Many fishermen shy away from using crankbaits due to the fact that they are expensive. I can most certainly understand this because I have lost so many of them over the years. It just seems like it is a waste of money. But, then I ask myself, how valuable is catching fish to me. How precious is time spent on the water? My answer to that question is, Time spent on the water is priceless! Here are some tips that will make your crankbait fishing more productive.

There is an endless variety of bass fishing lures available to today's angler. From spinnerbaits, to soft plastic lures, to crankbaits, anglers can become bogged down in all of the choices they have. I have been fishing for my entire life and have been a fishing guide for the past 15 years. One thing that I have learned is that you will do much better if you learn how to use a one lure rather than switch back and forth.

I am going to be careful with the way that I phrase this. I am not trying to tell you that you should only use one type of lure, rather get to know your lures. Getting to know your lures takes time. You will need to spend more time on the water. I am going to discuss crankbaits as my example.

A crankbait is a lure made out of wood or plastic that is in the shape of a small fish or a crawfish that is designed to dive down into the water and imitate the forage of a fish. These lures come in all shapes and sizes. Crankbaits are usually designed to catch a specific species of fish. This is why I own so many of them because I am a multi-species angler.

Crankbaits have a bill on them. The spilt ring is attached to this bill. The bill is designed to make the lure dive as it is pulled through the water and the split ring is what you attach your line to.

If you have never used a crankbait before you will want to practice a bit before you begin fishing. A 7-foot long medium action rod is a great place to start. Eight to ten pound test line is good enough for most freshwater fish.

Now that you have your rod and line it is time to go to the lake and practice. Begin by casting the crankbait into the water to see how it casts and retrieves. Crankbaits feel differently when being pulled through the water. You will "feel" the action of the lure.

Now that you have become familiar with your lure, it is time to begin fishing. An easy place to begin our search for fish is a rip-rap shoreline. Rip rap is a collection of rocks or broken concrete that is placed on a shoreline and the near shore waters to control erosion. Most anglers make the mistake of only casting straight out from the shore. If you are in a boat, begin by casting parallel to the shore and five feet out. Then move out couple of feet for each cast. Then you can move your boat down the shoreline and begin the process over again.

If you are a shore angler you can practice what is known as fan casting. Fan casting means that you begin by casting parallel to the shore and then move 5 degrees with each successive cast. Once you have completed your semi-circle, move 40 feet down the shoreline and repeat the process.

What I mean by getting to know your lures is that you need to spend some time on the water using them. Years ago I set a goal of becoming familiar with one type of lure a year. Actually, I spent a total of three years learning the ins and outs of cranks. Now I am confident that I know exactly when where and what kind of crankbait to use in a given situation.

Crankbaits require lots of practice. With so many shapes and sizes it is difficult to know which one to use in a given situation. With lots of practice, you too can catch fish using crankbaits. There are many fine manufacturers of crankbaits such as Rapala, Bandit Lures, Berkley and Bomber.