Crankbaits And Kayaks: Tricks You Didn’t Know You Needed to Know

By Coty Perry

Although kayak anglers use the same lures as bank and boat anglers, we often must adjust our approach. One lure I’ve found myself using differently while bass fishing from a kayak is the crankbait.

I love throwing a crankbait, but a challenge to fishing one in a kayak is the drag created by the lure. Fishing kayaks are much lighter than bass boats, so your kayak moves toward the lure as you retrieve it.

Learning to control the yak was a significant adjustment I made when transitioning to fishing a crankbait from a kayak. I now steer my yak while reeling a crankbait instead of picking up a paddle. All I do is point my rod tip in the opposite direction I want to go. When my rod tip points to the left, my kayak drifts to the right and vice versa. To go straight, I point my rod tip straight ahead.

Speaking of the rod, I use a shorter rod, mainly because I fish areas with a lot of overhanging trees, and shorter rods transport easier in my rod box on my trailer and kayak. I also use a higher-speed reel than bank and bass boat anglers because I’m losing speed as the kayak drifts towards my crankbait. So, instead of a 6:1, I use an 8:1 or 7:1 gear ratio.

I spool up with braided line and use a 3- to 5-foot, 12- to 17-pound test fluorocarbon leader. The length and strength depend on water clarity and how deep I fish.

More than likely, I have a squarebill crankbait tied on while fishing shallow, which is a majority of the time. However, I will tie a deep-diving crankbait during the summer.

Where to Fish a Crankbait in a Yak

Crankbaits have a lot of benefits, but they also have limitations. A lipless crankbait can be fished in the grass, especially along the edge of the grass, but most of the time, I fish crankbaits along rocky or riprap banks and over the tops of brushpiles.

I want my lure hitting every rock on the retrieve back because this often triggers a bite. The same holds true for fishing around laydowns and brushpiles. I don’t want to get snagged, but I’ve gotten so many bites after bumping into submerged limbs.

Fishing in these two areas has helped me catch loads of bass on a crankbait, plus a few catfish and drums.

When to Fish a Crankbait in a Kayak

I fish a crankbait year-round. However, I change the style. In the cooler months, I tend to break out a lipless crankbait the most. As the water warms, I switch to a squarebill, and once I’m sure the fish have moved to deeper water, I’ll tie on a deep-diving crankbait during the hottest times of the year.

 Coty Perry is a third-generation angler, who has a lot of experience on the water and loves sharing what he knows on

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