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As I sit here looking at the snow and ice and contemplating upcoming tournaments I remembered just how much my fishing improved when I started looking at my lures as tools. Novice anglers often ask me how do you know when to use what lures? You wouldn't use a screw driver when you need pliers and although pliers may work for a job an adjustable wrench will do the job much better or a ratchet and proper socket may be even more efficient than the wrench. The choices in each lure category can be overwhelming especially for the beginner, as well as experienced anglers. Consider what depth and speed and retrieve angles you are going to need fish (based on seasonal pattern) and choose the lures that have the mechanical abilities to operate in the most efficient way to fish the necessary depth , speed and retrieve (horizontal or vertical) that you think will work based on the seasonal pattern the fish are in. I believe a bass will hit any lure at anytime of the year if you could present it in a manner that appeals to their mood.I have been asked when should I throw crankbaits or jigs or soft plastics or spinnerbaits or any lure. Time of year is irrelevant if you can present the lure at the proper speed ,direction and depth that will trigger a bite. Size,shape and color are secondary factors in the equation. A crankbait is not considered a vertical presentation but a suspending crank can produce many fish when fished at the right depth and left to sit still for a long period of time in cold water,nor is a spinnerbait considered a vertical presentation very often except when fished like a jig or allowed to helicopter to the bottom.
I continually think what tool will work the best to get me the proper presentation I need and if I decide it's a hammer then I begin to narrow it down from possibly a sledge hammer to a framing hammer or a tiny finish hammer.By thinking of my lures as tools and considering the presentations of each tool (also keep your color choices simple) I can quickly begin to dial in on a pattern without having every lure in the boat out on the deck.
 

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It's a good way to look at lures and all the rest of your tackle, including your boat, trolling motor and electronics. The most important tool of all is the one inside looking out reading this post. Common sense goes a long way toward catching bass. Using a lure designed to go through weeds without hanging up is easier then trying to run a crank bait through weeds that get berried. However if the bass are not in the weeds then it really doesn't matter how well the lure gets through them.
Tom
 

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Great Article!!! This is an interesting and very helpful philosophy. It is true, you have to match the hatch so to speak as well as many other factors in order to consistently be a successful bass fisherman.
 

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Very good info for someone . When I buy cranks to paint, I look for specific things to use them for.I had got one last year I thought was messed up because when you jerk it it goes in a circle O ,Then I just found out that shad do that when they swim .Go figure they are shad cranks. Learning new stuff and technics all the time I think keeps you ahead of the game.
Some cranks be careful ,some say diving is 18` but thats for trolling not pole depths and pole depth is probably around 15`.So make sure when looking its pole depth not trolling. Or if they say 10`- 15` that usually means 10` pole , 15` trolling.
 
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