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Best Crankbait Rods 2021 – [Buyer’s Guide]

Which fishing rod you choose can either help you or hinder you. The best crankbait rod should match the size of lure you are using and the line strength that suits the size fish you are fishing for.

Crankbaits require a bit more backbone from a rod than say a regular spinning rod setup. Having enough power in the rod blank and the correct rod action is paramount to getting the best out of your crankbait fishing.

Although you can use a spinning rod the majority of fishermen will choose to use a baitcasting rod. A baitcaster reel is a lot easier to use when cranking in large crankbaits.

Spend a day crankbait fishing with a spinning setup and your wrist, arms and shoulders will know all about it. 

When choosing a rod you need to consider a number of important factors:

  1. Action
  2. Power
  3. Length
  4. Line rating
  5. Lure weights

Making sure that everything lines up correctly in terms of action and power is critical to getting the best possible casting and fighting performance from your tackle.

You can of course throw smaller crankbaits on lighter spinning gear but once the lures get a little bigger a dedicated rod is strongly advisable.

Action

Rod action refers to where the bend in the rod will start. A fast action will bend mostly near the tip. A slow action will bend from the base all the way to the tip.

For most fishermen a crankbait pole should have a moderate to moderate/fast action. A moderate action is the minimum one you would want to choose.

Cranbaits require a little more backbone when being retrieved. If you are using a crankbait with a very aggressive deep diving lip on it the light action rods are just not going to cut it.

When setting the hook you need to be sure that you rod can set the treble hooks found on most cranbaits. But if the action is to fast it may increase the chances of the hooks coming loose once hooked.

A little bit of shock absorption from the rod helps greatly here, which is why choosing a rod with too fast an action is not advised.  

Casting with a moderate action rod will also get you slightly more distance than with a fast action.

This extra distance can give you a better chance of covering more water and can get you crankbait down deeper depending on the retrieval rate.

Power

Fishing rod power refers to how much force is required to bend the rod. Rod power ratings are usually stamped on the rod blank near the handle.

The power is relative to the line weight and lure weights that should be used with the rod. The ratings usually describe either the upper limits or they may indicate a range in which is best to operate.

For most crankbait setups you should be aiming for a medium to heavy power. 

Length

Crankbait rods generally run anywhere from 6'6" up to 8' in length. The longer rods can throw bigger lures greater distances. The shorter rod are generally more accurate so again it depends on your needs and where you intend to do most of your fishing.

Line Rating

You should always match the line weight to what the rod id rated for. A lighter line will cast better and can spook fish less.

A heavier line will be able to handle bigger fish but it is also more durable. If you are fishing near structures and weed beds then the heavier line will make more sense.

Lure Weights

Every crankbait should come with a lure weighting usually in ounces. The heavier lures can be fished down deeper and are obviously suited to bigger fish. The smaller crankbaits are best for shallow water work or even twitched on the surface.

Reels

What kind of a fishing reel should you use with a cranking rod?
The majority of anglers these days will favor a baitcasting reel over a spinning reel for crankbait fishing. However that doesn't mean that you need to rush out and buy a new reel just because you have a spinning reel.

Always try and check before you purchase that the rod is suitable for your type of reel. A casting rod will have lower guides than the wider bigger guides found on spinning rods.

What Should you Buy?

Most people would be surprised to say it isn't a graphite based rod. All lot of fishermen think the fiberglass rods are too old fashioned and they think the an exotic graphite or carbon fiber blend is the only thing to use.

Well the Skeet Reese designed Wright and McGill S-Glass rod has taken fiberglass construction into the modern era. Using a 3 layer weave has resulted in a much lighter fiberglass rods whilst still retaining the great feedback and softer hookset.


1. Wright And McGill Skeet Reese S-Glass

The Skeet Reese S-Glass is a glass fiber crankbait rod constructed using modern build and design techniques.

Designed by the 2009 Bassmaster champion Skeet Reese these Wright and McGill medium to heavy power crankbait rods give you all the power you need while fishing big lipped crankbaits through deep and vegetated water.

The blanks are designed using a three layer connective fiber method called Tri-Gressive S-Glass construction.

Each of the layers is laid in a direction-ally opposing direction and then bonded with a thin layer of resin to give one of the most modern fiber glass blank designs available.

This reduction in weight(25%) gives an almost graphite like weighting with the traditional glass fiber full blank power.

The fast action and medium/heavy power means you can throw lures in the 3/8 to 2 ounce weight range all whilst maintaining a sensitive tip action and power down through the rod blank.

The range is available from 6'8 up to 7'11"

With a split handle design from high-density rubber for extra weight saving and a large fighting butt you should find that the Skeet Reese rods can deliver the power from casting to hook set.

