A crankbait rod is built for the specific task of fishing with crankbaits. They are purpose built and when you look into the details are quite different from other rods on the market made for other lure presentations. Let’s dive into the best crankbait rods on the market today, and then discuss exactly what features make them different.
Equal top pick
St Croix Mojo Bass Glass
The rods work exceptionally well when combined with lipless crankbaits, square bill crankbaits and even chatterbaits
Equal top pick
Abu Garcia Ike Signature
Built with crankbait presentations in mind, it features a construction based around precision and long range.
The best crankbait rods we reviewed:
- St Croix Mojo Bass Glass Casting Rods
- Dobyns Rods Champion Series Glass
- Daiwa Tatula Glass Crankbait rod
- G Loomis IMX Pro Crankbait Rod
- Enigma Fishing Atomic 29 Pro Tournament
- Abu Garcia Ike Signature Delay Casting Rod
- St. Croix Legend Glass
St. Croix Glass Casting rods are made using St. Croix’s integrated poly curve mandrel technology or IPC for short. This is used in combination with 100% linear S glass fiberglass for peak performance. The rods work exceptionally well when combined with lipless crankbaits, square bill crankbaits and even chatterbaits that are specifically designed to work with medium action rods. All rods come with 2 coats of flex coat, split-grip handles, premium grade cork and a Kigan hook keeper. With variants from 6’10” to 7’4” and powers from medium to heavy, you will have no issues finding a St Croix Mojo Bass glass rod to throw crankbaits with. And as with all St. Croix products, they have a stellar warranty and customer service that really goes above and beyond to help out their customers.
- High quality construction synonymous with St. Croix
- Fairly affordable Price
- Not as many model options like other brands
The Champion series by Dobyns is one of the best crankbait rods on the market today and is setting the standard in sensitivity, strength, balance and weight. These rods come in a variety of lengths from 7 to 8 feet and actions of medium to medium heavy and fast to moderate fast actions. The champion series uses proprietary high modulus blanks to give anglers extra durability and performance while fishing. Along with the high quality blanks the rod also features AA grade cork grips, Zero Tangle Kigan guides with the SIC inserts, fuji graphite reel seat, and it even features a kevlar wrapping.
- High selection of models
- Kevlar wrapped blanks
- Higher price point
The Tatula design employs a range of advanced manufacturing techniques and technologies. Using superior materials allows Daiwa to produce a rod with exceptional sensitivity without sacrificing strength. Built using Daiwa’s advanced Glatech glass construction and featuring Fuji guides with alconite inserts, this rod is sure to go above and beyond any anglers expectations. Other features of the Tatula Glass rod are high quality foam split grips, and a micro pitch tapering blank. The Tatula Glass rod was built with tournament anglers in mind and features 4 variants from 7 to 8 feet in length, with medium and medium heavy actions as well.
- High Quality construction
- Great sensitivity for a glass rod
- Low number of model variants
Unlike other fishing rods, the G Loomis IMX Pro uses a multi taper process to create a perfect balance of strength to weight, where other fishing rods use the same mandrel for multiple lengths and tapers. The IMX Pro has other great features as well such as Fuji K frame guides, making the rod 15% lighter than other rods on the market, as well as premium solid cork grips and handles for great all weather casting. The IMX pro also comes in 11 different models, from 6’6” to 8’ in length and medium light to extra heavy power and moderate to moderate fast action depending on the model.
- Great all around crankbait rod
- G Loomis is known for creating high quality rods
- G Loomis rods are expensive compared to other brands
The Atomic 29 is a perfect choice for crankbait fishing. Featuring Enigmas E-glass construction for ultimate crankbait presentation performance along with many other features. The blanks taper on the atomic 29 is constructed to slow you, the angler down, and allow the fish to get the crankbait or chatterbait you’re fishing with. The Atomic 29 also features solid full cork handles made with premium Portuguese cork for exceptional comfort, durability and grip in all weather conditions, high quality alps guides that are all hand wrapped, and a high quality reel seat that is only found on the highest end fishing gear. There are also a ton of size and power options with 9 models ranging from a 7’ Medium action rod to a 7’11″ Heavy action rod, to handle a wide range of crankbaits from square bills, to deeper diving crankbaits like 10 xd’s.
