Cracking the Balsa crankbait code

crankbait fishing and crankbait lure design

Spring 2023

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lat-sided crankbaits are a cold-water staple and

some of the best baits you can use for fishing in

the late winter and early spring months. Their tight actions are ideally suited for fish that are still willing to eat

but not overly aggressive. The tempting shimmy and rolling

action of these baits, especially after coming into contact with

the cover or the bottom, is what triggers bites, and they do an

excellent job with it. That’s why bass anglers in the know have

a selection of flat sides in the right conditions.


Most of the traditionally productive flat sides are made of balsa wood. There are many excellent ones on the market, from garage builders and regional brands to

mainstream versions made by the biggest brands in the fishing industry. These baits catch fish and have great action from the balsa and the added buoyancy properties.

Balsa crankbaits catch plenty of fish each year, but there are a few negatives to using them. For one, the balsa that gives the bait such great action is also incredibly lightweight and hinders casting distance. The wood is also relatively fragile, especially compared to plastic crankbaits, so durability can become an issue. These are just two drawbacks to fishing balsa baits and have led many brands on a quest to build a lure with the balsa action in a more durable plastic body.


Professional angler David Fritts is known as one of the Godfathers of crankbait fishing, especially fishing