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These hard-bodied fishing lures cover a ton of water in a short amount of time, which makes them a favorite of tournament anglers all over the country.
They come in a few different styles, shapes, and designs. Do you know what lure I’m talking about?
Ah yes, the good ol’ crankbait.
These guys are a powerful lure with the ability to dive deep or shallow, bang off the rocks, or move quickly through dense cover.
They have a lot of pros and not too many cons, so many anglers turn to them for that reason.
I’ve scoured the internet to find the best crankbaits so I can relay them back to you.
A lot of the big fishing brands make some high-quality cranks that you’re sure to love.
In this article, we’re taking a look at the best crankbaits for bass fishing.
I’ll also talk about how to use these lures, why to use them, and maybe even when to use them.
You’re getting the best of my knowledge and of other expert anglers in this roundup, so let’s get to it!
Check out our YouTube video above, where Anglers.com community coordinator Wes Littlefield got his hands on several crankbaits to test.
- In-Depth Reviews of Our Favorite Crankbaits for Bass Fishing
- What is a Crankbait?
- The Different Types of Crankbaits
- What is the Best Color Crankbait?
- How to Fish a Crankbait
- Best Rod and Reels to use With a Crankbait
- Final Thoughts
In-Depth Reviews of Our Favorite Crankbaits for Bass Fishing
Rapala Rattlin 05
- Type: Lipless
- Size: 0.3 ounces
- Color: 8 color options
- Pieces: One
- Sound chamber loaded with BBs to create a rattling noise
- Balanced for a nice presentation
- Since this is a lipless crankbait, it will move quickly through open water
- Great action for all retrieval types
- Casts long distances
- Loud in the water
- Only comes with one lure
Here we have one of my favorite bass lures of all time. The noisy action of the rattling BBs inside makes quite a ruckus in the water, and you can pretty much retrieve this however you like.
Overall, the lure runs relatively shallow, but it sinks quickly. The sound that it gives off is meant to naturally mimic the noises that baitfish make when they’re in the water, so it has a natural sound and appearance which piques the curiosity of any neighboring bass.
Each lure is hand-tuned to function perfectly right out of the box.
Strike King KVD Shallow Square Bill Crankbait
BEST SHALLOW DIVING CRANKBAIT
- Type: Square Bill
- Size: 0.8 ounces
- Color: 16 natural colors
- Pieces: One
- Dives around three feet below the surface
- Square billed crankbaits move erratically through the water
- Since this one is a lot smaller than the previous option, I would recommend using this when you have a hunch on where a group of bass are.
- Runs shallow
- Bill provides a great presentation of a panicked baitfish
- Comes in many different colors
- Limited to one size option
The main reason why people turn to square bill crankbaits is because of their unique action in the water. They call it “wandering,” and it gives bass the appearance that the fish doesn’t know where it’s going. When that happens, it creates curiosity and makes the bass feel like they have an easy meal.
It comes in plenty of color options, which is nice and two treble hooks, which I would consider a standard.
I wouldn’t suggest using this one to scope out a new fishing situation, but the presentation works beautifully if you’re already dialed in.
Proberos Square Bill Crankbait with Treble Hooks
BEST SQUARE BILL CRANKBAIT
- Type: Square Bill
- Size: 0.35 – 0.58
- Color: 4 different sets containing 6 unique colors
- Pieces: 6 pieces in a set
- Lifelike features including eyes and laser printed bodies
- Square billed crankbait with stainless steel BBs inside for vibration
- My main recommendation here would be to choose your colors carefully because each color package varies in size. Just be aware of that.
- Many color options
- Internal BBs for presentation
- Great value
- Not a major brand
These are the best square bill crankbaits for a few reasons. First, they’re incredibly affordable, and you get six with each package. Second, they have a strong online reputation on Amazon even though they’re not from a major brand. Finally, they’re durable, the hooks are strong, and the presentation is solid with the BBs inside.
Overall, you can’t go wrong by picking up a pack of these and keeping them in your tackle box. They look great, and the prints are natural.
