Best Crankbait Rod for Bass Fishing

Gotta love crankbait fishing - you can cover the water quickly and explore different depths.  And a cranking specific rod is a huge help - you get improved casting distance, improved hooksets, fewer snags, and a better overall feel.

What’s not so good though is buying a load of different crankbait rods just to figure out which one works best for where you do your fishing.  But not to worry - the solution is to read through this article.

We’d like to show you our thoughts on what we feel are 10 of the best crankbait rods for bass fishing that are out on the market today.  And after that, we’ve got a handy buying guide for you which covers (1) why you should definitely get yourself a cranking specific rod, (2) the various technical aspects of a good cranking rod. 

We pack in plenty of advice and suggestions and cover some of your more pressing questions.

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Best Crankbait Rod for Bass Fishing - Reviews

We feel that this is the best crankbait rod for the money!

It’s a top-quality rod and is a new improved version of St Croix’s previous one, with the main new feature being the newly engineered tapers designed for fishing crankbaits.

Using SCII graphite blanks, it’s nicely lightweight and sensitive, and this means that it has just the right flex for working crankbaits for bass.

It’s available in different lengths, 6 foot 6 inches, or dead on 7 foot.  It’s also available in different rod power and rod action (more on that in our buying guide) ranging from medium moderate to medium heavy-moderate.

All the rods are specially handcrafted, and it’s had positive feedback from customers, who just love the feel.

Pros

  • Excellent value for money
  • High performance
  • Different lengths available
  • Available in different degrees of rod action

Cons

  • Unfortunately, the St. Croix Premier range only goes up to 7 foot long.
  • It’s also only available with medium rod power, but to be honest we think that’s the best

One thing we love about this cranking rod is its affordability.  But that’s not all.

We think the TP173MH-CB model is the best cranking rod throughout the Lew’s Tournament TP1 range.  It features medium-heavy power and medium action, so it’s really multi-purpose.  And as such, if you only intend to buy one cranking rod, this one should easily cover all your different intended uses.    

It’s a graphite one-piece rod with an IM8 rod blank to provide impressive sensitivity, and it features Winn Grip’s own Dri-Tac handles to ensure a great grip for ultimate rod control whatever the weather.  

All in all, it’s lightweight, strong, and sensitive.

It’s designed to improve both your casting distance and also your casting accuracy.  And it looks really slick and stylish in all white.

It also comes complete with a full 12-month warranty.

If you wanted to buy your cranking reel from the same manufacturer as the cranking rod, that’s no problem, you can get cranking reels from Lews right on Amazon. 

Pros

  • Quite affordable
  • Really multi-purpose
  • Impressive sensitivity
  • Grippy handles
  • Medium-heavy power
  • Medium action
  • Lightweight, yet strong
  • Better casting distance
  • Better casting accuracy
  • Full 12-month warranty

Cons

  • We’ll level you with here and say that it doesn’t have the most durable build, the majority of customers are very happy with this cranking rod, but unfortunately, some of them have reported breaks.

Did you know it was Fenwick who made the world's first technique specific bass rod?  It was back in 1976 and they’ve been upgrading their rods year on year.

There’s a lot to love about this cranking rod from Fenwick, but its stand out feature has to be just how comfortable it is.  Thanks to the Hidden Handle Design reel seat you won’t feel the threads like you would with a more traditional reel seat.  And the handle design provides a sturdy grip even in the rain.

It’s titanium frame make it super lightweight but still really sturdy and durable.  In fact, the manufacturer states that this series of cranking rod is one of the lightest, and most comfortable bass rod series EVER created.  Strong words if ever we heard them.

Within this range are rods ranging from 6 foot 6 inches in length all the way up to 7 foot 11 inches, so you can really increase your casting distance.

The rod power meanwhile ranges from medium all the way through to extra heavy.  And the rod action ranges from moderate to extra fast.

With this rod, you truly get the ultimate balance of power and sensitivity.

Pros

  • Well-established brand in the field
  • Specially made for crank baiting bass
  • Super comfortable to use
  • You can use it in the rain
  • Good selection of varieties
  • Lightweight
  • Sturdy and durable

Cons

  • On the Amazon page, you can’t select specific rod lengths, powers or actions

What we love about this range of cranking rods from St. Croix is not just their premium 100% linear S-glass construction, but more importantly, each rod is designed for cranking with specific species of bait.  So, if you know what species of bass frequent your favorite fishing spots, you can determine what bait to use, and ascertain the perfect Mojo Bass cranking rod for your needs.

