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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Saturday seemed better than normal on the Willi, did anyone else find this to be true? The fish seemed to be close to cover and in a little deeper water with current... not as much on the flats. I still haven't had much luck with cranks and lipless cranks as many of you seem to be having lately... but the Senkos, Robo worms, and tubes are working great... especially when drop shotted! I caught several 12-13" fish, only a few dinks and on the last cast of the day this 2.4 lbs smallie (15.5") which was the biggest of the day. If you fished the Willi this weekend, please let me know how you did and what worked for you, thanks.

-K Stock
 

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I fished the Willy on Saturday morning, bite was decent until around 9. Only caught one fish between probably 9/915 until about 10:45 we loaded up. Almost all of our fish (about 20 total - 3 guys fishing) came on lipless, blue/chrome mostly, up near a rocky flat. I tried switching it up after the morning bite died, drop shotting mostly, and couldn't buy a bite. So basically I found the exact opposite, but I don't think I was fishing deep enough when drop shotting.

The river was packed by the time we took out, with fisherman and pleasure boaters. I saw at least 8 different boats out there bass fishing, much more than normal.

How deep were you catching them?
 

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I was down underneath the Railroad Bridge today fishing the Willie for whatever fish (using a worm setup) ... my buddy was sturgeon fishing. Had a great day, overall! Got down there around 4 or so, and fished to about 8. Caught plenty of perch, a few nice cats, including one channel cat that probably went about 4 pounds, a couple nice bass, and I even got into a really nice school of crappie! Caught around 10 or so, pretty good sized ones too. Caught a few nice bass, a few maybe reaching a pound. I was only fishing about 15-20 feet from the shore, but there is a nice little drop off out right under the bridge. (Same place where I caught my Salmon, if you all remember!)
My friend had plenty of sturgeon bites, but not so much on the hookin' side.
Overall, an awesome day.
 

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just put a pic up on another thred of this years pics, of last mon. on the the Willi. 6 hrs on the water produced over 30 fish only 5 out of those fish were rats ... the rest were 2 lb clones but a couple pushing the 4lb mark.... pretty mush a reaction bite all day ........:cheers:
 

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KStock, I fished the willy Saturday and found the fishing to be slow. Did not get on the water until about 1:30. Pleasure boaters everywhere and all afternoon. I did manage one nice 17 inch smallie but the rest were pretty small. I only got 5 fish for about 4 hours fishing. seemed to me that the weather change had affected the bite. I had been out on Thursday too. That day I hammered them big time. Was out about 3 hours and cot at least 2 dozen smallies. One was about 3.5 lbs.

Tewise95, I was one of the guys in the bass boat under the railroad bridge on 7/21/07 that saw you catch that Chinook. When you guys left the area, we went over to that hole where that nice drop off is near shore, we caught several smallies and one pikeminnow in there.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for your reports. Ryan, I was catching them in 12-16 feet... pretty normal I guess... but again, I seem to be having more luck when there's some current. I'm still learning and have had good luck fishing Senkos very slowly... dragging them along with the current. But this time I drop shotted a baby bass Robo worm most of the morning giving it much more action... twitching it... pause... twitch, etc. and it seemed to work just as well as the Senko or better. Please tell me your secret for fishing your lipless cranks. Is it true what they say... erratic retrieve and contact with structure and/or cover is the key? I'll give it another try this weekend based on your report, thanks.
Bucketmouth and Jade Monkey... those are impressive numbers! What type of Willi water and baits are working best for you this time of year? Thanks.

-K Stock
 

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Please tell me your secret for fishing your lipless cranks. Is it true what they say... erratic retrieve and contact with structure and/or cover is the key?

-K Stock

Most times(90%) the above statement is true, however don't be afraid to burn them(let the lure drop and then reel as fast as you can) every once and awhile. Somedays they want it fast, somedays they want it slow. I have even seen days that they will not touch a crankbait unless it is moving 100% parallel with the current. The key to lipless cranks or any bait is putting in the time to learn what works and what does not, and having the confidence that it will produce.
 

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......Somedays they want it fast, somedays they want it slow........The key to lipless cranks or any bait is putting in the time to learn what works and what does not, and having the confidence that it will produce.
I agree with 1bigfish, the key is just learning the lure. One evening early last week I fished near the same spot I did on Saturday, and the fish would only take the lipless if it was barely moving. Just cranking it enough to make it wobble. I never would have found that out had I not been fishing with a "newbie" bass fisher, and he was just killing them, and I was getting fish her and there. Then I started watching his retrieve, and I was astonished how slow he was reeling. He out fished me that day, I have not heard the end of its since.....

So switch it up, try everything until you start catching them. If you have two people, both try different things. You will get it, and you will love it....
 

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These guys are right. Using a change up on your retrieve is many times critical. A lot of the time, people over simplify crank baits. They think all there is to fishing a crankbait is tying one on, throwing it out and reeling it in!. That may work on occasion, but consistently productive "crankbaiters" know there is much more to it than that. Crank baits can be a dynamite bait when the fish are actively feeding. They cover a lot of water which makes it easier to find where fish are.

I could give a lot of information about crankbaiting but to be brief, I will list a few rules of thumb that I like to take into consideration when using them.

As a rule, cloudy days are better than clear days, Warm days are better than cool days, Windy days are better than calm days.

If the sun's rays are bright in shallow water, fluorescent yellow and charteuse are best.

Higher the sun the more translucent your bait color.

When it is very windy use lipless cranks especially on days or in waters you would not normally have used them. the wind can cause current to flow in the direction the wind is coming from. fish always face current, so throw your lure into the wind.

Down size your bits when fish are not being active. If feeding is slow, fish smaller baits and slow them down. Use small jerkbaits, and cranks.

Muddy water, slow your presentation. Use brighter colors. Clear water, faster presentation tighter wobble, muted colors.

Best conditions for ripping the flats are on those days with cloud cover, wind, and low pressure fronts.

Cloud cover and rain reduce visibility in water. Makes good conditions for top water baits.

That said, I still use soft plastics more then cranks. I personally catch more fish that way. However, I have seen days where a fish will blow right by a soft plastic in order to take a crank. Besides water depth, temperature, clarity, cover, and activity level, available forage plays a big part in whether one should use cranks.
 

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i have to agree with EVERYTHING bucket said ..... its all about the game plan and sticking to it ..... look at tides, weather, temp, water temp, water clarity.. these all play a factor to a productive day SMB fishing ,,,, i spend 2-3 days a week on the water getting my line wet ... and thats where i would tell anyone to start ... pm me if you want some more info ..... thanks for that great lay out bucket!!!!
 

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Great work guys.
Was at the waterfowl festival all weekend and wondered how the bite was Saturday ahead of the cold front.

I'll be back after them shortly. With the water temp dropping they should be starting to feed real good.
Hunt'nFish
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks Bucket, J Monkey, Ryan, and OBF! I took in your advice and will give it a try this weekend and let you know how it goes. Bucket mentioned he often likes using lipless cranks in windy conditions. Are there any other guidelines you have found true for using lipless cranks vs. conventional? From what you guys have mentioned, I gather that Fall is a good time to experiment and learn how to fish a lipless crankbait. Thanks for all your help.

-K Stock
 
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