Q: When it comes to dialing in a crankbait bite, when would I want to use a flat-side crank, instead of a regular or wide-body? Also, dou you think balsa flat-sides worth the extra price?
Member Tony Kaprolat
A: I like flat-side baits in cold water--especially the wood baits without rattles. I feel there's a big advantage to throwing them in cold conditions, because a fish’s metabolism is slower.
I think part of the reason flat cranks are so successful in cold water is they're so quiet--again, no rattles are key. The other part, I think, is the way they push a lot of water, without a ton of wild action.
I prefer the balsa versions, which do cost more; the flat-side I throw the most is the Flat Shad from Strike King. It sells for around $18 and is well worth it.––Kevin VanDam
Q: Do scientists believe VHS (viral hemorrhagic septicemia) can be contained? I think it could really hurt fisheries near me that have already suffered with largemouth bass virus.
Member Jon Stafford
North Little Rock, Arkansas
A: Resource managers are doing all they can do to stop the spread of VHS and hope to contain the disease.
But if VHS is as transmissible as largemouth bass virus, then my opinion is no, we won’t be able to contain the disease. Anglers are just too mobile.
Nevertheless, we must all do our part. Dry your boat out and sterilize livewells by adding two cups of bleach to a full livewell and running the pumps for 10 minutes before and after fishing new waters.
We have much to learn about VHS and its short- and long-term effects on fish populations. The disease manifests itself in cold water periods, so what happens this spring will tell us a lot about how far the disease has spread and whether the problem is waxing or waning.––Dr. Hal Schramm