The Rod Matters - A Lot!
A technique-specific crankbait rod is a must as it is designed with distinct features for fishing hard-baits. Take 13 Fishing’s crankbait rods, for example. Each rod has a moderate action, an important characteristic for this style of presentation.
A moderate blank taper encourages long and accurate casts with a crankbait. Long casts prevent spooking fish in clear water. Extra line also helps a deep diving crankbait reach its maximum running depth and stay there for as long as possible.
On the retrieve, a moderate action rod with a sensitive tip displays and transmits vibrations. This reveals when a lure’s running properly. It also gives a feel of an obstacle when a crankbait makes contact.
A cranking rod’s soft tip and parabolic blank are designed to easily bend. This ensures a fish gets a full mouthful when it bites. These same characteristics let the angler deliver a smooth, quality hook set.
During the fight, a loaded crankbait rod applies steady pressure to the fish while simultaneously cushioning against jarring forces. These qualities are critical for keeping treble hooks buried and not tearing free.
Rod components also deserve mention. Crankbaiting is an assertive style of fishing. Quality grips and lightweight hardware support all-day comfort. Friction reducing and tangle-free guides improve casting accuracy and angling efficiency.
Recommended Crankbait Rods
The following crankbait rods span lure weight ratings from 1/4- to 2-ounces: Omen Black Gen III 7’1” (OB3C71C), 7’4” (OB3C74C) and 7’11” (OB3C711C) models, the Fate V3 7’4” Chat-R-Crank (FV3C74MHM), and the Fate Black Gen III 7’ (FTB3C7C), 7’3” (FTB3C73C) and 7’9” (FTB3C79C). These rods feature Carbon Glass Elastomer construction, 13 Fishing’s proprietary process that combines E Glass Elastomers with 30 ton graphite. The result is an Elastomeric Composite with the parabolic blank characteristics of E Glass and the lightness of graphite.
Reel Gear Ratio Considerations
Many anglers present crankbaits using a low or a medium gear ratio casting reels (e.g., 5.5:1 or 6.3:1). The lower the gear ratio, the less line retrieved per handle rotation.
A slower retrieve lets a crankbait move as it was intended, maximizing its wobbling, wiggling action. The pace increases the lure’s time in the strike zone as well. A common mistake is fishing a crank too fast, which may impede action and running depth.
Power is another reason to use a low gear ratio reel. Extra winching muscle makes it easier for an angler to retrieve a deep diving crankbait, like a DT16, which creates significant water resistance.
When not running deep divers, a medium ratio reel offers slightly more speed without sacrificing too much torque. The added bonus is a moderate gear ratio is versatile and can also be used for bladed jigs, topwaters and spinnerbaits.
There are always exceptions. For example, some anglers like more speed for certain applications, such as using a 7.3:1 reel for power fishing lipless crankbaits.
Recommended Crankbait Reels
Here are some low to medium gear ratio reels with smooth drags and precision casting features great for pairing with a crankbait rod: Concept A Gen II Baitcast Reel (5.6:1), Concept A3 Gen II Baitcast Reel (5.5:1 and 6.3:1) and Concept C Gen II Baitcast Reel (5.6:1, right handed only).
The Right Line
Many anglers prefer monofilament for crankbaits. Mono’s stretch and shock strength work in harmony with the parabolic, moderate action of a crankbait rod and the reel’s drag.
Together, line and rod help deliver a smooth, steady hook set. During the fight these components, along with a proper drag, provide the right amount of steady pressure to keep hooks pinned and keep an angler in control.
Sufix Advance Monofilament is subtle, has low memory and casts phenomenally well. Its abrasion resistant, which is important when cranking around wood, docks, rocks and other hazards.
Advance Monofilament is in a league of its own, with 50% less stretch than standard monofilament. It maintains the right amount of stretch for crankbait tactics, without too much sensitivity-dampening elasticity.
Crankbait Rundown / Recommendations
The crankbait lure category is expansive. While we don’t have the space for an deep dive here, the following are some top picks for catching bass.
Shallow running crankbaits are great for casting shorelines. Make casts around fallen trees, docks, riprap, rocky points, boulders, inside weedlines and sand-grass flats to catch largemouth and smallmouth. Consider using the BX Brat, OG Slim 6’, Wiggle Wart, Jabber Jaw, Scamp and Flatty Daddy. These baits run at 6 feet or shallower.
Crankbaits also catch bass further from the bank. Matching a crankbait’s running depth to where fish are displayed in the water column on electronics can help decide what to tie on.
For instance, a shallow to mid-depth crank is great for catching smallmouth chasing suspending baitfish. Here, the 06 or 07 Shad Rap and 05 Shad Dancer are good picks.
An angler can also select one of the DT Series crankbaits. These five models run at depths of 4, 6, 10, 14 and 16 feet with precision. The DT crankbaits are excellent for targeting bottom oriented bass on shallow to mid-depth flats, points and ledges, as well as prospecting over and along vegetation.
Lipless crankbaits are versatile and efficient at covering water and triggering reaction strikes using a steady retrieve or a lift-fall technique. Sand flats, rocky shorelines, deep weed beds, points and rocky reefs are areas where the Rap-V, Rattlin’ Rapala, Rippin’ Rap, El Diablo and Arashi Vibe are deadly at catching bass.
Fishing crankbaits for bass is a situation when using the right tools
for the job has a major impact on achieving a proper presentation, making fish bite and getting them in the boat. Rod, reel and line must all work together - and tying on a premium Rapala, Storm and 13 Fishing crankbait certainly also helps tips the odds in an angler’s favour.