- Hand wrapped high quality guides
- Good variety of models to choose from
- A little heavier in weight compared to other brands
Famous bass angler Mike Iaconelli partnered in designing the Abu Garcia signature delay series of rods. Built with crankbait type presentations in mind, it features a construction based around precision. Focusing on things like Long range castability, and higher hookup ratios. The tip of the Delay series rod is extra flexible, similar to a light action rod, with a robust backbone. Using advanced glass technology of high strain glass or HST to create the ideal crankbait rod. Other features of the rod are a Fuji reel seat, and stainless steel guides with zirconium inserts. Featuring models from 6’4” to 7’10” and power from medium to medium heavy, all with moderate action.
- Unique tip and action
- Robust backbone
- Foam grips instead of cork
Next we have another rod from St. Croix. The Legend is the St. Croix’s top of the line crankbait rod, and one of the top fishing rods out there, and for good reason. Using the IPC or Integrated Polycurve Technology, and the highest quality components really set this rod apart and make it one of the best on the market. Using 100% linear S glass fiberglass for peak performance. All rods come with 2 coats of flex coat, split-grip handles, premium grade cork and a Kigan hook keeper. With variants from 6’10” to 8’ 8” and powers from medium to heavy, and all featuring moderate actions, you have a wide selection of rods to throw crankbaits with.
- One of the highest quality rods on the market
- 100% fiberglass construction
- High price
- Lower number of choices in models
Our Pick for Best Crankbait Rod
We looked at a combination of price, features, and variants to come to our conclusion of top performing crankbait rod. And we came at a tie for two different brands. The St Croix Mojo Bass Glass, and the Abu Garcia Ike Signature delay Rods. These 2 rods have a great price point and their features such as the flex coatings and quality construction of the rod for the Mojo Bass Glass, and the unique tip action couple with a strong blank in the Ike Signature Delay win in our book.
What to Look for In a Crankbait Rod: Buyers’ guide
The number one thing to look for in the rod is some type of glass construction, or glass/carbon hybrid production. Other features of the rod which you should consider are high quality items like reel seats, line guides, quality grips, and resin coatings. Other features are more of a personal preference. Things such as split grips vs. solid full grips, or foam vs cork. We’ll look at some of these considerations below.
What Makes a Crankbait Rod Different?
A crankbait rod is obviously specifically designed to use crankbaits, but other presentations such as chatterbaits and even certain topwater presentations can also really shine with a crankbait specific rod. Along with these reasons, the spring-like whipping action that occurs during a cast helps with creating the ability to long distance cast lighter lures like crankbaits.
Rod Action and Rod Power
Medium to Medium-Heavy power rods are the best for crankbait fishing and they should have a moderate action, which helps you to control the crankbait while bouncing it off the structure or the bottom, while avoiding ripping the lure out of a fish’s mouth on the hookset.
For fishing with shallow to medium crankbaits, go with a medium power rod as it will cast these lighter lures further and with better accuracy.
Heavier deep-diving crankbaits are better fished with a medium heavy rod.
Crankbait Rod Length
As a general rule, the bigger the crank baits you are using, the longer the rod needs to be.
Think 6’6″ for smaller crankbaits where accuracy over short distances is key to put the bait in tight to the bank or structure and bounce it back off the bottom creating some noise to get the fish turned on.
A 7′ or 8′ rod is better for fishing larger, heavier crankbaits as it will allow for much greater casting distances with less effort per cast.
Pairing with the right reel
Crankbait reels need to be able to hold enough line of 15 pound test to allow for long casts. A gear ratio of 6:1 or so is appropriate for most crankbait fishing.
How much should I spend?
Between $100 and $150 will get you a decent crankbait rod, although premium models will cost $200 or more and if you can afford it, these rods really deliver.
Fiberglass vs Carbon Fiber
Crankbait rods are almost always made using fiberglass, most rods in decades past used fiberglass before the widespread use of carbon blanks.
