Tuning Crankbaits to Run Sideways - But Why?
It's amazing to me how a relatively small rudder can steer a giant ship. The same applies to the eyelet on a crankbait. Just to clarify, when I say eyelet, I do not mean the splitring. I'm referring to the little round piece of metal where the splitring attaches.
Taking a pair of pliers, gently bending the eyelet to the right or left will cause the bait to veer in the opposite directions. Bend left to run the lure right, bend right to make the lure run left.
This can be a particularly effective modification when fishing docks with a squarebill. Running a squarebill parallel to docks will often get you bites, but if you will tune the lure to run slightly under docks, it will often bump into support poles, boat hoists and other parts of the dock. Crankbaits deflecting off of dock objects is just like deflecting off of rocks and logs on the bottom, it creates reaction strikes.
If the dock bite is good, I'll have two setups ready: one with a modified squarebill and one without. Maybe even three, one that runs left, one that runs right and one that runs straight. Once I've caught the more active fish with the normal squarebill, I'll take my modified squarebill and have it run underneath the docks. This puts the squarebill right in the face of those fish that might not otherwise go after the one running parallel to the dock.