Read about all of my Fishing Adventures!Follow my Fish of 2014
If you read my fishing reports, you know I am a big time crankbaiter. I keep between 2-3 crankbait rods on the deck of my boat at all times. I have high confidence in throwing crankbaits in almost any condition. Crank baits are a quick way to find the fish. They are also a great way to load the boat. But, over time, I have found that I have become very attached to very few manufactures. One of these manufacturers is Spro and their Little John series of crankbaits, found here. There is the 50 Series, 60 Series, MD, and DD Series cranks. I have used all of them at some point. Up top is the DD. The 50 is below. These are my two favorite baits. In particular, I love the Spooky Shad color, Spring Craw, and Chartreuse Blue.
The Little John came to my attention a few years ago on a cold and windy spring morning on Wheeler Lake. I was fishing with 2 of my buddies above Ditto Landing. It was prespawn and we were fishing rip-rap banks. We were all throwing square bill cranks of some sort, but one friend in particular was just wearing the fish out. Largemouth, Spot, Smallmouth, and White bass. We have all had that trip where the magic bait was doing all the work. But this was a little different. Being the engineer that I am, I refused to believe it was something mythical or magic. The baits were the same size. They were almost the exact same color. What was so special about the Little John?
Well, I had to sit down and watch. It wasn't magic. It was a combination of several things.
- The Little John 50/60 is constructed a little differently than other shallow cranks. It all starts with the bill. Their bill is a silicone wafer, same as a circuit board. It's tough. It doesn't deflect on the rocks. My friend was throwing it much deeper into the rocks than I did and absolutely SMASHING it into cover. Number 1, I didn't trust my other cranks to survive being tossed against rocks. I have broken many bills in my time. Number two, other cranks didn't bounce off of cover like this one did.
- Little John is a flat sided crank. It gives it a very unique wiggle as it works through the water. Even at very low speed, it still wiggles hard. It's tight wiggle makes it come through cover very well.
- The coated single tungston bearing is perhaps my favorite thing about this bait. It isn't too loud. It isn't too soft. And it OBVIOUSLY isn't a bunch of bare bearings rattling inside a fiberglass body. It's very subtle, yet audible and unique, which I am convinced is what helps it work when the fish are turned off by other cranks.
- The paint schemes are excellent. Some cheaper cranks have cheap painting. I am not TOO picky on this. But, the Spro baits have top notch work
- The painting is very tough. I am on the very same set of Spro cranks that I bought a few years ago. I have caught a TON of fish on each of them. I have smashed them into rocks and trees. I have caught 5-6 pounders on them. I have caught 2 at one time.
- The Gamakatsu hooks are top notch. I have had to replace them, sure. I have had some sets get dull after a hundred fish. I have had one set bent by a 5 pound smallie. But, they are out of the package good.
- The baits run true. Whether it is the 50/60 series that run 3-5 feet or the DD that runs to 18, I have VERY RARELY had to tune one. It is out of the package good.
Look folks, I don't get paid by anyone. I don't use these baits all the time, but it is tough to beat them for particular situations. Shallow cover in the spring? Check. Deep cover? Check. The results don't lie. One of the biggest bags I ever brought in was on Wilson Lake. I put 18 pounds in the boat in less than an hour without a fish bigger than 5 pounds. I caught around 10 fish over 4 pounds. It included a 4.73 smallie.