Fiberglass has stuck around in the form of crankbait rods because the give and flex that the fiberglass has when when a bass or any other type of fish eats a crankbait, and in turn when the angler sets the hook, dampens the shock and improves hook ups by helping prevent the angler from ripping the small treble hooks out of a fish’s mouth.
There are some carbon fiber crankbait rods and some composite rods (a combination of fibreglass and carbon fiber), but the majority are fiber glass.
How does a crankbait rod help with lure action?
Crankbaits work best when they are bouncing off something – whether that’s the a downed tree, the lake bottom or a rock wall. When the crankbait deflects off structure, it’s often what triggers a strike.
When you are fishing a crankbait this way, the delayed action of a soft tipped cranking rod results in less snags. It gives the crank bait time to bounce off rocks and timber instead of getting stuck in them saving you from bust offs and helping you fish with confidence right in tight to the structure.
What about hooksets?
As mentioned earlier, the softer action of a good crankbait rod helps avoid ripping trebles out of a bass’ mouth, either on hook up or during jumps and surgers.
It also means the bass can grab the crankbait without feeling tension or resistance straight away. When a bass opens its mouth to engulf a lure it creates a sucking action like a vacuum.
The flex in a decent crankbait rod will allow a bass to suck in a crankbait, and hold it a little longer allowing for a better hookset.
What are the different types of crankbait?
There is a wide variety of crankbaits on the market and all are designed to work at specific depths of the water column. Some excel at certain styles of presentation and action as well due to differences in lip design, weight, buoyancy, and swimming action. We discuss all the main types in this crankbait review article and give our top 9 crankbait recommendations.
But to summarise, you have shallow crankbaits that work in the top few feet of the water column, medium diving crankbaits and deep diving crankbaits designed to get down deeper than 10 feet.
You also have squarebill crankbaits, roundbill crankbaits and lipless crankbaits. Crankbait bodies can be the standard minnow design, or a jointed design with two or more segments.
Then when it comes to buoyancy you have floating, suspending and sinking crankbaits – each of which can be used effectively to create a realistic impression of a shad or baitfish that bass will find irresistible.
What’s the best line for crankbait fishing?
Shock absorption is really important in crankbait fishing. These lures are designed to collide with cover and rattle off the bottom generate subsurface sounds that bring a curious bass over to take a look (and hopefully grab your lure).
That’s why monofilament line (either straight mono or a mono leader on a braided line) makes a good choice for crankbait fishing.
Mono has a lot more stretch than modern fluorocarbon, so it can provide that vital bit of “give” for crankbait fishing. This will often save you getting snagged up on the bottom as the stretch in the line and the softness of the rod means your lure can pass for a bit when it hits structure and float free of the danger instead of getting fouled up.
Using mono also helps from a hookset point of view. Using straight fluoro or braid to a fluoro leader, particular when paired with a stiff rod, means you can transfer too much energy on the hookset ripping the hooks from the bass’ mouth or striking before it has even properly grabbed the lure.
In most circumstances mono is a good choice for crankbait fishing. It is also cheaper than fluorocarbon line.
In terms of breaking strain, 10 to 12 pound is a good choice.
What knot is best to tie on a crankbait?
Crankbaits are one lure that will really benefit from a loop knot connection instead of a knot that anchors the mono to the hook eye securely.
For this reason we recommend the Non Slip Loop knot for tying on crankbaits. It is a quick and easy knot to tie and it’s not going to fail you. In this post you can find full instructions for tying this knot.
A crankbait rod are a tool that every angler should consider in their angling arsenal, they allow you to present a precise and important presentation in a variety of fishing situations. The amount of fish not lost fishing crankbaits with a glass rod, especially if you’re a tournament angler will make you a believer, the long casting and action of crankbaits on precision crankbait rods will help you catch more fish. We hope this article helped you decide what crankbait rod to buy, and we also hope it helps you in your pursuit of fish when you’re on the water.
Get our verdict on the best baitcasting rods for bass – Daiwa, St Croix, Fenwick and other top brands reviewed by our in-house professionals