Those crazy Australians. They talk funny and have weird names for stuff, but they are passionate about fishing. And one company from Down Under makes a lure that should appeal to many anglers in the Carolinas, but especially sheepshead anglers.
The Cranka Crab is the spitting image of a fiddler crab, but other crabs on the market – both soft plastic and hard plastic – look almost just as lifelike, at least when not in the water.
In the water though, the Cranka really stands out. This lure is a made up of a combination of materials. Some hard, some soft, and the foam claws wave and float about wildly, a unique feature among artificial crabs. Also unique, and helpful for sheepshead fishing, is that the lure’s two treble hooks are located on those claws.
When a sheepshead bites a live fiddler crab, it is crushing the bait and sucking the meat out of it. It’s tough for anglers to detect the bite, and even when they do, it’s often too late to set the hook because the fish is gone. The Cranka’s small hooks though, are often the first thing these fish inhale. So while anglers may miss the initial bite, the sheepshead hooks itself many times, and the angler only needs to reel it in.
I’ve been fishing for sheepshead for about 8 years now, and while I’ve caught my share, I’m still baffled at how many I miss, and at how many live fiddler crabs I can go through before actually catching a fish. So it goes without saying that I’m excited about the Cranka, especially after a buddy and I caught five sheepshead with one in a short period of time a few days ago under less than ideal conditions.
The best part for me, other than hooking the fish, is that I never had to replace my bait.
I used a slightly different technique with this lure than I do with live bait. Instead of holding the lure steadily in one section of the water column like I do with a fiddler crab, I drop the Cranka alongside a bridge piling until I feel the bottom, then I slowly, s l o w l y, s l o w l y reel it straight up.
The sheepshead seem to attack the Cranka from above, and they bite the lure when its on the way up. When it hits this way, it can’t miss the trebles on the claws, so the hookup ratio is much higher than using a J hook through a live fiddler.
I met my friend Steve Morgan, who writes for Fishing Monthly, an Australian fishing magazine, at a conference in Florida. He arrived to the conference a day early, so he did what any angler with some time to kill does. He went fishing. With a Cranka Crab, and his attached video shows you just how effective these lures are. And lucky for me, he gave me a Cranka, because they’re not currently available in U.S. stores. Click here to find out more about the Cranka Crab, including where to order them from.
If you'd like a chance to try out the Cranka Crab, book a trip with Capt. Justin Carter (843-270-8326) with DIG Charters in Charleston. Carter has the full line of Cranka Crabs and said the redfish are biting this lure just as viciously as the sheepshead are.