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Last updated: January 28, 2021
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When you’re fishing for bass, it’s hard to beat the effectiveness of a crankbait lure. While you can use crankbait lures with your standard fishing rod, you’ll see much better success with a specialized rod designed specifically for crankbait fishing. The best crankbait rod ensures that you’ll have just the right amount of power when pulling in a fish without tearing the lure out of a bass’s mouth, as well as gives you the right amount of throw when casting.
In order to help you find the right crankbait rod for your style of fishing, we considered a number of different features of these rods. First, we considered the action, which is where the rod bends in the pole and affects how much pull it will exert on a fish. We also considered power, which determines the thickness of line and size of lure you can use with your rod. Finally, we looked at rod lengths and weights, since these affect how the rod will feel in your hands.
We spent tens of hours researching the best crankbait fishing rods, poring over technical specifications and customer reviews. The result is our list of the five best crankbait rods, highlighted in the table below. Continue reading for detailed reviews of each rod, complete with pros and cons. Our buying guide covers everything you need to know about when you need a crankbait rod and how to choose one. Finally, we sum up our three overall favorite crankbait rods on the market today.
This crankbait rod from Fenwick is an all-around favorite among users and a versatile choice for beginner and expert crankbait fishermen alike. The moderate rod action gives more bend and slows down the response of pulling up on the rod, making it perfect for fishermen who simply can’t wait to tug on the line after receiving a bite. At the same time, the extra bend combined with the long 7’11” length makes this one of the best casting crankbait rods available.
The heavy power rating pairs nicely with the length and action, giving you the ability to use lines up to 30 pounds and crankbait lures up to two ounces. That means you can use this rod in just about any conditions, although users noted that it can be a struggle in shallower waters, since lures must be at least 0.5 ounces.
The graphite construction of the rod is extremely sturdy, although you will need to handle the rod carefully – users found that a small crack in the rod blank could quickly propagate into a full break while casting. The titanium frame guide is also extraordinarily durable and nearly impossible to break during normal use of the rod, even when you reel in an enormous fish. Users also appreciated the EVA, molded handle, which makes the rod comfortable to hold during a long day on the water.
The only downside to this rod is that it is slightly expensive, but given its durability and versatility, many users felt that it was well worth the price premium.
This crankbait rod from Okuma was designed with tournament fishing in mind, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be used for a wider range of crankbait fishing just as well. The rod sports a moderate 7.5-foot length, which makes it somewhat easier to carry than other crankbait rods without giving up on casting distance or leverage when setting the hook. Plus, the moderate fast action is ideal for many fishermen who prefer a faster action rod within the world of crankbaits.
While this rod is rated heavy as well, it has a slightly different profile for lures and lines than the Fenwick rod. Notably, it can accept lures down to 0.25 ounces, making it a better choice for fishing in shallower waters. The minimum size 14 line was slightly heavier than some users preferred, but they did find that using a thicker line meant fewer broken lines in rocky waters.
The handle construction of the rod is designed for comfort, with a split EVA-molded grip and a finger rest that makes it easy to use with a spinning reel. Users loved the overall balance and feel of the rod, and many remarked with surprise at how light the rod is given its power for catching large bass. Users were also quite happy with Okuma’s customer service in the few cases that rods were damaged upon shipping or after only a few uses.
This extremely lightweight and nimble crankbait rod from Abu Garcia is designed for fishermen who want responsiveness. The rod features a fast action and 7’10” length, which together provide a high degree of sensitivity to movements in the rod and leverage for fully setting a hook in your catch. For more experienced fishermen, these qualities can lead to an extremely high bite to catch ratio.
The rod is designed for use in relatively shallow water, accepting crankbait lures as light as 5/16 ounces and lines down to 12 pounds. However, note that since it is limited to one-ounce lures, it can be difficult to use this rod effectively in deeper waters such as offshore.
However, this is also where the length of the rod can then become problematic. The long length and fast action can make casting into small spaces relatively difficult. Thus, this rod can be somewhat disheartening for beginners to use and is better suited towards experienced crankbait fishermen.
