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Ideal for catching bass, crankbait rods come in many different varieties. That array of options can make it surprisingly difficult to choose the best crankbait rod for you.
In this article, we hope to shed some light on what makes an excellent crankbait rod and show you some of the best products currently on the market. After that, we will give you a complete crankbait buyers guide to equip you with all the knowledge you need to choose the best crankbait rod.
Why Are Crankbait Rods Useful?
The answer to that question depends on the type of fishing you like to do. While many rods are useful in multiple fishing scenarios, others are specialized for certain angling techniques.
To simplify the matter, if your main goal is to do crankbait fishing, then a crankbait rod is ideal for you. Of course, much of your success in any fishing venture comes down to your skill. The type of lure you use will play a role as well. But along with those factors, a crankbait rod can improve your success as well.
Compared to other types of fishing rods, a crankbait rod can grant you the following benefits as you fish:
- Slower Rod Action
- Greater Casting Distance
- Greater Casting Depth
- Fewer Snags
Let’s take a quick look at the ways that those traits can improve your crankbait fishing success.
The Importance of Slow or Moderate Rod Action
Rod action refers to how much of a rod’s length is flexible. This flexibility can have a significant influence over how the rod casts the lure into the water.
Some fishing rods have fast action. Fast action means that only a small portion of the rod is flexible.
Conversely, crankbait rods tend to have moderate to slow action. This feature of crankbait rods is the prime reason why you can enjoy the following benefits of using a crankbait rod.
How Crankbait Rods Increase Casting Distance
The slow action of a crankbait rod allows you to cast over a longer horizontal distance. The greater flexibility essentially acts as a whip that increases the momentum of your cast. That momentum translates to a much greater casting distance compared to stiff, fast-action rods.
How Crankbait Rods Increase Casting Depth
Similar to the effect mentioned above, crankbait rods can also help you achieve a greater depth for your lure. The increased momentum that a slow action rod affords encourages your lure to plane through the water more so than it would with a different rod.
Again, the slow action of a crankbait rod makes it more likely that a predatory fish such as a bass will swallow your lure. With a stiff rod, it is more likely that you will pull your lure away from the fish too early. With a slow action rod, your lure will be slightly less responsive to your tug, giving the fish more time to swallow the bait.
Why You’ll Have Fewer Snags with a Crankbait Rod
While it can take some time to get a feel for a crankbait rod, you’ll probably experience fewer snags once you do. The slow or moderate action of these rods makes it so that your lure has a better chance of gliding past potential snags. Check out our article on how to avoid line snags.
Best Crankbait Rods You Can Buy
Now that you know some of the main benefits of using a crankbait rod, it is time to explore some of the best crankbait rods that you can buy. Rather than beginning your search for the best crankbait rod with no sense of direction, try looking at one of the following options as a starting point.
If you are working with a tight budget or you don’t want to commit to one of the high-end models for your first crankbait rod, don’t think you are out of luck. There are several affordable crankbait rods for you to choose from. Some of these rods will cost you less than 100 dollars.
Our pick for the best crankbait rod under 100 dollars is Lew’s David Fritts Perfect Crankbait 9’0″. The composite blend of this rod makes for a great balance of strength and flexibility.
At nine feet in length, this rod is on the longer side for crankbait rods. But that length, combined with smooth stainless steel guides will help you cast over a greater distance.
Main Pro: Highly affordable
Main Con: Longer length adds weight
For an angler who likes to crankbait fish in shallow waters, a lipless crankbait is a good option for you. When using a lipless crankbait, it is best to use a rod that is well suited to that type of crankbait.
The Ugly Stik GX2 Casting Rod is the best lipless crankbait rod you can find. Along with being ideal for lipless crankbaits, this rod is durable and reliable. But while it is durable, the Ugly Stik GX2 Casting Rod remains lightweight and sensitive to your touch as well.
This rod has a comfortable handle that ensures your comfort as you cast. But its longevity is what will allow you to enjoy lipless crankbait fishing for years to come.
Main Pro: Ideal for lipless crankbaits
Main Con: Guides can fray lines
The KastKing Speed Demon Pro Tournament Series includes several rod options that are suitable for different applications. The cast-deep crankbait 7′-10″ option is the one you want for the best deep-diving crankbait rod.
This rod is of the utmost quality, making it good enough for professional tournament use. It incorporates an interesting golf-style grip and carbon blanks for optimal strength and reduced weight.
It also comes with a built-in hook holder that is located near the grip. That way, you won’t have any trouble searching for your next lure if you happen to lose one.
