Crankbaits are one of the most commonly used bass lures. They come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and colors, but all crankbaits have a few things in common. First, they have a lip or bill on the front that is designed to plane through the water and get the lure down in the water column. The diving depth of the lure can be roughly determined by the size of the bill: the bigger and longer, the deeper it will dive. Second, there are usually two big treble hooks hanging from the bottom that make it look like it will hang up on the first piece of wood or weed it encounters. While crankbaits often do get fouled in this kind of cover, the attitude or position that the lure travels is bill first and head down, thereby protecting the hooks from snagging.
Crankbaits are relatively simple to fish and can be very effective when used in the right situations. Gene Ellison provides some insights and quick tips into the right situations for using crankbait.