Fishing Tips

G-Man’s Thoughts on Deep Cranking

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An open storage tray near Gerald Swindle’s rod locker just prior to Day Two of BASSfest represented a virtual who’s who of the deep-diving crankbait universe. 

Fact is, scan the rod lockers and front decks of nearly every boat at BASSfest, and you’ll see much the same—lots of long plastic lips designed to escort diving treble-hooked plugs to depths of 20 feet or more. 

“I’ve got at least four different styles rigged and ready all day,†said Swindle, who cranked up a nice 20-pound limit on day one from Kentucky Lake. “I’ve got bold colors, natural colors, plugs with rattles and some that are silent—and every one of them will hunt down there in that 20-foot zone.†

Asked why he uses silent crankbaits, Swindle offered his typically comical insight.  

“Because after my boy VanDam has peppered a school, you gotta have something sorta subtle to convince ‘em it’s safe to eat again.†

Don’t be fooled by Swindle’s humor, however. He hasn’t won nearly $2 million without a serious plan. Each component of his cranking setup is part of a planned system from which all anglers can learn. 

The rod

“I’m using a 7-foot, 10-inch Quantum Accurist that was actually designed as a flippin’ stick, but it’s got enough length to launch these big plugs to get the longest cast possible, plus enough backbone to handle the weight of a 3-ounce lure like a lotta these are,†Swindle said. “And it’s got a soft enough tip to allow the fish to eat the bait the way you need ‘em to, so they stay hooked.â€

The reel

“I’m using an EXO 200, not only because it’s light and comfortable, but mostly because it has a big spool to hold plenty of line for long casts,†Swindle said. “A lot of anglers don’t understand the importance of spool size on a baitcaster. A lot of reels today are built to be lightweight and compact, but that sacrifices spool size, and you can’t get enough line on a 100 size spool to make the long casts these big crankbaits call for. You can literally cast all the line off a 100 size reel—and hey, let’s face it, nobody likes a naked spool.†

The line

“I’m running 12-pound Sunline Fluorocarbon on a lot of these crankbaits, but when I use the giant Strike King 10XD, I pair it with 14-pound because it’s so big and heavy you’ll risk breaking the line as you snap to cast it with anything less.†

The lures

“I ain’t prejudice, I got ‘em all,†Swindle said. “The Strike King 10XD, the 6th Sense Crush 500DD, Rapala DT20, Profound Outdoors Z Boss 20 and some new deep diving Storm Arashi cranks that Palaniuk gave me. I’ll throw ‘em all at some point this week.â€