The 6 foot 10 inches rod is the Target Cranker.  It has a medium rod power and moderate rod action.  It’s the shortest of the 3 models and is best for squarebill crankbaits.

The 7 foot 2 inches rod meanwhile are available in 2 varieties, there’s the Cranker which sports a medium rod power and moderate rod action, or there’s the Rip-n-chatter which has a heavy power but moderate action.  The Cranker is a great all-purpose crankbait rod with a length and action that happens to suit a wide variety of crankbaits.

The 7 foot 4 inches rod on the other hand is the Big Cranker and it features a moderate to heavy rod power along with a moderate rod action.  This would be the rod to use for all of your really big crankbaits.

And for a glass rod, it’s good value for money.  It uses integrated poly curve technology which effectively works to eliminate all of the transitional points in the rod.  As a result, you get increased strength, smoother action, and if that’s not all, better sensitivity to boot. 

All these rods are backed by a warranty that lasts an impressive 5 years in total.

Pros

  • Pick the perfect rod for your crankbait
  • Premium 100% linear S-glass construction
  • Increased strength
  • Smoother action
  • Better sensitivity

Cons

  • As a glass cranking rod, it costs more than their graphite and titanium counterparts, but we think it’s fairly priced
  • Being made of glass it does tend to feel heavier than their graphite or titanium counterparts

We think that this spinning cranking rod from St Croix is a great choice for when it comes to using light crankbaits!

The St Croix premier range is amongst the best spinning rods available for the money.

As a general rule, a good choice of spinning rod for crankbaits would be one with a length of around 7 feet long, with a medium rod power and fast rod action.  Like this one.   It’s fast action tip really makes up for the naturally slower speed that you tend to get with spinning rods.

And when you pair it with a large capacity spinning reel you can really cast large distances and fling those lighter crankbaits. 

Its Mid-modulus graphite fiber construction features a higher strain rate than fibers in the rod’s more traditional counterparts.  This means that you get high performance from your rod.  It’s durable sure but at the same time, it’s also lightweight and sensitive.

The rod also features a premium-grade cork handle, for that all-important grip you need.

We love that St Croix is so confident in their products that they offer a full 5-year warranty - how reassuring is that!

Pros

  • Perfect for using with light crankbaits
  • Good value for money
  • Large casting distances possible
  • Fast action tip
  • Durable graphite construction
  • Lightweight and sensitive
  • Premium-grade cork handleFull 5-year warranty
  • Positive customer feedback

Cons

  • The Amazon link provided only takes you to this specific rod, with this particular length, rod power, and action.  You cannot make other selections from this page.

This cranking rod from Daiwa was designed with bass fishing in mind, it even mentions bass in its title.

It features a HVF carbon blank with X45 Bias graphite construction and offers exceptional feel, flexibility, and sensitivity.  At the same, it is also both strong and lightweight.

It’s designed for virtually zero rod twist throughout the blank, which means that you will get better hook sets, and better performance all around.

There’s a split grip design on the handle which is popular with many anglers, and there’s a custom reel seat.

It’s available in different lengths, starting very high at 7 foot, and then creeping up to 7 foot 6 inches.

And if you pair it with a Tatula reel, you get a great combination right there!  They’re available on Amazon.

Pros

  • Designed with bass fishing in mind
  • Exceptional feel, flexibility, and sensitivity
  • Strong yet lightweight
  • Virtually zero rod twist for better hook sets
  • Good all-round performance
  • Split-grip handle
  • Custom reel seat
  • Available in different lengths, from 7 foot upwards

Cons

  • No set price, the price varies according to what length and weight option you buy
  • This is not a multipurpose cranking rod and is not suitable for shallow cranking

Best Crankbait Rod for Bass Fishing - Buyers Guide

Do you really need a Cranking Specific Rod?

There are several reasons why you should get yourself a cranking specific rod for bass fishing.  We touched on them in our introduction: improved casting distance, improved hooksets, fewer snags, and a better overall feel.  We’ll cover all that shortly.

