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Lake Lanier - The Crankbait Period

Lake Lanier - The Crankbait Period Lake Lanier - The Crankbait Period
By Bill Vanderford

Every spring as the trees start to bud, the geese begin to nest, and the surface temperature of the water rises above 50 degrees to stay, Lake Lanier has about a two-week period when the diving crankbait is the best lure to catch spotted bass. The reason is that the warming waters start to draw the bass away from their deeper winter homes towards the flowering shorelines.

In the beginning of this process, most bass tend to hold and feed suspended away from the banks of the lake in 6 to 10 feet of water. Therefore, for an angler to be successful, it is necessary to have a lure pass through this magic depth at a very slow pace, but with enough action to attract the bass’ curiosity and appetite. This is accomplished by utilizing diving crankbaits in 1/4 to 1/2 ounce sizes with enough of a diving lip to easily take the lure to the desired depth with the proper wiggle.

In the clearer waters, color never seems to make much of a difference, but when fishing stained or slightly muddy water, brighter chartreuse or white crankbaits tend to be more productive. The most important ingredient is always the speed of the retrieve!

Most anglers seem to think that the more casts they make the better their chances, but during Lanier’s prime crankbait period, that is certainly not the case. It is imperative that one finds the “happy medium” to be successful. The retrieve must be just fast enough to allow the crankbait to dive and wiggle, but not one bit more than that. Only the trial of success or failure will show a fisherman when he has achieved the proper speed.

Best places to cast are usually points and coves above Browns Bridge in the beginning of this period, but within a week, it won’t matter which end of the lake one chooses. Red clay banks seem to have more bass than rocky or sandy ones.

It’s best to use spinning tackle with 8 pound test line to be more efficient and allow the lure to go deep enough to attract the bass. Smaller diameter lines will let the lure go even deeper, but one is more at risk of losing fish and lures with the lighter lines.

If an angler casts directly at the bank, finds the right speed of retrieve, and diligently works the proper places, he can expect to catch 10 to 25 spotted bass and a few other species of fish in an 8-hour period each day for the next couple of weeks. As soon as the surface temperature all over the lake reaches 60 degrees, however, one can put the crankbaits away and learn a new method for the next part of the spring season, but I’ll save that one for another article.

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