The overwhelming majority of lures are designed to imitate baitfish of one form or another, and crawfish lure is often the third wheel of fishing lures. Yet crawfish are present virtually in every body of water, from highland streams and rivers to big lakes and swampy shallow marsh. Game fish are relying on crawfish for a large part of their diet. They all do, trout, zander, pike, bass, perch, and even carp are known to eat crawfish.
Many anglers think a crawfish lure is limited to catching bass. And indeed bass love craws and crawfish imitating lures. But as we just said other game fish species are easily caught by fishing lures that look like a real crawfish.
We easily associate a crankbait with a baitfish imitation. But more often than not a crankbait looks like a natural crawfish. Crawfish are often found in rocky bottom and around grass. Choose a crankbait with a darker color, match the color of the bottom and keep the lure in constant contact with the bottom. Make sure it dives deep enough and bounce the lure on the bottom like a craw swimming away.
Crawfish love to climb and feed in grass. A lipless crankbait is a great choice because you can tick grass stems and rip it out before letting the lure drop back toward vegetation. Again, select a craw pattern lure with a one knocker rattle.
The best crawfish imitation out there without a doubt is the jig and matching trailer. It not only imitates a craw but also its behavior. The tail kicking backward swim so unique to crawfish is perfectly matched by a compact jig with a simple trailer. In fact, I believe that’s the only lure where fish actually confuse a crawfish lure with the real thing. That’s why it’s so popular with bass-fishing professionals and it catches bigger fish than any other lure.
Maybe that’s where we should’ve started, just get a soft plastic crawfish and thread it on a jig head. It’s very efficient in mid-sized rivers for trout and perch. Just throw it out there and hop it on the bottom and let the current drive it to the deep spots where fish live, or around current breaks and eddies.
In grassy ponds and shallow lakes just underweight it and drag it over grass. Make sure you allow for long pauses as crawfish as not known for quickly covering long distances. Be very observant about size and color. Try to match local forage species as best you can.
A crawfish lure is largely overlooked by zander fishermen. Whether it’s casting and dragging the bottom or vertical fishing under the boat, a crawfish is a great alternative to baitfish lures.
A crawfish lure rigged with a Texas-style hook and sinker is very efficient too especially around heavy cover. Many creatures or hog lures don’t look like crawfish but once in the water, it all makes sense, more because of their behavior than their shape.
It might seem a little bit redundant compared to jig fishing. And yes, they can be used under the same condition; here’s how I select one versus the other:
A crawfish lure rigged on a punching rig is very efficient and basically the only solution to fishing heavy matted vegetation. It’s well known for bass but believe me, it catches other fish species just as well such as pike, perch, and some wels catfish!
A Texas rig craw is quite common but who’s ever tried a crawfish on a drop shot? It’s very efficient particularly for perch and for zander in summer and autumn. I prefer lures with no kicking legs or action, preferably streamlined and slender. It can be rigged with a light offset hook for fishing around cover or a simple drop shot hook. I tend to use a shorter leader for a closer to the bottom action, between 15 to 20 centimeters.
It is not widely known that crawfish lures for bass are capable of catching other species. It will give you an edge on pressured lakes where fish are getting tired of seeing the same baitfish imitator.