Users fell in love with the balance and feel of this rod, which is constructed from a single 36-ton graphite blank. The line guides are made of stainless steel with Zirconium inserts, rendering them virtually unbreakable during even the heaviest uses. While the EVA foam-molded grip is relatively minimal, users felt that it was just right for the sensitivity of the rod and comfortable enough to hold throughout the day.
This lightweight crankbait rod from Dobyn’s is the perfect choice for fishing in shallow water at close quarters, such as in a river. The fast action and short seven-foot length combine to make casting extremely accurate, which is a major asset when trying to target fish that hide in a specific pool within a river. The fast action can take some getting used to, though, since it requires that fishermen do wait for the hook to be fully set before pulling up on the line – users noted that the rod can be very sensitive to small movements.
Fishermen loved that this rod can accept line down to size eight, but would have liked the ability to add line thicker than size 17 for fighting with fish in rocky terrain. In addition, the limitation of using one-ounce crankbait lures means that this rod is somewhat limited to shallow water and is not as versatile for boat fishing offshore.
That said, users were extremely happy with the weight, balance, and feel of this rod. The cork handles add a degree of comfort that EVA foam cannot match. However, users also noted that the butt of the rod handle was surprisingly short, which takes some getting used to, and that the reel seat threads are too short to fully screw on most reels. Still, users did not have any issues with reels coming detached in the middle of a catch.
This inexpensive rod from Lew’s is a terrific choice for fishermen on a tight budget or who only need a crankbait rod occasionally. However, this rod is versatile enough to fit a wide range of applications. The moderate action is very forgiving both when casting and when setting the hook in a fish. While the 7’3” length is not ideal for longer casts, such as from a boat in open water, it is highly accurate when casting in a river or other confined space where fish congregate in a small area.
Meanwhile, the medium heavy power allows fishermen to use this rod in a wide variety of situations – it can accept lures from 0.5 to 1.375 ounces, which allows it to be used in either shallow or deep waters. The 10–25-line size range is equally versatile and ensures that you can choose the line that is appropriate for the terrain you’ll be fishing in.
Users loved the IM8 graphite blank for its durability and light weight, while the professional hook keepers were similarly appreciated. However, users found that the Microwave Guide system meant that it was difficult to use a leader with this rod unless you could tie a very small not into the leader. Some users also found that the handle, which is a hard rubberized plastic, could be uncomfortable to hold over the length of an entire day.
What we liked:
7’3” length is ideal for accurate casts
Versatile line and lure weights
Professional hook keepers
What could be better:
Difficult to use with a leader
Grip is slightly uncomfortable
Things to Consider
Now that you’ve learned more about our five favorite crankbait rods for fishing, how do you choose between them to get the rod that’s right for your style of bass fishing? In our buying guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about when to use a crankbait rod and the features you need to consider when picking the perfect rod.
Why do you need a special rod for crankbait fishing?
A crankbait fishing rod is specifically designed for use with crankbait lures, which are a common and effective type of lure for bass fishing. The reason you need a specialized rod with these lures, rather than any fishing rod you may already have, is that they can easily tear out of the mouth of the bass when you start reeling in.
Crankbait rods have a slower action – which means a deeper bend in the rod – compared to standard fishing rods, which helps reduce the tension on the lure when you first jerk up to hook a fish. While you can achieve the same effect with a standard rod, it is much harder to do it effectively and you’re much more likely to lose the bass you found.
In addition, the slower action of crankbait rods helps with casting crankbait lures, which are typically heavier and more elongated than typical fishing lures.
With the deeper bend in a crankbait rod, you can cast your lure further and more accurately.
Features to consider while choosing a crankbait rod
While crankbait rods almost all have a slower action than a standard fiberglass fishing rod by design, there are a number of important features that differentiate crankbait rods from one another. Here, we’ll explain the features that you need to consider when choosing the best crankbait rod for you.
Crankbait rods typically range in length from seven to eight feet, although some shorter or longer rods can be found. If catching fish was your only consideration, a longer crankbait fishing rod is almost always better – a longer rod will pull more line when setting the hook in a bass, so you will theoretically have a higher percentage of successful catches when using a longer rod. Plus, having a longer rod allows you to cast your crankbait lure further out, which can be helpful when fishing from a boat or in relatively deep water.
