Winning winter cranking targets

Yes, we’ve had a couple of bitter cold fronts, but a relatively mild winter can bolster a seasonal tactic of which Elite Series pro John Crews was already a believer — cranking. Normal winter patterns see occasional warming trends that stimulate the fish, but with the past few winters bringing less of the harsh stuff — at least in the southern U.S. — Crews has enjoyed a pretty stout crankbait bite.

“If the water temperature is right in the wintertime, a crankbait can be golden,” the Virginia pro said. “In most parts of the country, fall is the time that fish key in on baitfish. In winter, those baitfish start dying off, so I think the fish start looking for that vibration (common to) a baitfish.”

As Crews notes, the dividing line is somewhere in the mid 40s. When water temps drop below that mark, the crankbait bite vanishes. When it’s 47, 48 or better, he has winding on his mind.