Rapala Jointed Shallow Shad Rap 7
BEST JOINTED CRANKBAIT
- Type: Jointed
- Size: 2.75 inch / 0,8 ounces
- Color: 12 colors
- Pieces: One
- Dives 3-4 feet beneath the surface
- This lure offers a rhythmic rattle meant to attract attention
- I find the jointed lures offer the best presentation because they appear natural when moving through the water. You want to speed up your retrieval a bit to keep that motion going.
- Wide swimming action
- Suspends around 3 feet beneath the surface
- Comes in a lot of natural colors
- Requires a bit of finesse
- Only comes with one
I love Rapala lures because they have a strong reputation, and you know you’re buying into high-quality products. Jointed lures are great because they provide the most natural presentation as long as you know what you’re doing.
It’s important that you speed up your retrieval because if you slow down, you’re going to ruin the action of the lure, and you’ll spook the bass, and that will be the end of that lure for the day.
I wish you could buy these in a pack of at least three because the price tag is somewhat high for something that could necessarily break in a day. Since they’re jointed, they don’t offer the same durability as other crankbaits.
Rose Kuli Multi-Jointed Crankbait
BEST MULTI-JOINTED CRANKBAIT
- Type: Multi-Jointed
- Size: 0.4 ounces / 4.72 inches
- Color: 11 different colors and patterns
- Pieces 3 pieces
- Dives around six feet and requires a moderate to expert level retrieval
- Multi-jointed lures offer a realistic presentation
- I wouldn’t recommend this lure to someone who doesn’t have experience.
- Powerful action
- Contains a vibration ball that increases the sound waves
- The large tongue allows for a quick dive
- Increased wind resistance allows for long casts
- Overall a very large lure but great for big bass
I’ve said my piece on these already, but the multi-jointed crankbaits take some experience and these especially because they’re so big. I am not a huge fan of these, but I have to include them because they’re an important category and they’re highly recommended for success.
What I would suggest doing is taking these to a spot you’re incredibly familiar with, and you know there is a lot of sizable 3+ pound bass there. Practice the stop and go method and see what happens.
Beyond the technique, the lure is an exceptional option that offers a great presentation, a lot of noise in the water, and precise long-distance casting due to its large size.
Rapala Quick Dive Lure
BEST QUICK DIVING CRANKBAIT
- Type: Quick Dive
- Size: 0.64 ounces
- Color: 8 natural colors
- Pieces One-piece
- Great color scheme
- These offer a quick dive to six feet, and it casts like a bullet
- Overall just a solid choice on a quick diving crankbait
- Dives down the six feet
- Casts up to 150 feet
- Constructed with balsa wood for exceptional balance
- Only comes with one lure
The bonus of having a quick divers is it allows you to get into the strike zone faster and stay there. The lure will dive down, which creates a lot of noise and action in the water. Then when the lure is suspended is when the bass will become curious about it and decide if they will strike or not.
If you pause your retrieval, it will float to the surface, and once you continue, it will dive down again, so it’s a unique presentation that works for many anglers.
FOVONON Mini Crankbait
- Type: Mini Rattlers
- Size: 0.06 / 1.18 inches
- Color: 5 natural colors
- Pieces 5 pieces
- Dives down to around two feet and remains suspended
- Contains an internal rattle to draw attention
- Mini crankbaits work well with ultralight fishing and scoping
- Great for scoping out new water
- Comes in many color and size options
- A unique choice for ultralight fishing applications
- May require a split shot
- Make sure you read the descriptions thoroughly before buying
Let me clarify what these are. They’re micro crankbaits, and most people use them when scoping out new water. They’ll use two rods side by side (if legal in your state) to try and get an idea of where the bass are hanging out and what the situation is underwater in terms of structure and obstructions.
Then once you have a strong grasp on the base of the lake, you can come in with your attack lure and catch some sizable bass.
This sounds like a lot of work, but they also work well for ultralight rods and lightweight line. Just be aware that you might have to throw a weight on it since they’re so light.
As for the lures themselves, they work well for their intended purpose, they have a rattle which draws attention, and they’re square billed.
What is a Crankbait?
A crankbait has a hard body, and it mimics the appearance of a baitfish. The reason these work well for bass is because bass are known to eat smaller fish. Anything that eats other fish can get targeted with a crankbait.
Crankbaits have a bill or a lip on the front, and that is what helps them dive quickly into the water. The bill then acts as a suspension mechanism that helps the lure float in the water between two and six feet below the surface.