But, longer crankbait rods do have some disadvantages. While you can cast far, casting accurately is much more difficult the longer your rod gets. Plus, long crankbait rods can be somewhat unwieldy to carry around.
The power of a rod refers to the amount of force it takes to bend the rod, and is usually measured on a scale from “ultra-light” to “extra heavy.” Crankbait rods, including all of the rods we reviewed, are typically rated medium heavy to heavy.
When choosing a rod based on power, you want to think about the types of crankbait lures that you will typically be using. Every rod will come with defined limits for the line size and lure weight that it can take – these are relatively firm limits, and you can break your rod if you exceed them. Just as important, operating within the recommended weight range for your rod will make your casting more accurate and your hook setting more successful.
If you’re not sure what lines and lures you will be using with your rod yet, it’s typically a good idea to go for a slightly heavier crankbait rod.
While crankbait rods have a slower action than standard rods, when it comes to choosing among crankbait rods most fishermen actually opt for a fast or moderate action. These rods bend closer to the tip, which increases the tension in the line much more quickly in response to movements you make with the rod.
The reason for choosing a fast-action crankbait rod is that you already have enough bend in any crankbait rod to prevent the fish from throwing out the lure or pulling before it is set in the fish. A faster action, like on the Abu Garcia and Dobyns rods, then gives you longer casts and more reactivity when starting to reel in your fish. However, if you fish in very rocky areas, a moderate-action rod like the Lew’s or Fenwick rods can help keep you from tearing your line if the fish wraps itself around a rock.
Line and lure rating
The line size and lure weight that you plan to use with your crankbait rod matter for choosing the power of your rod. Fishing lines come in a variety of sizes – smaller lines will cast further and allow the crankbait lure to sink deeper, but they aren’t as durable if a fish pulls your line through rocks.
Crankbait lures similarly come in a variety of weights, with many now exceeding two ounces. A heavier lure will allow you to fish in deeper waters, while a lighter lure is more appropriate for shallow crankbait fishing.
Materials and durability
Crankbait fishing rods can see a lot of abuse if you tend to catch large bass that put up good fights. All of the rods that we reviewed are made with graphite or other carbon-material cores, which provide a good mix of bend and durability. When choosing a crankbait rod, be sure that the construction has any additional features that you need in a rod, that it is comfortable to hold, and that there are no reported issues with durability.
Check out this video on how to properly select a crankbait rod.
Crankbait rods are typically between seven and eight feet. While there is no exact perfect length, a longer rod will work better for increasing your success rate in catching bass after getting a bite on your lure. A shorter rod is easier to transport and can give you more accurate casts.
If you’re crankbait fishing from a kayak in deep water, you’ll likely want a medium-length rod with a heavy power rating. The medium-length will make the rod easier to carry on your kayak while still offering you plenty of casting distance, while the heavy power will let you use heavier crankbait lures that sink deeper in the water.
You can use either spinning reels or baitcaster reels with your crankbait rod. While some rods are designed for use with one type of reel, most crankbait rods can be adjusted to accept either type of reel.
Wrapping it up
Our three overall favorite crankbait fishing rods on the market today are the Fenwick Elite Tech Bass Casting Rod, the Okuma Scott Martin Tournament Concept Rod TCS-C-761H, and the Abu Garcia IKE Signature Power Casting Fishing Rod. The Abu Garcia rod is extremely sensitive thanks to its long 7’10” length and fast action, making it a powerful choice for advanced crankbait fishermen but somewhat trying for newer fishers. The Okuma rod was a favorite for comfort and balance, thanks to the split EVA foam grip and moderate 7’6” length. Users also appreciated that the rod could be used in a variety of conditions and depths thanks to its wide range of lure and line options. We feel that the Fenwick rod is the overall best crankbait rod for fishermen who are willing to pay for a premium rod thanks to its incredible versatility. This rod accepts the widest range of line sizes out of any rod we reviewed, plus offers a massive 7’11” length to maximize the number of catches you make after receiving a nibble.