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Fishing with a crank bait in cold weather

020919Fishing
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Don Campbell from Elizabeth City with a four-pound largemouth.

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By Mike Sweeney
Columnist

Saturday, February 9, 2019

When it comes to hunting for big fish this time of year I am always throwing a crankbait on at least one of my rods and covering a lot of water to help find my fish.

The crankbaits will find a fish when most other baits fail simply because it not only covers water but in different depths and you can slow it down or speed it up in order to match what the fish want for that particular day.

Some of my favorite baits include Rattle Traps, KVD square bills and Mann’s suspending jerk baits.

These baits will cover water and let me know what I need to catch the big females that are swimming around right now looking to feed before the spawn.

I fish the KVD baits when I am throwing right up to the bank and looking for the early fish when the sun is high and the fish are shallow.

I try to focus on the north side of the ponds or rivers where the sun has time to warm the shallows a little more and make the baitfish move up.

I will throw right up to the bank and slow crank the bait out to deeper water then pause the bait when I am over the edge of the drop off.

This will create a strike on the fish that have moved up to feed as well as the fish that are suspended our off the bank.

The Rattle Trap is my search bait because it will go a mile on a cast and you can fish almost any depth by retrieving the bait as soon as it hits the water or count down the lure then bringing it in.

I have caught some giants by sitting in 20 feet of water then throwing a Rattle Trap up to the edge of the drop off then slowly bringing it back to the boat.

If the water is clear then it better it will work in the winter no matter what the water temps are.

The Mann’s jerk baits are used mostly on points and when I am fishing parallel to the drop offs on the rivers. I use this bait in the typical twitch, twitch, pause pattern that most people fish but most I use it when the water temps are cooler than normal like after a cold front or when the weather has been cold for several days. The colder the water the longer the pause so watch your electronics.

What’s biting, where...

The offshore guys have found the big Bluefin tuna this past week and some have had multiple hook ups with as many as 4 rods going down at once.

This was a private boat so we all have a chance to get out there and catch a monster right now.

There is also some reports of yellowfin coming back to the docks so if you like sushi now is the time to go get you some.

On the beaches it has been a lot slower with dogfish and skate being mostly what has been caught this past week.

The biggest problem is the lack of anglers to give a report this time of year so get off the couch and find some fish.

Locally we have a good bite on the crappie still with most fish being caught on live shiners in the creeks.

Try to keep your baits in about 12 feet or so depending on the water temps but with the past few warmer days they could move shallow to spawn so don’t pass up a brush pile while you are trolling.

The largemouth bite is picking up also with most fish being had flipping soft plastics to structure like stumps and logs. One of my kayak buddies and a member of the Albemarle Kayak Anglers Don Campbell went out fishing the Pasquotank this week and scored a couple of nice bass flipping soft plastics.

This is typical for this time of year with the warmer than average days bringing the fish within reach.

If anyone gets out this week like Don let me know by sending a fishing report and some pictures to fishingwithmike921@yahoo.com or hit me up on Facebook at Fishing with Mike.

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