Main Pro: Great deep casting capabilities
Main Con: Limited warranty
The Dobyns 685CB Champion Series is another great option for crankbait rods. While this rod is on the shorter side at about six feet and eight inches, it is the top option for the best square bill crankbait rod.
This rod may be on the more expensive side, but you might find that cost to be justified when you feel how well it performs. If you have experience crankbait fishing in depths of one to five feet, the Dobyns 685CB Champion Series should be your go-to choice.
This crankbait rod has moderate action and uses graphite in its construction. It also has guides that help to eliminate any potential tangles as you fish. When searching for a lure that is best for this line, choose one that is between ¼ and one ounce.
Main Pro: Tangle-free design
Main Con: Somewhat expensive
An inexpensive rod is below 100 dollars, while those at the other end can be close to 300 dollars or more. The Dobyns Rods Fury Series falls just about in the middle. Combining that price with the impressive traits of this rod makes it the best crankbait rod for the money.
This rod is great for smaller lures like jigs, senkos, and flukes. So long as the lure you choose is between one-quarter and three-quarters of an ounce, you should have no problem crankbait fishing with a Dobyns Rods Fury Series rod.
With sound construction and fantastic action for crankbaits, this rod is well worth the money you will put down to get in. As you use it, you’ll notice that it is sensitive and has the ideal amount of backbone.
Main Pro: Fantastic value for the price
Main Con: Durability could improve
The Shimano Curado is a reliable crankbait rod with great construction. Its blank is made of Nanoresin material, and it has soft touch extended comfort.
That material adds strength and will allow you to pull even the largest bass out of the water without worrying that the rod will snap. The Shimano Curado is also quite versatile. Its taper makes it ideal for a wide range of lure types.
While the action is on the faster side for a crankbait rod, you should have no issues getting bites with this rod. The Fuji tangle-free guides with Alconite rings minimize line friction and increase casting distance and line life.
Main Pro: Very versatile
Main Con: Balance can be slightly off
The St Croix Mojo Bass Series Glass Casting Rod has an incredibly smooth action and an impressively lightweight design. The presence of high-tech glass materials is what allows for both of those beneficial features.
On the topic of high-quality construction, the St Croix Mojo Bass Series Glass Casting Rod also incorporates integrated poly curve tooling technology, which serves to add sensitivity and flexibility.
While the slimness of this rod can affect its overall durability, the feeling that you will get might be worth that risk. And to set your mind at ease regarding that potential issue, the St Croix Mojo Bass Series Glass Casting Rod comes with a 5-year warranty and great customer service.
Main Pro: Incredible sensitivity
Main Con: Can snap under extreme tension
The Abu Garcia IKE Signature Power Casting Fishing Rod comes in a multitude of lengths that gives you plenty of options. All but one of those lengths comes with a medium heaviness, with the longest option having the most power.
Still, regardless of the option you choose, you can expect plenty of casting power from this crank bait rod. It is made of 36-ton graphite and comes with an action design by Mike Facinelli.
The stainless steel guides come with zirconium inserts to ensure that your powerful casts are smooth as well. To top it all off, the Abu Garcia IKE Signature Power Casting Fishing Rod has a highly attractive appearance as well.
Main Pro: All the power you could want
Main Con: Rod tip can bend
As the name implies, the Wright and McGill Skeet Reese S-Glass Crankbait Rod has an s-curve blank. That shape allows for increased strength and lifting power. All the while, this rod remains somewhat lightweight as well.
The split handle is what allows for this rod to remain at a reasonable overall weight. That same handle includes molded rubber that gives you great grip, control, and sensitivity during your angling.
If you are in the camp that prefers a glass rod over a composite or a graphite one, the Wright and McGill Skeet Reese S-Glass Crankbait Rod is for you. In using this rod, you enjoy both its slow action and its ease of use.
Main Pro: Very flexible action
Main Con: Coloration can change over time
Our last entry to the list is the Shimano Sellus Freshwater Casting Fishing Rod. This crankbait rod is one of the most comfortable you can expect to find.
Its graphite-based construction gives you a great feel and sensitivity while making this rod lightweight. The handgrips follow a very ergonomic design that will allow you to cast for hours without feeling any discomfort.
While the aluminum guides themselves could improve in terms of durability, they do a good job of allowing your line to flow seamlessly as you cast. With this rod, you will also have the option of choosing different lengths and actions so that you can get the power and feel that you desire.
