Pro bass angler Brandon Cobb relies on smaller finesse crankbaits to cover water and trigger bass during the fall and early winter. While lipless crankbaits excel for fall bass around grass, finesse crankbaits often work better for bass keyed in on small shad and relating to shallow water flats with wood.
TACKLE USED (retail links)
- CRANKBAIT – Yo-Zuri 3DR-X Crank SR: Buy at Tackle Warehouse
- ROD – ARK Brandon Cobb Series Casting Rod, 6’11” Medium-Regular (BB611MRC): Buy at Tackle Warehouse
- REEL – ARK Fishing Gravity 7 Casting Reels, 5.4:1 (winter) & 7.1:1 (fall): Buy at Tackle Warehouse
- LINE – Yo-Zuri T-7 Premium Fluorocarbon Line, 10- to 12-pound: Buy at Tackle Warehouse
FALL AND WINTER FISHING WITH FINESSE CRANKBAITS
Cobb begins by emphasizing the effectiveness of small finesse crankbaits in mimicking shad during the fall and early winter months. He explains how these baits are efficiency machines when fished across shallow flats – places where a spinnerbait or aggressive squarebill crankbait might come to mind. In typical crankbait fashion, deflecting the bait off wood and rock is an effective triggering mechanism.
THE BEST ROD SETUP FOR FINESSE CRANKING
Understanding the challenges of casting light crankbaits, Cobb discusses his preference for a slower, moderate power rod such as his signature ARK Cobb Series jerkbait rod, which does small crankbait double duty equally well. He pairs his rod with a reel tuned for light baits and 10- to 12-pound fluorocarbon, depending on the conditions.
HOW TO FISH FINESSE CRANKBAITS IN COOL SEASONS
Cobb details the distinct approach needed for finesse cranking in cool water seasons; he advises using a higher gear ratio reel during fall and switching to a slower 5.4:1 gear ratio in winter. Additionally, he shares a tip on rod positioning and moderating his retrieve speed to reduce gumming up the hooks with bottom debris.
TARGETING THE CHOICEST COVER
Cobb discusses focusing on shallow flats with laydowns. He explains the importance of keeping baits clean from debris and why erratic rod action can be crucial in these conditions. Expanding on fall patterns, he stresses targeting the ends of laydowns or docks which seem to be the most productive.
Cobb’s guide to finesse crankbait fishing in the fall and winter seasons is a helpful roadmap for anglers looking to up their game during these challenging months. His gear, technique, and location tips will get you on the right track to success.