Extremely versatile and covering every depth range from one foot to 25 feet.
Story and Photography by Matt Williams
There is a passel of lures that will fool a bass, but few allow anglers to cover all the bases and at times catch fish as consistently as crank baits do. To hear Longview bass pro Jim Tutt tell it, heading to the lake without a good mix of hard bodies in his tackle bin would be akin to setting out on a cross country trek without a spare for the boat trailer.
You might make the trip just fine. Then again, you could have blowout that leaves you stranded.
“I never go bass fishing without my crankbaits,” Tutt said. “They are extremely versatile in that they allow for covering every depth range from one foot to 25 feet. And as far as imitating what bass eat — in my opinion a crankbait imitates bass prey better than any other type of bait you can throw. I always have one tied on.”
Not surprisingly, Tutt has experienced plenty of success with crankbaits of varied styles tethered to his line. Two of his five wins on FLW tournament trails are owed strictly to crankin’ plugs.
The first came on Lake O’ of the Ozarks in Missouri, where he used a medium-diving Storm Wiggle Wart to pluck nearly 51 pounds of bass off chunk rock and boulders in three to eight feet of water to grab the first place prize worth nearly $67,000.
The second came on Sam Rayburn Reservoir, when Tutt relied on a Bill Lewis Rat-L-Trap to win an EverStart event held there in February 2002. Tutt used the lipless crankbait to pluck the winning fish off submerged hydrilla beds in water ranging two to four feet deep.
The 58-year-old pro got another dose of crankbait magic earlier this year when he racked up a fifth-place finish in the FLW Tour opener on a rain-swollen Sam Rayburn. Using a new medium-diving lure from Berkley called the Bad Shad in a red craw pattern, Tutt targeted the seam between underwater hay grass and hydrilla beds in six to eight feet of water to catch as many as 70 bass per day over the course of the four-day event.