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  1. 1. 1Connor KesericBennett12th Lit Comp14 September 2011 What Makes Fish Crank? A shoemaker’s knife, sandpaper, and a hungry Finnish man named Lauri Rapalawere all it took to create one of the greatest fishing utensils ever created by man kind, thecrank bait ( “Rapala Crankbaits” ) . The crank bait is a fishing lure that is usuallyconsists of hard plastic but can be made of wood and cork as well and mimics the actionsof a wounded bait fish, which is absolutely irresistible to predatory fish like bass,muskie, and pike. This bait will operate and please the fisherman much more with theproper color, and use in the right weather conditions. Weather and color play aremarkably large part in fishing lure success, and good luck to the fisherman that uses acrank bait in the winter. Figuring out the ideal scenarios for a certain lure, like the crankbait, is necessary for a successful day on the water. So for all the fishing enthusiasts outthere, knowing the right colors to use, the right times to fish, and maybe even a littlehistory behind the bait may bring the dream of landing that one lunker into reality. In the early 1930’s, a man named Lauri Rapala started a dynasty( “Rapala Crankbaits” ). This Finnish farmer watched large, predatory fish single out andtarget the weakest and most vulnerable fish in the school day after day( “Rapala Crankbaits” ). There on that Scandinavian lake, in the mind of this fishing lurelegend, the thought of the crank bait was conceived. Rapala arrived at home one daywith this idea ringing in his head, he then began whittling and carving for days with a
  2. 2. 2shoemaker’s knife ( “Rapala Crankbaits” ), pursuing that perfect shape and weight for hissuper bait, which could conceivably catch any predatory fish. The obvious benefits thatRapala realized at first were a greater chance to catch fish and making money on theextra fish he caught and selling them in the town market ( “Rapala Crankbaits” ). Onebenefit that Rapala did not initially realize was that he did not have to keep re-baiting hisline with a new worm or baitfish every time he caught a fish ( “Rapala Crankbaits” ); hesimply reused the crank bait that he had created over and over again. This bait was sosimple; it was a piece of cork covered in tin foil and melted photo negatives to create ahard, water resistant case around the outside( “Rapala Crankbaits” ). Back when Rapalafirst made this lure with some simple household objects, this process of making ahomemade crank bait was most likely a week long project, but the final product waspure genius. The crank bait utilized the most important rule in fishing lures: replicate themovement of the fish’s real food as closely as possible. This bait worked so well thatword spread about Rapala’s success and ever since, the crank bait has been a tackle boxnecessity. Rapala’s tin foil cover really was the perfect selection for the ultra clear lakehe fished on, and color really plays a part in catching fish. Many people will argue that just about any sort of animal is colorblind, but nota bass. Many expert fishermen will testify to this common belief of many amateurfishermen ( Pierce ), and have tournament winnings to show for it. An inexperiencedfisherman may also believe that brighter colors trigger more bites than natural colors.This statement is not true; success all depends on the weather conditions, clarity of thewater, and season, but that is for later. A lure should match the surroundings and thecolor of the bait fish that the bass feeds on as closely as possible. In a murky lake where
  3. 3. 3bass feed on bluegill, the bait should be very dark in color, simply because darker watermeans darker fish, and bluegill are dark to begin with ( Brown ) . Someone who uses awhite lure in murky water would be lucky to catch a boot at the bottom of the lake. Theperfect time to use a white lure would be in very clear water on a sunny day. These arethe best conditions for a bright bait because bright baits reflect light, and they will notfunction properly where sunlight is not abundant ( Brown ) . A bass’ vision has evolvedfor hundreds of thousands of years to pick out the one certain fish it likes to eat in itsenvironment. Because a bass’ vision is so perfectly keyed in on that one type of fish, thelure should come as close to the real color, shade, and design of that fish as possible.Another variable that bass have been experiencing for hundreds of thousands of years isthe specific changes in the seasons and weather. Spring, summer, fall, winter; these, as many people probably know, are the fourseasons, and for fishermen, four very different challenges. In the spring, bass arespawning ( mating season ) in shallow flats in the water, usually along the bank or on ahigh point out in the lake. Bass are one of the only fish that protect their offspring, andthey protect them violently. In spring, bass are protecting their nests from many differenttypes of creatures, such as bluegill, other bass, turtles, and any other big animal species inor near a lake. One of the best times to catch a bass is during spawning time for this veryreason; the mother, and even the father sometimes, will attack anything that looks like itmight threaten their young. Fishermen use the spring time to their advantage every yearby simply looking for a nest and casting near it until something hits. This technique isreferred to as sight fishing, but that is for another day. A crank bait is often a goodchoice for sight fishing because a crank bait can be bought in large sizes, which are
  4. 4. 4much more threatening than a small bait to the bass protecting the nest at that time( “Seasonal Lure Selection” ) . A large crank bait with the colors of a bluegill or basswill often spark an instinctive strike by the bass guarding the nest ( Brown ), andtherefore lands a bass in the boat. In summertime, bass are attempting to regain theirweight prior to the spawning season by eating as mush as possible. In the summer, thebait are also very abundant, and it almost excites the bass into feeding heavily. A goodcrank bait in this situation will almost always get hit if the color is suitable for theenvironment and it is not scalding hot outside. Hot weather means hot water, and aslong as the water does not get too hot, most lakes will hold enough oxygen for feedingactivity. The colder seasons hold a lot more oxygen in the water, but again, too far in theextreme direction and the fish just get too cold to worry about feeding and wastingenergy, all the bass want to do in the extreme cold is stay warm. There are many crankbait sizes and shapes, and a slower - moving crank bait is definitely beneficial to thefisherman in cold weather. Slower – moving crank baits work better in the colderseasons because during fall and winter, the bass have already gained their weight backfor the next spawning season and only eat easy meals to maintain their weight. Bass donot need to eat often during the colder seasons because their metabolisms slow way downand they do not burn calories and energy nearly as fast, which enables the bass to keeptheir weight much better. So, for a fisherman in the colder seasons, he has to present hislure to the fish as a very vulnerable, easy target that will not require much energy for thefish to obtain. Darker colors usually work better in winter as well, simply because it ishard for bait fish to survive in the cold, so their body stops producing bright pigments to
  5. 5. 5save energy for their bodies. Basically, the colder it gets, the harder it is to catch fish, butleave it to the crank bait to solve any problem the weather may throw at a fisherman onany given day. Who would have thought that a hungry guy from Finland could have made a baitso amazing that companies and business’ for decades after are still trying to make theirown version? In the right conditions and correct color choice, the crank bait can catchany predatory fish fresh water can present. Color choice can be the deciding factor in afisherman’s success. Another key factor that fishermen should also pay attention to isthe weather and season that is currently effecting the fish and their feeding habits. If it ishot, bright colors and fast moving baits, when cold, dark crank baits and a slowpresentation will do the trick. All of these factors can contribute to a fishing trip havinggood or bad results. Hopefully, this history and tips about crank baits will help someonetruly have a great day on the lake.
  6. 6. 6 Works CitedBrown, Roger. "Color Selection Simplified." Bass Resource. N.p., 2011. Web. 2 Sept. 2011. < color_fishing.html>.Pierce, Virginia. "Color Perception." Bass Resource. N.p., 2011. Web. 6 Sept. 2011. < Choosing_Colors_selection.html>."Rapala Crankbaits." Bass Tackle Depot . Rapala, 2011. Web. 14 Sept. 2011. <>."Seasonal Lure Selection ." Bass Resource. N.p., 2011. Web. 2 Sept. 2011. <>.