crayfish are an important prey item for many fish, especially smallmouth bass, spotted bass and green sunfish.
It’s commonly thought that predatory fish strike the head of a bait first, but fish often grab their prey however they can and then spit it out and reposition before swallowing it. They will often swim off with their meal before repositioning it for fear that a competitor will take it away from them.
Crayfish are much less vulnerable if they can stay on the stream bottom and don’t always go down without a fight. The bass know this and will grab their pincers (aka pinchers) and try to flip them off bottom. Determined crayfish are sometimes successful in fending off these attacks.