There are millions of baits and lures flooding the fishing market, some are new, some are old, some are gimmicks, and some are reliable. Recently I was thinking about the long list of bass baits that do a great job, and there is one that I think many people have not seen or overlook it for the real thing.
The realistic crawfish is an A-plus lure in any fishery where crawfish exist. Most bass waters have these crawling crustaceans in their system and in my opinion either people don't realize that they are viable baits or they overlook them for something they see the pro guys using and endorse. An even simpler reason may be that people skip using the plastic crawfish is because they buy the real thing.
Simply said, bass cannot stay away from these feisty candies! This is the case all year long. However, just like any other lure, there is a time of year when they work the best. Fall and winter are prime times to use a crawfish pattern, although it will work any time. One difference between cold water presentations and warm water presentations is that as the water warms bass tend to focus more on schooling fish.
Real crawfish are great, although they are sometimes hard to get hold of and you have to keep them alive, otherwise they are not worth putting on the hook. Real craws are also fragile; they are an only good for one cast type of bait. Plastic crawfish offer a more stable lure, and they are offered with a weight to get them to the bottom faster and keep them there. Another plus to a plastic crawfish is that in most cases they will last quite a while.
To be clear, I am speaking of very realistic looking lures, the ones that you could mistake for the real thing.
Huddleston, Berkeley, Strike-Pro, and MadMan are just a few to offer this very realistic design. If you look into it, there are also a few Bass Master guys who have won a lot of money using these lures. They have been proven on the national stage.
Tying on a jig with a trailer is a popular crawfish pattern that people opt for when the fishing presentation has to be slow. In places like California, Texas, Alabama, Louisiana, and Florida, crawfish are present year round, because the weather never gets too cold. Other places where a cruel winter exists, you will most likely find crawfish only during the warmer months, making the crawfish pattern only viable seasonally. Plastic baits are my preferred lures. The plastic crawfish is natural for me and very easy to use. So when you're thinking of tying on a jig, try out what likely will soon to be your favorite too and, tie on a realistic plastic crawfish.
So down to the details, if you're thinking about trying this type of bait out, go get yourself a pack of whatever looks good to you. I prefer the natural color patterns. Realism is the key to this presentation. If you see the color pattern in the water you're fishing, use it. Study the food chain, crawfish change color throughout the year. If you cannot see them year round, go online and study information about the prey you're trying to imitate.
Throw them whenever and in whatever situation you want; these lures are versatile and effective in many situations. From shallow water, to bedding bass, to the 20 foot range, these lures will work. Understand the ways you can work them. Study the way a crawfish moves and learn to imitate it. Crawfish will both crawl slowly and dart rapidly. Try a Texas rig with up to a 3/16-ounce weight. Throw it at docks, tree stumps, and rocks then wait for it to hit the bottom. On your retrieve, you can work it back rapidly with darting motions or twitch it to make minor movements for sluggish bass. Another option is be to shake the tip of your rod making the lure jump in place. Give it a few seconds and do it again. Some realistic craws come pre-weighted and are perfect for bottom use, while other don't have "built in" weight and are very suitable for all depth ranges, including suspended bass. I have caught bass by shaking these lures as I bring them up through the water column.
Bedding bass are very protective, and whether they are protecting a nest or just swimming by, a slow approach while sight fishing will produce bites as well. Throw your lure into a bed and wait for a bass to swim by. Then with a small shake of the lure, you will often induce a reaction bite. In my opinion based on my experiences the best way to use these lures is slow and deliberate. Crawfish usually have slow and methodical movements unless fleeing a predator. Surprisingly, if a crawfish gets caught in the open by a bass they will try to defend themselves first rather than flee. This usually ends in the crawfish’s pinchers getting ripped off before a crushing death.
I have cracked some very hard to fish lakes using this lure. It is not always a big fish getter; however solid sizes are consistently hooked. Learning new ways to create a bite is what fishing is all about to me. Highly pressured area often causes fish to go into a state that I like to call Lock Jaw. Finding new ways to present an easy meal for the fish is a sure way to be a step ahead of our fellow anglers and catch fish year round when others are not. Realistic crawfish is one lure that will help you do that.