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What is the best crankbait?



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Variety, because while they all do basically the same thing, they do differ just slightly as well.

Sometimes you want a subsurface one.  Sometimes the shallow diving one.  Sometimes the medium diving one and sometimes a deep diving one.

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Agree this is pretty open ended and an arsenal is needed.  When fishing with multiple people, we always test a variety of baits.  I see a lot talk about what is important like color and action, but in my hands most of the time those things don't seem to matter as much as advertised.


What it seems like to me is that getting the right speed at the right depth is the primary thing that differentiates what catches and what does not. Also, some baits are better for casting, while others for trolling.  Good tuning of the bait is important.  Last, what is important is, how do you like to fish?


If I had to pick one, the most versatile is a lipless crankbait.  Good for casting and trolling.  Can keep it shallow by reeling in right away with rod tip high, or deep by counting down.  Can vary the speed of retrieve.  This allows covering a lot of water fast like when on a break you can cast out or in without changing baits.  No lip so no tuning issues.  Very durable.  I have caught fish casting, free line trolling, and downrigging.  Catches all species.  I mainly use it for Northern, bass, and walleye, but have also caught some nice crappies and some ambitious perch and sunnies and even lake trout and salmon.

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Whatever catches fish. I separate my cranks by what the fish tell me they like. My best ones are full of teeth marks as they are consistently reliable in the right conditions. A buddy of mine (now passed) fished the PWT. He and his partner found you could have 10 of the exact same cranks and only a few were really consistent catchers. The ones that got wacked regular they separated out to their own box called Proven Deadly. We surmised that the vibration/action of these lures must have been just right. I had a #7 crawdad Shad Rap that was lights out on walleye and big northern. I finally had to retire it as it was shredded. 

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Could not agree more with that. It amazes me how many times a particular lure out performs others that are visually the same. I like the idea of a  seperate box for those baits. I use the war scarred approach to picking which lure to put on now. 

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