Crankbaits 101

Not to be confused with jerk-baits, the crankbait is usually much thicker and shorter in size. A crankbait is a hard bait that dives at various depths in the water. Highly-recommended by bass fisherman, this lure can also be used for other species of fish besides bass. Crankbaits come in many different sizes, can be lipped or lipless, and sometimes feature chambered bodies with rattle bearings designed to attract fish with sound. Overall, this lure was designed to mimic the everyday actions of baitfish, crayfish, and other small prey.

In this entry, we’ll discuss the multiple types of crankbaits, corresponding diving depths, recommended gear, and how to tune your lure. Give it a read & let help you crank one out!

Types of Crankbaits:

Squarebill Crankbait
Squarebill: Great in super shallow waters. Features a short, square lip to help it glide through weeds and water brush without getting stuck. When this lure bumps into rocks or other objects, it deflects and changes directions.

Deep Diver Crankbait
Shallow Diver: Great in shallow waters. Ideal to fish in areas with lots of cover such as fallen trees, shallow grass, rocks, under docks, etc. This lure uses its short lip and treble hooks to bounce off objects and avoid potential hang-ups.

Medium Diver Crankbait
Medium/Moderate Diver: Able to dive in deeper waters, however it works best in water levels between 8-12 feet deep. Reaching the water’s bottom will cause it to bounce off and entice bites.

Deep Diver: Great for offshore fishing. These lures are able to dive deep into water over 12 ft. and stay down there to entice big, lurking bass. Keep the lure moving and bumping into objects in order to raise the chance of a bite.

Lipless Crankbait
Lipless: Great for winter bass fishing. Able to be cast extremely far and retrieved quickly. Be careful when using around heavy cover, the lack of lip causes this lure to get stuck or held up more easily than the others.

Average Crankbait Diving Depths

  • Squarebills: 0-5 ft.
  • Shallow Diver: 0-8 ft.
  • Medium-Moderate Diver: 8-12 ft.
  • Deep-Diver: 12-20 ft.

Recommended Gear, Line, & Accessories

Like many other lures on the market, most crankbait manufacturers will supply their own information on recommended gear, line, and accessories for successful catches. It’s always a good idea to follow each specific crankbait’s recommendations to ensure that you’re using it properly, however, feel free to switch it up and find what works best for you. Below are some general gear recommendations to use with crankbaits.

Hooks: Make sure that your hooks are strong, durable, and ready to hold fish. It’s important to modify your hooks when needed. You may even want to consider changing out your lure’s original hooks for more reliable ones of your choosing. Just make sure that the new hooks are similar in hook-to-lure ratio, or else your lure action may negatively change.

Line: When fishing with crankbaits, we recommend that you use a small diameter line to allow your lure to drop more easily and deeply into the water. Choose a thin monofilament or fluorocarbon line to get the best action out of your crankbait. Monofilament line works best with shallow-to-medium level waters, while fluorocarbon sinks faster and is better for medium-to-deep diving crankbaits.

Split-Ring Pliers: These are a must have for any good angler. Keeping a nice set of split-ring pliers in your tackle box will definitely come in handy when it’s time to tune your crankbait.

Rods: Crankbaits work best with medium-heavy power rods that measure between 6’6” and 8’ long. A rod that’s too short won’t cast as well, while a rod that’s too long will be too difficult to reel-in. It’s important that the rod is able to be held at a 45-degree angle with your rod tip hovering just above the water. If you hold your rod at a 90-degree angle or higher, you’ll weaken your natural pulling power. The lower your rod is held; the more power and leverage you’ll have to reel in large catches.

Reels: Choose a reel with a 4:1 or 5:1 gear ratio to allow more power for reeling in catches.

How-to Properly Tune a Crankbait

We all have that special “lucky” lure that we love to use. Unfortunately, sometimes that lure becomes damaged over time by the vicious strikes of big, hungry bass. That’s why it’s important to keep your crankbaits properly tuned with a straight line-tie eye. With a set of split-ring or needle-nose pliers, hold your crankbait steady and gently twist the line-tie eye in the opposite direction of which it is pulling. This will straighten it out and help your lure move more freely.

Have questions?
We’re ready to answer any crankbait or other product questions that you may have. Just give us a call at 1-844-9-FISHIN or drop us a line on our contact page.


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