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Dave Kranz’s flyer on life: A morning on Delavan with shop owner, bass pro, podcaster; plus Stray Cast

Dave Kranz has dared to build an extensive and interesting outdoors life from shop owner to bass pro to podcaster.

Dave Kranz lands one of the first largemouth bass caught last Thursday at Delavan Lake. Credit: Dale Bowman
Dave Kranz lands one of the first largemouth bass caught last Thursday at Delavan Lake.
Dale Bowman

DELAVAN, Wis.—A seaplane landed on Lake Delavan and taxied directly toward where Dave Kranz and I were fishing Thursday. The plane stopped short, then the pilot jumped out and started fishing from the right wing.

Sometimes you have to take a flyer.

Kranz has taken his share.

As we started, he said, “We’re going to catch a bunch of fish today.”

Some bass was bedding, most were post-spawn and I suspect nearly all are by now. We fished wacky-rigged Senkos on braided line on Daiwa spinning reels and St. Croix rods.

For years, I’ve meant to fish with Kranz, who owns Dave’s Bait, Tackle and Taxidermy at the same location in Crystal Lake for 33 years.

I first knew of him from when Art Frisell and I tournament fished on the Chain O’Lakes, where Kranz was much respected.

Not surprisingly, he decided a few years ago to move up in tournament fishing. He is in his fourth year of Major League Fishing’s Northern Division. He has made steady jumps every year (125th, 93rd, 46th). This year, he wants to finish in the top 28, so he can qualify for the championship.

His tournament fishing is both a dream for himself and to heighten interest in the podcast WeFishASA, which he does with Steve Sarley for American Sportfishing Association. Their 258th episode posted Sunday. They have nearly 300,000 uploads annually.

Dave Kranz holds one of the average fat largemouth bass we caught Thursday on Delavan Lake. Credit: Dale Bowman
Dave Kranz holds one of the average fat largemouth bass we caught Thursday on Delavan Lake.
Dale Bowman

Kranz caught the first largemouth a few minutes in. It was on.

“The bass are wide for their year class, lots of 2 1/2-3 pounders,” he said. “Overall I think the quality of Delavan bass are better than Geneva.”

We only caught a couple below that size and a couple above, best going 3 1/2.

“I like guiding,” he said. “I’ve always think of myself as a teacher. I like figuring it out, especially at the tournament level.”

In that regard, he keeps logs on weather, conditions, fish, lures, date.

What Kris Bryant is to baseball positions, Kranz is outdoor pursuits. Beside shop owner, deer hunter, guide, tournament angler and podcaster, he does a column for Fishing Tackle Retailer.

As a retailer, he experienced the growth of fishing during the pandemic.

“I had my best ice fishing season ever, I think it is a spillover from covid,” he said.

I enjoy that Kranz knows fishing and also broader life.

He was a trustee for the McHenry County Conservation District. While talking about that, he gave me an idea of taking the Metra to Crystal Lake, then Ubering to one of MCCD’s many lakes.

Late morning, Kranz tried a popper and caught one on his second cast. Then I caught one on the popper, making my morning.

“Any day I get to fish, even if it is only half an hour at a pond, it makes the day better,” Kranz said.

As we worked over the flat we started on, the bald eagle he has seen every trip flew over.

It was time.

We caught 17 largemouth in three-plus hours.

For the shop or guiding, call (815) 455-2040 or see on Facebook.

STRAY CAST

Spin rate is to baseball what structure is to fishing.