Virtually anytime Fritts goes fishing, he has crankbaits tied on his rod.
Other than the three weeks around the spawn, I can catch them on a crankbait,“ he said. "Other than that time period, anytime the water temperature is above 50 degrees, I can catch them.”
The best months are May and June, when the bass have recovered from the spawn and are actively feeding. But fall and even winter can be good, too.
Fritts excels at fishing off-shore structure–a ledge, a sharp dropoff, a brush or rock pile, a channel break.
He is a big believer in making long casts to those fish-holding areas.
“The farther the cast, the deeper that crankbait will run,” he said. “Maybe a crankbait is designed to run five feet deep most of the time. You can get it to run seven feet deep with a long cast.
"A lot of times, that extra two feet will make a big difference on whether that fish will come up to hit it.”
Contrary to what some fishermen believe, that crankbait doesn’t have to be deflecting off something to get a bass to hit, Fritts said.
“Most of the time, I want a bass to come up and hit my bait,” he said.
Making that crankbait look lively is the key, Fritts said.
“Yo want to wind it fast enough to make it look like it’s alive, but you don’t want to wind it so fast that it gets erratic,” he said. “I like to jump it a little bit, pause. give it a jerk, sometimes a glide. You just have to figure out what the bass want.”
The type of equipment is also critical, Fritts said.
He avoids reels with a fast gear ration. Instead, he uses reels that will take in 21 inches of line per turn. That amounts to a gear ratio of about 5:1 on the reels he uses. The Lew’s BB1 baitcasting reel
is his favorite, ideal for making long casts, he said.
He uses a 6-foot, 8-inch rod if he is throwing at a shallow target with a shallow-running crankbait. But if he is in open water, he will go to a 7-foot-6 rod to launch long casts.
He uses 10-pound test monofilament line most of the time.
That combination works for Fritts. He has caught bass up to 9 pounds, 4 ounces with that formula. And he is convinced he had one far bigger on when he fished Falcon Lake in Texas in the early 2000s.
“That fish was suspended at the edge of a river channel,” he said. “My bait was running 12 to 14 feet down in over 30 feet of water.
"He came up and just crushed it. He actually broke my crankbait in two and got off.
"I got look at him, and it was the biggest bass I’ve ever had on.”