Craw Imitators to Catch Bass

The Bass Crawfish Connection

When it comes to bass fishing many know there is a tie between bass and crawfish, but you have to ask how close do these two run hand in hand? To answer that question, it is closer than you may think. Let’s take a closer look at the relationship between bass and craws and how you can work this to your advantage the next time you hit the water.

The Bass Crawfish Relationship

Below 45 degrees crawfish have little or no activity while either burrowed or hibernating in mud or rock crevices and are really not on the bass’ food list at that time. But when the water temps start to reach that 50-degree mark, the crawfish will leave their cooler water haunts and start looking for a respective mate. Soon the crawfish become part of the bass menu.

Find Crawfish Mating Grounds to Find Bass

Prime mating conditions for craws are water temps above 50 degree and clean rock areas. Craws unlike bass cannot use their tails to clean the rock that they want to use to reproduce on, so they have to rely on Mother Nature to do the work for them.

With this in mind look for crawfish mating habitat in areas that have wind swept, rocky bottom points. If the water is clear, take a quick pass through the shallower locations, looking for clean rocky areas. Do not forget mid-lake humps as they will also play into this scenario, if you have a few windy days.

Depending on the part of the country that you live in, crawfish can mate two times a year, targeting both of these times when the water hits that magic 50-degree mark.

Also, a point to make is where crawfish rank in the food source in your waters. In many places craws rank 1st or 2nd in the food chain, which plays an important part of the bass’ tastes.

In places where there is a number of food sources for the bass to choose from, they may not be as attracted to them. In my location, craws are rated number two in the food chain, with bluegills holding the number one spot.

Crawfish Imitators

There are a few primary baits to target bass that are feeding on craws. I include, crankbaits, plastics, and jigs and all play a big part in getting bass to bite.


Crankbaits will allow you to cover water, but choosing the right crankbait is critical in getting bites. Bass find craws by sound, so it is important that you choose a crankbait that will make contact with the rocky areas that you are fishing. The sound that the crankbait makes deflecting off of the rocks will imitate the clacking sound that craws make. Many times, this is how bass dial in on the craws locations.

Rattle vs. non-rattle cranks?

When the bass are active, I will choose a rattle crankbait, if the bass are inactive I will use a crankbait that does not have a rattle.

Bass that are on the chomp will be attracted to and able to find your crankbait easier with rattles. Inactive bass can be put off by crankbaits that have rattles.

If you are faced with a tough bite, shy away from loud rattle crankbaits. When you have worked an area with your crankbait always make another quick pass with either a jig or Texas-rigged craw option, before moving onto your next area.

Plastics and Jig Craw Imitations:

When it comes to delivering craw plastics, you have two way of doing it Texas-rigged and jigs. Which option you use will depend on the fishing conditions that you are faced with. Typically, I start with a Texas-rigged craw presentation with a tungsten sinker. This rig will give two advantages. The tungsten sinker will get better feel of the bottom and also tungsten will generate more sound than lead, when it hits the rock. The louder sound of the tungsten sinker will generate more strikes than using a lead sinker option.

If I need to bulk my Texas-rig, I will add a jig skirt to my line between the hook and the sinker. At times, this added option has generated a few extra bites.

When it comes to jigs, I use two different options for delivering craw plastics. Most of the time, I will use a football jig; but in the last few years, I have thrown a swing head jig a lot more.

I fish the swing head jig at a pretty good pace. I make my cast and let the jig hit the bottom. Then, I slowly start to reel at a slow speed. My goal is to keep the craw moving along the bottom at a SLOW but steady pace.

When it comes to fishing a football jig, I am using my jig as my depth finder – feeling my way along the bottom looking for rocks. I make my cast and let the jig settle to the bottom. Then, I slowly drag the jig along the bottom. When I come up to a rock, I will rock the jig a few times before I move it onto the next rock. When the jig falls back to the bottom, I often get the strike.


Another bait that is good at imitating craws is a tube. As many of the Great Lakes smallmouth fishermen have found, there are that you cannot beat a tube jig that is dragged along the bottom. This is a great way to imitate a craw moving around on the bottom.

Make your cast, let the tube settle to the bottom and slowly start to sweep your rod to the side, dragging your tube along the bottom. Stop and pick up the slack, then start to drag again. Keep a close eye on your rod tip for signs of a bite. When detected, set the hook.

As you can see, many times during your time of the water you are not far away from a craw bite.