunn recalls. "So when I won Megabucks at Douglas Lake in 2001, it was certainly a satisfying win."

Now that Clunn has won nearly every major title in competitive bass fishing, what's left for him to accomplish?

For Clunn, the eternal dream of bass fishing is not about filling his shelves with trophies; his bass fishing dream is fueled by the quest to, "touch perfection."

"Certainly winning is a part of the fishing dream," Clunn says. "But it's not the whole dream. Winning and touching perfection are two different things." Clunn defines touching perfection as a period during the fishing day when the universe becomes timeless and he is fishing every moment with such absolute perfection that doubt, judgment and expectation no longer exist.

"Everything becomes effortless because all negativity ceases to exists," he explains. "All negative things are purged and transformed into positive things. The wind becomes a positive because it pushes you to the next fish. Getting hung up becomes a positive because it leads you to a different casting angle that produces a fish. Your mind, body and soul become one and everything works in harmony - it's truly a special place."

However, touching perfection is rare, even for Clunn.

"Sometimes it lasts for 15 minutes; sometimes it lasts for an hour," he reveals. "Only once have I touched perfection for a full day, and it was amazing."

The desire to touch perfection more frequently and for longer periods of time is what keeps Clunn casting. "As humans we want to touch perfection in something - mine just happens to be in fishing," he says. "To touch perfection on the water for any length of time is my eternal fishing dream; to touch perfection for an entire tournament and win is my ultimate fishing dream."

Seasonal Patterns for the Lucky Craft Crankbait Series

Four-time Bassmaster Classic Champion Rick Clunn designed Lucky Craft's crankbaits to be fished any time bass are shallow.

"The seasonal applications of the crankbait vary depending on the kind of fishery you are dealing with," Clunn says. "For instance, you can use the RC almost anytime of the year on water bodies like river systems where fish live shallow most of the time. However, on deep clear impoundments, where fish go deep during the winters and summers, the bait has less of a seasonal range."

No matter what kind of fishery he is on, Clunn has found these plugs to be most effective during two periods: late spring and fall. Also, he lets the season have some bearing on the size he will throw. "The 2.5 and 3.5 are good for imitating pesky bream," Clunn explains. "My favorite time to fish these bigger lures is the late spring, from the post-spawn through early summer. That's when the bigger female bass have spawned out, but they're still up shallow eating bream that are picking eggs off bass beds."

Clunn's second favorite time of year to fish these baits is in the late summer to fall time when bass are following shad into the backs of creeks. "During the late spring and early summer the 2.5 and 3.5 are my preferred sizes," Clunn says. "In the fall, when shad are the main bass forage, I'll start with the 2.5, but if bass want a smaller profile, I'll drop down to the 1.5."

Clunn's Cranking Credibility

Rick Clunn knows crankbaits. Whether it was his astounding 1990 Bassmaster Classic win on the James River with a cedar "coffin-bill" diver, or his 2000 FLW Tour Wal-Mart Open victory on Beaver Lake with a shallow square-billed wobbler, or his impressive 2001 BASS Megabucks victory on an ultra-deep diving plug - Clunn has fashioned a legendary bass fishing career out of his knowledge of diving baits. Of course, he is best known for his four Bassmaster Classic wins, three of which came on crankbaits. In addition, he has won ten other BASS events and three FLW events. Of those thirteen victories, eight were achieved with crankbaits.

Essentially, Clunn has turned crankbaits into a science. He has spent hundreds of hours analyzing crankbait actions in an effort to identify their strike provoking qualities. He coined the term "deflection" to describe the way a crankbait should "bounce" off a piece of cover to trigger a strike.

Lucky Craft Lures tapped Clunn's rich crankbait knowledge when they set out to design the ultimate square-billed shallow diver.

"Wood crankbaits have always been heralded for having the best deflection properties," Clunn says. "However, wood baits are fragile; they have trouble standing up to the abuse a tournament angler can dole out during a rigorous day of cranking stumps or rock. So I helped Lucky Craft design a bait that combines the durability of plastic with the intense deflection of wood." These buoyant, fat-bodied shallow runners feature a unique square bill that gives a more radical deflection for plastic bait.

"Many of the bills on traditional square-lipped baits are thick and it hinders their ability to dive and reach a critical vibration," Clunn says. "I worked with Lucky Craft in designing a bill for the Lucky Craft that is much thinner so it cuts the water better for consistent tracking and enhanced deflection."

How to Fish the Lucky Craft Series

When Rick Clunn fishes his Lucky Craft Series crankbaits, he does it with attitude. The four-time Bassmaster Classic Champion designed these fat-bodied, square-billed lures to boldly crash through cover and provoke strikes - and that's exactly how he fishes them.

"The crankbait is a 'target' bait," Clunn explains. "By that I mean it's designed to make contact with specific objects or targets, usually shallow, visible pieces of cover like stumps, lay downs, pilings or rocks."

They will run to a depth of 4 feet, but Clunn uses his rod to manipulate the lure's depth as it approaches a target.

"I use the rod to control the angle and depth of the bait to make sure I contact the 'sweet spot' on the target," he reveals.

On one cast, Clunn may crank the bait with his rod tip down low in order to hit the base of a stump in 4 feet of water. On the next cast he might raise the rod tip up to get the bait to crawl over top of the stump.

Since he is often cranking around hard cover, Clunn uses line in the 14- to 20- pound test class.

His rod length preference is 7 feet, but he warns that rod action is more important than rod length.

When it comes to hooking fish, Clunn likens this style of shallow cranking to flipping or pitching where the rod must have enough power to turn the bait in the fish's mouth so the hooks can penetrate.

"When choosing equipment to fish the crankbaits, pay the close attention to your rod action," Clunn advises. "Shallow cranking calls for a very stout rod - a true heavy action rod, not a medium-heavy. These are big-bodied baits that are attacked by big fish in thick cover, and a softer rod simply does not provide enough power to hook the fish and move it out away from the cover."

These baits are available in the Delaware Tackle store at www.delawaretackle.com

Big Bass World Champ/De NAFC Hall Of Fame http://www.reeltimeanglers.com

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