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Cecil’s Shallow Cranking Menu

Cecil’s Shallow Cranking Menu

Russell Cecil is good at a lot of things, but one of his mainstays is a shallow crankbait. He’s won money cranking shallow all across the Southwestern Division of the Costa FLW Series, and he’s pretty much always got a shallow crankbait or three tied up when he heads to new water.

You can get by with a favorite crankbait or two for a lot of situations, but expanding your arsenal might not be a bad thing either. For cranking less than 6 feet deep, Cecil has six main baits he relies on, with a slightly different application for each.

 

The rundown

Working deep to shallow, these are the baits Cecil likes best.

1. 6th Sense Cloud 9 C10 

The 6th Sense Cloud 9 C10  is the deepest-diving bait that Cecil throws in the mix as a shallow diver. Part of the Cloud 9 series, the C10 is 2.65 inches long and can dive to more than 8 feet.

“I feel like it’s an efficient bait. It has a middle-size body, but it has a little bit larger bill than most baits that size,” says Cecil. “It really helps you when you’re cranking brush piles or stumps. It comes through brush and those big root systems really good.

“I’ll crank it on the outside of grass some, but I really like it on brush,” he adds. “There are tons and tons of brush piles on Lake Conroe. This time of year, in the early fall particularly, they’ll get on the little ledges and bends of the river channel that are only in 6 or 10 feet of water, and it can be killer.”

Essentially, if the fish are in 8 to 10 feet of water and susceptible to a crank, you can bet that Cecil is slinging a C10.

 

2. 6th Sense Movement L7 Square Bill

Working shallower, the 6th Sense Movement L7 Square Bill is a uniquely shaped and sized bait. 6th Sense bills it as a bait that hunts well, and Cecil likes to use it like a deep-diving square-bill.

“It’ll go down about 6 or 8 feet. It works really good on rock as well, especially on deeper riprap around bridges and places like that,” says Cecil. “It’ll get down deeper than a regular square-bill, and, honestly, they aren’t getting fished for as hard down there.”

 

3. 6th Sense Quake

Though lipless crankbaits defy classification by depth to an extent, they’re still an important part of any cranking arsenal. Cecil likes the 6th Sense Quake, which is a standard rattling model, and the 6th Sense Quake THUD, which is a one-knocker version.

“You can’t talk about shallow cranking without a lipless,” says Cecil. “Those baits have been really good to me over the years. I finished second at a Costa on Rayburn one time, and I think I caught every one of them trappin’ in that.”

Fishing a lipless in grass is an obvious play, but it’s far from Cecil’s only game. He especially likes to apply it around shallow rock or when bass are chasing shad.

“It catches them everywhere,” says Cecil. “Brady Winans was fishing a lipless just this fall at Fort Gibson [he finished third], fishing those shallow points with bait. It’s something that catches a lot of fish, particularly in the fall when they’re chasing shad.”

If there is about 3 feet between the top of the grass and the surface Cecil likes the 70 size. He also uses the 70 size for most of his non-grass trapping. The 80 size gets the call for grass with about 5 feet of water on it or when he needs to reach out a long way to schoolers.

 

4. 6th Sense Crush Flat 75X

Getting into true shallow-crankbait territory, one of Cecil’s mainstays is the 6th Sense Crush Flat 75X. It’s a shallow-running flat-side, and when the water is colder it’s one of his favorite baits.

“Tennessee is probably where the flat-side gets the most attention, but the flat-side seems to be really good anywhere when the water is cold,” says Cecil. “I haven’t dialed in on the water temperature exactly. My experience on Rayburn has shown me that 49-degree water can be good or bad. To me, it’s more about the activity level of the fish. If I catch one and make four or five cranks and I don’t really know if I have one [because it’s not fighting hard], those fish aren’t very active and then the flat-side is important then.

“I did really good at Grand Lake in a Costa FLW Series throwing a 75X, and Zack Birge won and he was throwing that bait and the 6th Sense Crush 50X,” relays Cecil. “The water was cool, and they were just starting to get up on their prespawn deal there. I was cranking shallow rock, just like I would in the spring or the fall on Conroe.”

 

5. 6th Sense Crush 100X

Cecil’s favorite traditional square-bill is the 6th Sense Crush 100X.

“I’ve had a lot of luck with it,” says the Texas pro. “It’s really about the same size as the Lucky Craft 2.0. It doesn’t matter the brand, but that size has been good for me. I like it a little better than the 1.5 and the 2.5. It fits right in between there. I catch big ones on it, and I don’t feel like I’m limiting myself on places where I need to catch a lot of fish.”

 

 

6. 6th Sense Movement 80X

The shallowest-running crankbait that Cecil regularly throws is the 6th Sense Movement 80X, which is the same bait that Nick Lebrun used to win the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) All-American at Cross Lake.

“Its effective range is about 2 1/2 feet of water,” says Cecil. “So it’s a deal where they have to be looking up or you’re fishing that shallow. It’s really unique. It thumps like a ChatterBait, it’s got a lot of movement to it and it hunts a lot. Its path is 18 inches wide when it’s coming back. It’s searching the whole way.”

Cecil has caught plenty of fish on the 80X on really shallow rock, but he says it shines around targets and grass.

“If you’re fishing a lake like Livingston that has a lot of shallow stumps and laydowns, that bait is really hard to get hung,” says Cecil. “You don’t waste many casts. On Livingston you’re fishing a lot of targets that are in 18 inches or 2 1/2 feet of water, and a lot of baits can dive and get hung in the bottom of that cover. This one will kind of come at it and hit it and search around it.”

For shallow grass, the high-floating nature of the 80X allows Cecil to float the bait up over shallow spots quickly without fouling. Then, he can get right back to burning it to trigger strikes.

 

Stay sharp 

One thing that Cecil does more than the average cranker is change hooks.

“I almost always replace my hooks, and if I throw the same bait a lot I’ll change hooks throughout the day,” says Cecil. “Getting hung or rubbing the hooks on the side can wear them down, and you want to make sure that you’ve got absolutely the sharpest hooks”

For a long time, Cecil’s standard replacement treble was the Owner ST-36, which is simply a quality round-bend treble. Now, he’s shifting over to the Owner STX-38. The STX-38 is made with ZO-WIRE, which undergoes a different tempering process to make it stiffer and stronger than usual. The STX-38 also has a unique bend, which is somewhere between a wide gap and a round bend.

“I think thin wire is good, but I think it needs to be stiff, too,” says Cecil. “A lot of flex in your crankbait hook isn’t good. If it flexes it tends to scrape instead of poke through in their mouth. That’s why I’m really digging the STX-38. I’ve liked it a whole lot on deep-driving crankbaits, too. That’s what I get to do the most at home, and my landing ratio has been really high on that hook.”

Tags: pro-tips-weekly  crankbait  square-bill  bass-fishing  bass  jody-white  article 

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