When conditions dictate along an estuary between May – mid July, you’ll stand a good chance of spotting a few bass rooting through bladder wrack, around boulders, etc, in search of shore crab, mostly in the sheltered, quieter regions of the system. You will have to put in the time, without doubt, but with stealth, cunning, & skill, the lure angler can challenge himself to spot, &, catch them, ie, Sight fishing. If you enjoy a solitary quest, experimenting, eye to eye combat with fish, & a insight into a small part of bass behavior, then it could be for you, so don’t knock it until you try it.
Bass can enter an estuary at any time on the flood tide, & they can hang around indefinitely falling back to the same pools as mullet at low water within the estuary system, if your already familiar with the estuary your going to try you’ll already have some of the pieces of the jigsaw to get started. Most of the activity with crab hunters comes during the second half of the flood, & first half of the ebb, simply because that’s when the fish have the best access to the prime “Real estate” of their intended quarry.
Clusters of boulders, old stone masonry, freshwater springs, as well as weed are always worth spending a few minutes watching, & checking out as the tide covers them during the times mentioned. Bass will move in using it’s highly tuned sense of smell to detect peelers, but won’t pass up the chance of a hard crab of the right size either, often burrowing right into weed when hot on the trail, I’ve seen it regularly, and it inspired me into searching out a crab lure. Why not give the bass what they are looking for ? A crab lure made perfect sense to me for this close range combat…
These Savage Gear manic crab 2″ fit the bill, but not straight out of the packet, there’s some “Prepping” (boil for 4 mins) involved to soften them for more natural crab leg movement, & a better hook up rate when fished weedless “Texan” style. Fishing weedless is a must in estuaries at the time of year mentioned, & weedless should be the starting point to form your lure choice. You will have to contend with rafts of green algae through the water column, another plus with weedless is you’ll have the advantage of actually casting on top of weed, & draw the lure across it so it drops into view of your target if/when required. My own lure preference’s for “Sight Fishing” are either paddle/pin tail 4″, or the crab, all rigged with a Texan 3/o hook, tied with a rapala knot, leaving a tag 2″ for adding split shot if needed. The Crab needs to be “Balanced” very accurately to make swim with the legs moving naturally, NOT like the set up in the Savage gear manic crab video, which is more like a frog, than a crab….. It’s took a while to perfect the crab lure presentation for our Bass for sure, but I’m on the right road with it now.
I’ll be bringing my lure with legs to some more locations later this season, to see how they get on there. I’ve no doubt that it will nail some big, wary bass, but we’ll see….