The best crankbait rod for the money by a long shot. They are literally the go to rod of just about every crankbait master out there!

Features

  • S-curve blank made from glass fiber
  • Highly durable and super strong
  • Zirconium guides 
  • Large fighting butt
  • Balance is weighted towards the rod butt

2. Quantum Fishing Kevin Van Dam KVD Cranking Rod

The blanks on the Kevin Van Dam signature series crankbait rods are are a blend of graphite and fiber glass to give a strong backbone and a highly sensitive tip giving great feedback through to the rod handle.

These rods have a medium/heavy power with a moderate action. 

These crankbait rods have a considerable casting reputation and Van Dam is known to favor casting big crankbaits a long distance so as to get them down deep and cover a lot of water in the process.

Features

  • Fiberglass and graphite blend
  • ECG construction
  • Fuji reel seat
  • Pacbay guides with Hailoy inserts

Great for throwing big lures on open water.


3. Shimano Sellus

The Sellus range from Shimano features a variety of different to cover casting, crankbaits etc. The range is priced on the low end and are a solid buy for the money.

The Sellus crankbait rods are a little stiffer than some of the other rods above so if you are looking for a lot of feedback through the rod they may not be for you.

The best rod may not always be the most sensitive, if you are looking for something with a lot of backbone then this may be it.

Features

  • 24-Ton graphite
  • Medium power
  • Low profile aluminum oxide guides
  • EVA grip
  • 1 year limited warranty

4. Ardent Denny Brauer Crankbait Rod

Another signature series rod for crankbait fishing this time comes from Denny Brauer in conjunction with Ardent.

Best suited for medium to medium to heavy sized crankbaits.

These rods make for a great all rounder if you usually only fish with one rod. The action is fast so be aware of that in case you were looking for something a little more sensitive.

It's really well built and should last years if looked after properly.

Features

  • IM-8 graphite construction
  • Fuji guides
  • Fuji reel seat
  • Medium action

5. Dobyns 704CB Fast Glass

A very well balanced rod the fast glass crankbait from Dobyns is specifically designed for crankbait fishing and reaction baits.

Like the Skeet Reese S-Glass above it get the traditional feel and power from a fiberglass blank rod combined with some very modern features. The taper on these rods gives a really great action and provides a nice sensitive balance whilst still retaining strength and power. 

The blanks are made from a blend of glass/graphite.

There are seven models to choose from starting at 7' and working up to 8' in a variety of powers and actions.

Features

  • High-modulus graphite blanks
  • Kigan guides with sic inserts
  • Kevlar wrapped
  • Fuji graphite reel seat
  • Medium to fast action

5. St Croix Premier Crankbait Rod

St Croix claim to have cracked the building of a crankbait rod from graphite with the premier series. 

Getting the most out of a graphite rod for fishing big crankbaits means you have to be able to blend all of the subtleties of a medium action rod with the lesser durability of graphite.

The St Croix Premier is again another fast action rod, so it proves it can be hard to find dedicated medium action rod for crankbaits from the big name manufacturers.

Features

  • SCII graphite 
  • Fuji Concept guides
  • 5 year limited warranty
  • IPC Integrated Poly Curve tech blank construction

Although there is an almost endless choice when it comes to a good crankbait fishing rod making sure that you end up choosing the right rod for the specific type of setup that you are fishing.

All the big brands have a list of offerings to choose from. Some brands will even go so far as to release a specific series of rods often dedicated to a certain type of fishing.

And fishing with crankbaits is no exception. You'll find rods that are specifically labelled as for use with crankbaits. However some brands will not do this and you will need to look at the specific length, power and action of the rod to see if it is suitable for fishing with bigger crankbaits.

For most applications you will need to get a rod that is matched to the size and style of lure that you intend on using.

Deeper diving crankbaits will generally work best with a medium power rod.

A heavier powered rod will be best when using larger lures particularity near large or heavy weed beds.

Length wise I would tend to stick in the 7 to 8 foot rod when throwing larger lures. All things being equal a longer rod tends to get a longer casting distance that a shorter one. A longer rods acts as a much longer lever.

As you cast all the power that you put into the rod blank is spring loaded through the rod tip, with a longer length the spring will whip heavier lures at a much higher speed resulting in greater casting distances.

Traditionally fiberglass was the go to material of choice for fishing with these deep lipped or deep diving crankbaits.

Modern materials have come a long way and it is not uncommon to see graphite rod blanks taking over. The sweet spots seems to lie in the hybrid between fiberglass and graphite.

A good rod for crankbaits needs a decent reel. You'll almost always be need to use a baitcaster reel unless you are throwing really small lures on ultralight gear.

You'll need a reel that can hold enough line of the correct breaking strain. Most modern reels will be able to hold several hundred yards of braid or mono depending on the size of the reel of course.