Muskie - Fishing with Bass Crank Baits

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Instructor: Cory Allen
Categories: Freshwater Muskie

Cory Allen discusses the intersection of bass crank bait and musky crank bait, highlighting the differences in size and dive curves. Bass cranks are designed for fast down-and-reach, while musky lures dive on shallower planes. Allen highlights the versatility of bass cranks, such as Livingston Lures Howeller Deep, Strike King 10XD, 6th Sense Cloud 9 Series, and Berkley Dredger 25.5, and encourages anglers to explore their own unique fishing arsenal.

Description / Review / Instructor


    Musky vs. Bass Crank Baits: Essentially the same but used differently.
    Trolling: Accepted in musky fishing but taboo in bass fishing.
    Dive Planes: Bass baits dive steeply and quickly, useful for casting in specific terrains.
    Cost: Bass crank baits are generally more affordable than musky lures.
    Video Feature: Cory Allen discusses his favorite bass crank baits for musky fishing.
    Lure Behavior: Varies by brand and design, affecting their utility in different fishing scenarios.

Is there such thing as a musky crank bait or a bass crank bait?

In the world of product marketing there certainly is, and you better adhere to the intended usage of a given bait, for fear of upending the industry puppet masters. Joking. All crank baits are just different shapes and sizes of the same thing. Can you really use a bass bait for musky fishing or a musky lure for bass fishing? Yes, and you should.

What is the real difference between musky crank baits and bass crank baits?

Trolling is the answer. Huh, you might be thinking. Yes. Trolling is taboo in bass fishing, but widely accepted within musky fishing circles. Now, we are going to get into dive planes and why you may need a more shallow dive plane for musky fishing and a deeper plane for bass. When trolling, you don't need your lures to get down real quickly. You have plenty of runway to achieve a desired depth. In bass fishing, you are casting and need a lure to dive to a desired depth on a single cast. Thus, bass cranks have to dig hard to get down. This can be very helpful.

Bass crank baits, by their very nature, are meant to descend on a steep curve and stay there over a relatively short distance. This same principle can be very useful in musky fishing, because you cannot troll everywhere. A few obvious reasons you may want to utilize the steeper dive plane of a bass lure versus a musky lure when casting is fishing depth. If a lure can only achieve a marginal depth on a cast, you may be over the top of musky suspended deep. You need something that is going to get down in their face. For example, there are times when you want to fish down a steep weed edge, or into a timber field, in areas you cannot troll. For this, you need a bait that descend on a steeper dive curve. Voila, the bass crank is the answer. Bass crank baits are also heaps less expensive than musky lures.

In this short In The Spread fishing video featuring the legendary Cory Allen, you will learn:

  • About several of his top bass crank baits that are well suited for musky fishing.
  • There are a load of crank baits out there. These are just a few of Cory's favs.

Keep in mind, before you go hit the tackle store, it is not always easy to tell exactly what a lure will do before you get it in the water. You can pick a handful that all say they dive to a specific depth and they will get to that depth, but in somewhat different ways. Some rise, some suspend and their swimming motion can range to super erratic to a soft wobble. Think about the application you have in mind before spending the coin. Cory gives excellent insight into what each of these lures does and why he likes them for musky fishing. The deep analysis come from how he breaks down his retrieval technique for each bait.

Livingston Lures Howeller Deep

  • This lure gets wet and makes a baitfish sound and it has rattles.
  • The cool part is it is a deep diver that weighs over 2 ounces, making it a prime candid for casting with heavy musky gear.
  • The Howeller Deep rises slowly from the rear, so it is always in the dive position. Just crank and it dives.

Strike King 10XD

  • This is the first bass crank Cory fell in love with.
  • It is 1.5 ounces with similar tendencies to the Howeller, but it has a quicker rise.
  • This is an incredible crank bait that everyone should have in their arsenal.

6th Sense Cloud 9 Series

  • The deep diver weighs in around 1.4 ounces.
  • This is a great bottom bouncing lure with consistent action.

Berkley Dredger 25.5

  • This one and an eighth ounce lure is the largest of the Dredger range of baits.
  • Diving to 25 feet with a really tight, subtle action, the Berkley Dredger is ideal for working parallel to deep timber.

These are just four crank baits from the vast world of bass fishing lures that work wonders as musky crossovers. Go to your local tackle shop and start exploring the world of bass crank baits and you will be pleasantly impressed with what you can get out of them when musky fishing.


What's the difference between musky and bass crank baits?
The main difference lies in the method of fishing. Trolling is common in musky fishing but not in bass fishing. The design of the bait, especially the dive plane, is influenced by this distinction.

Can I use a bass bait for musky fishing or vice versa?
Absolutely. While there are specific designs for each type, the essence of the bait remains the same. It's about understanding the behavior of the bait and the desired outcome.

Why would I choose a bass crank bait over a musky lure when casting?
Bass crank baits are designed to dive steeply and quickly, which can be beneficial when fishing in terrains where you can't troll, such as steep weed edges or timber fields.

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Cory Allen

Cory Allen, known as the Tennessee Muskie Authority, has years of expertise in muskie fishing. He is a skilled guide in the Tennessee River drainage basin, specializing in understanding muskellunge behavior and environmental conditions. Allen's dedication to his craft and continuous learning make him a valuable resource for both seasoned and novice anglers.

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