Main Pro: Very comfortable grip
Main Con: Guides can break
Crankbait Rod Buyers Guide
If none of the options on our list are meeting your needs, then you will need to know how to evaluate other crankbait rods that you come across. In the following sections, you’ll gain some key insights into the most pressing considerations you will need to make when shopping for the best crank bait rod.
Crankbait Rod Material
Crank bait rod material can be a contentious topic among avid anglers. There are a couple of popular materials, and individual fishermen often have a strong opinion about which is best. Here are some of the crankbait rod materials you should know:
- Fiberglass: This is the traditional material for crankbait rods. Fiberglass often has a slower action and a greater weight.
- Graphite: In contrast to fiberglass, graphite crankbait rods are new, lighter, and often have a more moderate action. These rods are often more sensitive as well.
- Composite: Many rods today are a blend of fiberglass and graphite. This composite blends the benefits of both materials.
The material you choose is mostly a matter of preference. You may also find pricing variations depending on the material. Our best advice is to try out different crank bait rod materials before you commit to a specific rod material.
Crankbait Rod Action
We have already noted the importance of rod action. But let’s take a closer look at what option you have at your disposal regarding this quality.
As you know, crankbait rods tend to be of moderate or relatively slow action. But the breakdown of rod action options is a bit more in-depth than that. Here are some of the most common rod action classifications:
- Moderate Fast
- Extra fast
Again, the amount of action that you choose is a matter of your preference. Just remember that action refers to how long it takes for the bendable portion of your rod to reach the backbone of your rod when under tension. This is an important distinction from the next crankbait rod quality.
Crankbait Rod Power
Though related to rod action, rod power is a bit different. Action determines how much a rod will bend. Power refers to how much force it takes to achieve that bend.
As with rod action, the amount of power a rod has will fall into one of a few classifications. Those groups are as follows:
- Extra light
In general, the more power that your rod has, the more capable you will be of casting into deep waters. On the other hand, less power is suitable for shallow casting. For most of the best crankbait rods, their power level will be somewhere in the middle of the range above.
Crankbait Rod Length
Rod length is another factor in the performance of your crankbait rod. Longer rods are better for casting heavier, deeper-diving lures. Shorter rods are ideal for lures that are a bit smaller and meant to reach shallower depths.
Most crankbait rods live within a range of rod lengths. That range goes from six and a half feet at the low end up to eight feet of total length at the upper end. However, as you might have noticed from our list, there are still some great crank bait rod options outside of that range.
Crankbait Rod Comfort
You should not forget that comfort is essential to your casting experience. There are several factors that will determine how comfortable a rod feels as you use it.
The first factor you should consider is the grips. Considering the grip is where your hands control your rod, it is vital to choose a grip that has an ergonomic design that fits well in your hands.
Weight is another important consideration when choosing a crankbait rod. The heavier your rod is, the more tiresome continuous casting will be. That is why so many crankbait rod manufacturers are focusing on creating rods that are both powerful and lightweight.
Unsurprisingly, the comfort you feel when using a crankbait rod will be a matter of personal taste. That is why it is always best to hold a rod in your hands before you make a final purchase decision.
Choosing the Right Reel for a Crankbait Rod
As you probably know, a crankbait rod is not a stand-alone piece of equipment. These rods are only most useful when you pair them with the correct associated tackle.
If you go through the trouble of finding a crankbait rod, you should make sure to use a high-quality crankbait reel as well. Crankbait reels often hold more lines. This allows you to enjoy the greater casting distance and depth that a crankbait rod can give you.
The gear ratio is another important aspect of crankbait reels. Typically, you should look for a reel that has a lower gear ratio. This low ratio further contributes to the depth of your cast.
Don’t Forget About Lures
The lures that you choose are another major influence over your success in crankbait fishing. Crankbaits come in a few different varieties. Each of those varieties lends itself to a different casting depth. Here are the four most common crankbaits you can find:
- Squarebills: 1-5′ casting depth
- Shallow divers: 2-8′ casting depth
- Medium divers: 8-12′ casting depth
- Deep divers: 12′ or more casting depth
The plastic lip on each lure is what allows it to reach a different depth. Choose the one you like for the best experience when using your crankbait reel and rod.
The best crankbait rod is the one that feels best to you and is suitable for the kind of fishing you enjoy. Use this guide as a way to understand what makes for a great crankbait rod. By opting for one of the featured products on our list, you will likely be satisfied with your purchase. If you choose to browse on your own, the buyer’s guide above will set you on the right track toward finding the best crankbait rod for your next fishing adventure.