I test a lot of crankbaits throughout the year; they’re my absolute favorite lure for bass fishing. Even when the action is slow, these lures allow you to force a reaction bite from otherwise inactive bass and can result in some phenomenal days on the water.
For the past several months, I’ve been fishing with the new Berkley Digger crankbait quite a bit. Whether I’ve been battling a tough wintertime bite or looking for aggressive prespawners, it has continued to produce quality bass in all conditions thus far.
What you’ll like about it
There are a lot of crankbaits out there that require a lot of modifications before they’re ready to fish; some come with dull treble hooks while others come with flimsy split rings that will bend when a 5-pounder grabs ahold of the lure. While some of these crankbaits are suitable after some tweaks, I’d rather spend my money on a plug with quality components.
Anglers will be able to appreciate the excellent components of the Berkley Digger. The split rings are rock-solid and most importantly, the Fusion19 treble hooks are incredibly sharp. I’ve caught a lot of muddy-water bass that were hooked outside of the mouth and I have yet to lose one while using these hooks. Even after repeated beatings against rock, gravel and wood cover, they maintain their sharpness quite well and continue to hold fish. They also have very little flex to them, which is a huge help when you’re fighting big fish close to the boat.
WATCH: Crankbait legend David Fritts discusses the design features and applications of the Berkley Digger crankbait.
The action of the Digger is unique and worth your attention. This plug is designed to dive quickly and it certainly doesn’t disappoint in that aspect. When you’re in a situation that doesn’t necessarily allow for a long cast, the Digger dives to its maximum depth quickly and efficiently and stays in the strike zone for a very long time. Whether you’re fishing short stretches of riprap or small sections of steep bank between boat docks, its unique lip design will allow you to get down to the fish without any problems.
The Digger’s bill has also proven to be quite durable throughout my testing. I deflect my crankbaits off of everything I possibly can and this particular plug has held up excellently for me; I’ve experience zero splits, cracks or chips in the bill. There have also been no problems in the connection point between the bill and the body of the lure. It remains firmly connected, even after all of the abuse I’ve put it through.
You’ll also notice a fairly aggressive wobble throughout your retrieve, but it’s not “too” aggressive when targeting inactive, post-frontal bass. Despite its rounded bill, it comes through rocks surprisingly well with very minimal snags. You can get away with using a 7-foot, medium-action rod with this plug, but I think you’d be more comfortable with a 7-foot, medium-heavy rod.
My experiences with it
I’ve been testing the Berkley Digger in some really dirty water and I’ve been very impressed by how many fish I’ve caught on it. Although I’ve been using the “Sexier Shad” color that’s not necessarily designed for muddy water, it has been super effective. I give a lot of credit to the loud rattles; this lure sounds very similar to the old-fashioned lipless crankbaits you’ve probably used. It’s a much different pitch than many of the billed crankbaits in my collection.
I’ve fished a lot of rock and long, tapering points with the Berkley Digger and its production has simply been outstanding. As mentioned earlier, it dives quickly and swims straight throughout the retrieve. I’ve burned it, crawled it and everything in between and haven’t needed to tune it at all. I took it out of the package, tied it on and simply went fishing. It’s what I like to call a “low maintenance” crankbait.
The durability is also worth mentioning. I beat the tar out of my plugs and my testing with this lure has been no difference. I’ve hit it against countless dock posts and rocks and there are no signs of damage to either the paint or the bill. Even after months of casting, there’s very little hook rash to speak of.
If you like cranking in that 5 to 9-foot depth zone, this is a great crankbait to use. You won’t have to fool with tuning or hook changing; just fire it out there and hang on.