But don’t worry you don’t need to get a special rod for every single technique that you want to use.  You can get some really good multipurpose rods that are great for bass fishing, like the ones in our Top 10 picks.

Improved casting distance

Rods specifically designed for fishing crankbaits have a softer flex, that puts more energy into the rod and transfers more energy from the rod to the lure.  It feels pretty much as though you’re using a slingshot as the energy is transferred on the cast follow through.  This way you can cast a greater distance.  And to really optimize the casting distance you can pair it with a dedicated cranking reel.

Improved hooksets

A fast action rod can sometimes pull the bait right out of a fish’s mouth.  But you don’t usually get that problem with a more limber crankbait rod.  When you feel the telltale thump of a bite, the softer section of a crankbait rod effectively creates a delay that enables the bass to properly get the bait in their mouth.

Fewer snags, and a better overall feel

With a crankbait rod, you also get far fewer snags (we know how frustrating snags are).  And you get a better feel on the rod too, even on bait working on the bottom of the water.  The delay action provided by the soft tip ensures that rather than the bait pulling into objects, it will deflect off them.

Technical Aspects of a Good Cranking Rod

For those who haven’t had much of a look around, there are absolutely loads of different crankbait rods on the market today.  Some of the different brands name their rods according to what they’re used for, which is really handy if you’re looking for something specific.  If you’re looking for a more multipurpose crankbait rod, however, it’s worth walking you through the different specs.  Here goes.

Rod Action vs Rod Power

It’s important to note that the rod action and the rod power are actually measures of two different things.  Basically, the rod power describes how much force it takes for the rod to bend, more commonly referred to as the amount of backbone.  The rod action on the other hand is a measure of the speed at which the backbone is engaged.

An extra fast cranking rod will reach the backbone the quickest.  (This is because it has the least amount of flex.)  A slow action rod in contrast takes a lot longer and uses a longer length of the rod to reach the stiff backbone.  (This is because it has the most flex.)

The large majority of cranking rods out on the market today tend to feature a medium or medium to heavy rod power.  And they tend to typically feature rod actions that range from moderate and moderate-fast through to fast.  

You just need to pick the rod power and rod action according to what type of cranking you want to most often.  Here’s a quick rundown:

  • Medium power is the power of choice to fish medium or deep diving crankbaits
  • Medium to heavy power rods are ideal when you’re fishing around grass.  They have more stiffness to them which helps them to better rip the bait free from any vegetation in the area.
  • Moderate action on a crankbait rod serves to help you to best control the lure and prevent you from pulling the hooks into gaps between rocks and such.  With a moderate action rod, the rod is very forgiving, which better enables the bait to deflect rather than snag.

Rod Length

How long a rod you need will depend on factors such as the size of your line and the lures you plan on using.  For medium and deep-diving crankbaits a 7 to 8-foot cranking rod will perform much better than a 6 foot 6 inches one.  This longer length will make it easier to make long casts thanks to being able to load more energy up into the rod.

But bigger isn’t always better.  A 6 foot 6 inches cranking rod can make for a really good choice when it comes to fishing smaller crankbaits, for example.  You simply get better casting accuracy when you’re using a shorter rod. This is super important when your fishing squarebill crankbait around banking.  The closer you can place your lures the better since this means the crankbait is more likely to grind and deflect off the cover.  

Graphite vs Fiberglass

Many moons ago, all the bass fishing rods used to be made of fiberglass.  But times have certainly moved on since.  You can still get rods that are all fiberglass, but now you can also get all graphite cranking rods and even graphite/fiberglass composite rods.

There’s much debate over which of these three types is best, but to be honest, the main things to be concerned about are not so much the rod’s composition but rather things like getting the best rod length for the task at hand, having enough power in the rod, and having a medium flex and medium speed.  If that’s how you like to catch your bass.

Pair with a Cranking Reel

There’s a lot to be said for pairing your rod with a good cranking wheel.  This is because you need a lot of line to make long casts.  Crankbait reels generally feature a good line capacity falling within the 10 - 15 lb test range.

The gear ratio of the reel is very important too.  The lower the gear ratio, the easier it is to get your bait down and keep it down.  You want the bait to reach the bottom and make contact down where the fish are.  To that end, we would recommend that you go for a cranking reel with a gear ratio of 6.2:1 or less.

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