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Crankbaits in the Stumps For Big Spring Largemouth Bass                By Capt. Mike Gerry

Pretty largemouth bass.  

Is there any largemouth bass angler that doesn't love spring? It’s the time of year that the bass are hanging in the stumps as they are looking for hard bottom area’s to finish the spawning process. An important unique way to fish these areas is to pull rattle baits or crank baits through the stumps but doing this requires some finesse fishing with your crankbaits.

Crankbaits as we all know have very sharp treble hooks and in order to pull a crank bait through stumps you have to pull the bait with finesse, using the tip of your rod to control how the bait "bumps the stumps." A slight movement from 3 o’clock to 12 o’clock has an enormous effect on the movement of the crank bait, it changes the baits depth, and the position that the treble hooks run as well as the speed of the bait.

Rattle Baits:

If the stumps are deeper, like 5 to 7 feet, there is no better bait than a rattle bait. You can work rattle baits in deeper stumps by working them over the cover and letting them drop into the areas between the stumps. All you do is stop the retrieve momentarily and the bait will drop. Then, with just some careful tip control, you can do this without hooking the stumps. This method allows you to maneuver this very effective bait for fishing in hard cover. When the stumps are in that 4 to 6 feet of depth and not showing over the top of the water a rattle bait is just about ideal.

  Rattle Bait


The retrieve after the drop needs to be sharp and quick to allow the rattle bait to run nose down and pop over the stumps without hanging up. This is important because if the nose of the rattle bait hangs lower than the rear treble hook the bait will easily bump and jump over a stump. This is one time that I do not increase the size of the rear treble hook. I want it to run nose down and sometimes with an increased size rear treble it prevents this nose down attitude that I'm looking for. However, it is a good time to increase the size of the front treble this just by pure dynamics weights the front and the nose runs lower than the rear. You can also accomplish this without changing any hooks by using weighted tape on the nose so it lies nose down.


When the stumps are shallower or the tops show above the water working a shallow running crank bait is just the ticket. The challenge here is to bump the stumps with the nose of the bait without hanging up. You can accomplish this by holding the rod tip at or about 3 o’clock and when you feel it start to grab the stumps just raise the rod tip to 12 o’clock, this lifts the crank bait over the stumps in a nice constant retrieving motion. This again is finesse fishing with a crank bait so work it slowly retrieve it at a steady rate and use the tip to control the crank bait in and around the stumps.


There are several companies that make crank baits that will work in this situation; all you need is a crank bait that rises slowly and has curved or round lips, as they bounce off the stumps or rise over them with very little effort. Some crank-baits have more lift or more buoyancy than others, finding an effective crank-bait in this situation is the key. Experiment with your crank baits. You will find that the ones that lift the fastest when stopped catch more fish in this situation and are easily worked through stumps. This technique is very effective in catching fish for a couple of reasons. The first being most people don’t do this. And the other is, in stumps its just a different look than most people fish, so you have a bait that presents itself differently than they are use to seeing. No doubt that this is different but if you become an efficient stump fishermen with crank baits you will reap the benefits that many others haven’t been able to.

Another great bass fishing day on Lake Guntersville.   Editor's Note:

Capt. Mike Gerry is the owner of Fish Lake Guntersville Guide Service and a top professional largemouth bass guide at Lake Guntersville, AL.  He has written many articles and has been published in Outdoor Sports in the Southeast, The Sportsman's Journal, Great Outdoors Magazine, Alabama Outdoor News and many others. Mike is a Pro Staff member for several leading fishing tackle manufacturers and is on the Stratos Boats Pro Staff. His 35 years of fishing experience on Lake Guntersville make him the "go to" guide to fish that area.




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