When you reel in the crankbait, the lip then helps the lure wiggle from side to side, which is what gives these baits such a natural appearance.
The best crankbait for bass fishing will have a lip and two treble hooks, but your individual fishing style will determine what works best for you overall.
If you learn better from YouTube videos, here’s Anglers.com content creator Wes Littlefield’s top 3 crankbaits and how to fish them!
The Different Types of Crankbaits
The three main types are:
- Shallow diving crankbaits
- Deep diving crankbaits
- Lipless crankbaits
Shallow diving crankbaits will dive around one to four feet, and they typically have small lips, so they don’t create a lot of resistance when they hit the water. As a result, they dive quickly, and you should work them slower than deeper diving lures. These are almost like topwaters and they work well in shallow water.
Deep diving crankbaits will do the opposite, and they’ll dive as deep as 20 feet in-depth, and the lip on these creates a powerful wiggling motion in the water that leads to a louder disturbance which creates more attention.
The only time you will use these is when you have a lot of open water, or you’re trying to target structure that is deep below the surface.
Lipless crankbaits obviously do not have a bill, and they have a much tighter wobble that doesn’t generate as much attention. I like to use these in smaller ponds where there might be a lot of vegetation. Lipless crankbaits will rip through the cover a lot better.
What is the Best Color Crankbait?
To determine the best crankbait colors, you want to look at the current weather situation. Generally, bright colors are ideal when the weather is warm, and natural colors are better when the weather is cool.
You should also pay attention to the condition of the water. In the spring and early summer, the water is usually murky due to snow runoff and heavy rainfall. At this time of year, you’ll want to use bright colors to draw attention.
When you’re fishing clear water during the summer and early fall, you will want to mimic the colors of natural baitfish as much as possible.
How to Fish a Crankbait
When you’re trying to choose the best crankbait for bass fishing, you want to keep two things in mind—first, the wobble and action of the lure. Second, the diving depth, considering the location that you’re fishing.
To fish a crankbait, you need to cast it out and let it dive. After a few seconds, you can start your retrieval. The smaller the lip on the crankbait, the slower the cranking.
The best way to master fishing for bass with a crankbait is to get out there and try them because it’s something that you get a feel for rather than understand right away.
One thing that a lot of experts like Kevin Vandam recommend with crankbaits is to fish them where there is cover. When they break free from the vegetation is what often triggers a strike. Overall, fishing a crankbait doesn’t require a lot of experience or knowledge because it’s a simple cast and retrieval, and the lure itself does a lot of the work in creating the presentation.
Best Rod and Reels to use With a Crankbait
Now let’s break down the best rods and reels you should use with your hard baits.
The most important thing about rods is you want to have a soft to moderate tip on the rod. If it’s too stiff or too loose, you won’t allow the lure the freedom it needs to move throughout the water. The tip also plays a role in setting the hook, and having more flexibility in the rod tip prevents the hook from flying out of the bass’s mouth.
I’d recommend using a casting reel with a 6:1 gear ratio. This reel provides you the flexibility you need to retrieve based on the type of crankbait you’re using, whether it be slow or fast. If you’re using a small crankbait like the micro cranks, I recommended above, that is when you can use a spinning reel.
Other than that, you won’t get the power you need from a spinning reel to get the crankbaits down as you would with a baitcaster.
We’ve discussed a lot in this article so let’s have a quick recap and some final tips:
- The seven crankbait options recommended above all differ greatly, so review them carefully.
- The color you choose depends on the season and water clarity.
- Fishing a crankbait doesn’t usually require a lot of experience, and the lure does most of the work.
- Crankbaits dive hard into the water and typically suspend between two and six inches from the surface unless you have a deep diver.
- You can use fluorocarbon or monofilament line when crankbait fishing for largemouth or smallmouth bass.
- Many bass anglers think you can only use jigs and soft plastics during spring but cranks are a great bass fishing lure.
I’d suggest grabbing a few different types of crankbaits and testing them out. Overall, they’re affordable, but if you’re starting out, I would suggest the Rapala Rattlin 05 because the lipless design creates a tight wobble that prevents you from getting hung up and it works better in smaller applications.