How to Catch Bass on Crankbaits | Spring Transition

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Bass fishing legend Kevin VanDam recently delivered this unique spring Damiki rigging video and followed up with this informative crankbait piece in another prespawn scenario. KVD explains how to target prespawn bass on highland reservoirs by finding and targeting bottom composition changes with crankbaits. While the process sounds easy, there’s some nuance that requires your eyes to observe the shorelines and fish finders to see what’s below the surface.


Bottom changes, where different rock types meet, are prime locations to find bass consolidations as they make their initial push into shallower water. KVD explains what to look for on the shore with your naked eye and how to find “sleeper” underwater transitions using contour mapping in conjunction with 360 sonar. While a range of baits work, he favors using compact, mid-depth crankbaits in hues of crawfish-imitating browns and red during this timeframe. Crankbaits can’t be beat for covering water and triggering bites!

To speed finding prime spots, KVD uses contour coloring (depth highlight) to help quickly identify likely areas on the map, with steep to flat contour transitions being prime. Humminbird’s MEGA 360 adds information by revealing structure and cover elements that lay on top of the contours. KVD then lines up high-percentage casts that keep his bait in the strike window the longest. He favors wind-blown shorelines for this pattern, as the wind cuts down on light penetration, creates current, and makes the fish less spooky and more active while enhancing casting distance.

Lastly, KVD discusses the importance of using a crankbait-optimized rod setup built around a moderate speed 6.2:1 reel affixed to a composite cranking rod. While the slower action rod helps hook and keep bass buttoned, perhaps, more importantly, the rod and reel combo is optimized to feel the bait and get the most action out of it.