Crankbait Fishing for Smallmouth Bass on Lake Erie

By: FishUSA Staff

June 8, 2023

Crankbait fishing for smallies is an incredibly fun and effective method for not only catching these fish, but finding them too. Cranking for smallmouth is especially deadly when the bass are in their prespawn phase, and Presque Isle Bay on Lake Erie is one of the best places on Earth to capitalize on this. The prespawn phase time frame has smallmouth incredibly aggressive, eating everything in sight, and willing to react to a crankbait.

A couple key things to remember when crankbait fishing for prespawn smallmouth:

  1. These fish are staging to spawn, so look for areas that are nearby spawning flats and fish deeper off of these flats
  2. You may not need to look super deep, 6-10ft of water is plenty deep enough to hold aggressive prespawn bass
  3. Work your crankbait erratically
    1. You are trying to get these fish to react to your bait, and erratic movements can help trigger a strike
    2. A crankbait deflecting off of a rock or boulder is an instant trigger, so focus on these hard bottom areas
  4. Fish fast and make long casts
    1. The more water you cover, the better
    2. This increases your odds of putting your bait in front of more active fish
  5. Don't use too heavy of line
    1. 10-14lb fluorocarbon is ideal
    2. The heavier the line you use, the shallower your bait will dive

A giant prespawn smallmouth that fell for a Bill Lewis MR-6 in the color "Cell Mate"

FishUSA Pro Staffer and Major League Fishing Pro Matt Becker explains his approach to targeting prespawn smallmouth bass with a crankbait in Lake Erie

We hope this article helps you put more smallmouth in the boat this year