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Got a question about fishing, that you have never been able to figure out?

Well, along comes old Fishin' Tipster, Weekend Semi-Pro and resident backlash picking champion, with the solution.

It sure gets tough trying to pick a crank plug sometimes. Tipster's got so many styles, shapes, colors - some even have bells and whistles - that is just gets hard to make the right choice.

Well, old Fishin' Tipster, Weekend Semi-Pro and National Backlash Pickin' Champion, has few tips that may help.

Take a look at the photo. I only see one thing that really makes those pieces of plastic different from each other - the bill (or lip) size and shape. All are made of hard synthetic materials, with some scrap iron hanging off them and a bit of paint to catch the fisherman's eye (and pocketbook). But, that bill/lip is sure a discriminator.

And, therein lies the answer of selecting your crank bait. The bill!!! Its shape, angle of design, and size all fit together to give its crank plug its action and its depth range.

Here's the rules to follow regarding crank plug bills:

1) The longer the bill, the deeper the lure dives
2) The wider the bill, the wider (and, consequently, slower) the side-to-side wiggle action
3) A rounded bill has a smooth steady wiggle action; a squared of bill has a bit more of a jerky action

So, a long narrow bill dives deep with a tight wiggle. The short, wide bill is shallow wide a wide wiggle action.

The angle of the bill is a tip as to the deep of similar lures that differ only in the angle from the horizontal centerline of the lure body. The more horizontal the bill to that centerline, the better running depth is maximized (a Bagley DB-3 is a good example). But, the resistance of this lure to the water is high and really strains the arm and should when cranking for a long time. High water resistance also means the lure wiggles strongly and is very difficult to tune to run straight. A lure with the same shape and size bill, BUT with a slight 'droop' downwards loses just a bit in maximum depth, but runs more cleanly and easily (an example is the Fat Free Shad series).

If you get to the short bills with a nearly vertical lip, you can bet they are special purpose lures that run exceptionally shallow (the Mann's Minus 1, at the top, is such an example).

Remember that lures are only 'tools' of the trade of fishing. No lure ever caught a fish on its own. The angler does that. And, as tools, each must be properly selected for the job at hand.

A shallow crank plug may not be too good a choice for fishing a ledge in 12 feet of water. Likewise, a deep crank plug is not much good in shallow grass. First, select the lure by the DEPTH it has to operate to get in front of the fish. Second, be sure it is adaptable to the cover/structure being fished (again, the deep crank plug in the weeds, as an example).

Return to Old Fishin' Tipster's Tips and Tricks

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A common question that we get: "Is there somewhere close to get bait and tackle?" This is where we get our bait.

Pete and Tina Heinz / 9 South Mulberry St. / Fellsmere, FL 32948 / 772-571-9855

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