Best Crankbait Rods for Slinging Cranks and Pulling in Hawgs

Last Updated on March 16, 2023

We independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here.

Fishing rods might not always seem like the most important purchasing choice when it comes to fishing. 

I’d think reels and lures are always more important but that’s not true about choosing the best crankbaits rods. 

The type of rod you’ll use to throw a buzzbait or a 4-inch senko worm isn’t going to be the one you want to use for a deep diving multi-jointed Rapala.  

Below I cover the best rods for crankbaits and how I chose them. I chose the G. Loomis IMX-Pro Bass Casting Rod as my favorite pick. 

Using decades of experience, real-life testing, and conversations with other experts – I’ve determined that these are the best crankbait rods that maximize on sensitivity and strength. 

G. Loomis IMX-Pro Bass Casting Rod
Best Overall Crankbait Rod
G. Loomis IMX-Pro Bass Casting Rod
  • Length: 6’6” - 7’11”
  • Action: Fast/X-Fast
  • Material: Graphite
13 FISHING - Defy Black Baitcast Rod
Best Budget Crankbait Rod
13 FISHING - Defy Black Baitcast Rod
  • Length: 6’7” - 7’5”
  • Action: Fast
  • Material: Hybrid
Dobyns Rods Champion XP Randy McAbee Signature
Best Rod for Deep Diving Crankbaits
Dobyns Rods Champion XP Randy McAbee Signature
  • Length: 8’
  • Action: Moderate-Fast
  • Material: Graphite

How We Tested & Found the Best Crankbait Rods

As an expert writer for, I’ve been lucky enough to receive and test a ton of amazing gear. I spent the better part of the Spring and Summer for the past 10 years fishing throughout the Poconos in Northeast PA.

One of my favorite things to throw here is lipless crankbaits. They’re simpler, more steady, and I feel a better option when trying to get a finicky bass to take your crank. 

The ideal rod for this type of presentation requires you to have enough backbone to pull in something over five pounds but sensitive enough to provide feedback when the bass are nibbling.

This is the challenge I face with cranking rods and a major factor behind our tests and trials. Let’s look at some specific features I looked at while testing out rods: 

  • Action – the action of the best crankbait rod is going to impact how the crankbait rolls through the water and how it reacts to every little movement you make with your lure. 

Moderate to Moderate-Fast action is going to be what you’re looking for and what you’ll most commonly find in crankbait rods.

It’s also going to determine how quickly you’re able to set the hook. This is how I determined how fast I needed to react once I felt that first nibble. 

  • Casting Accuracy and Distance – while using a dedicated crankbait rod might not seem like a realistic choice, it is for a lot of anglers and I quickly found that out as well.

    One thing you immediately notice with a crankbait rod in your hands is how it impacts your ability to cast different cranks of varying sizes.

    These rods are long, strong, but offer the most sensitivity and flexible action so you can rip through shallow water while still pulling in big bass. 
  • Price – Of course, price is always a consideration in our reviews and trials because we know what it’s like to fish on a budget.

    Not everyone can go out and spend $500 on a rod and over the years we’ve been lucky enough to partner with a lot of retailers.

    We have your best interests at heart and only recommend products based on real-life experience, extensive research, and dedicated relationships with the best suppliers. 

Best Overall Crankbait Rod

G. Loomis IMX-Pro Bass Casting Rod

G. Loomis IMX-Pro Bass Casting Rod


  • Length: 6’6” – 7’11”
  • Action: Fast/X-Fast
  • Material: Graphite


  • Versatile options in terms of length and power
  • Ultimate combination of sensitivity and strength which is perfect for crankbaits
  • Premium guides eliminate line friction and maximize casting distance 


  • Daunting price tag

Why We Chose It

The G. Loomis IMX-Pro is a versatile and powerful graphite rod designed to handle a wide range of fishing techniques.

This is primarily one of the reasons why I chose it as my top choice because I think it offers more versatility compared to many of the other options in this list. 

Specifically though, it is an excellent rod for fishing crankbaits for bass due to its unique combination of sensitivity, strength, and action.

One of the key features of the IMX-Pro Bass Casting Rod is its high level of sensitivity.

This is thanks to the rod’s advanced graphite construction, which allows it to detect even the slightest vibrations and movements in the water. 

This sensitivity is critical when fishing with crankbaits, as it allows anglers to feel when a fish is biting and to set the hook quickly.

When you’re holding it in your hands and working your crankbaits through the shallows, you can feel every obstruction so it tells you a little bit about the high-quality graphite material used on the blank. 

In addition to its sensitivity, the IMX-Pro Bass Casting Rod also boasts impressive strength and power. The rod is designed to handle heavy lures and strong fish, making it ideal for fishing with larger crankbaits. 

The rod’s fast action also allows for quick and powerful hook sets, which is essential when fishing with treble hook crankbaits that require a strong and decisive hookup.

I find this to be the perfect combination and part of what makes a great crankbait rod. When you get that perfect marriage of sensitivity and strength, you can just feel it.

The rod feels different than something cheap and flimsy like a Shakespeare Ugly Stik or even some cheaper Penn rods. 

Overall, the G. Loomis IMX-Pro Bass Casting Rod is a top-of-the-line fishing rod that is perfect for anglers who are serious about catching bass with crankbaits. 

Its combination of sensitivity, strength, and action makes it a versatile and powerful tool that can handle a wide range of fishing conditions and techniques.

Best Budget Crankbait Rod

13 FISHING – Defy Black Baitcast Rod

13 FISHING - Defy Black Baitcast Rod


  • Length: 6’7” – 7’5”
  • Action: Fast
  • Material: Hybrid


  • Budget-friendly
  • Great responsiveness for easy hooksets
  • Versatile action and rod power for lure control
  • Comfortable and lightweight for long sessions


  • Lacking backbone for deep diving cranks

Why We Chose It

If you’re on a tight budget, don’t worry because I completely understand. I spent years fishing cheaper rods and I’ll tell you, sometimes the expensive stuff is all smoke and mirrors anyway. 

This is the crankbait rod for less than $60 and it more than gets the job done. 

It’s designed with an emphasis on sensitivity and responsiveness, making it easy to detect even the subtlest of bites.

Additionally, the rod’s moderate-fast action allows for precise casting and effortless lure control, making it ideal for fishing with crankbaits.

One of the most impressive features of the 13 FISHING Defy Black Baitcasting Rod is its price.

Despite its high-quality construction and advanced features, this rod is available for less than $60, making it an excellent budget option for anglers who don’t want to break the bank. 

Additionally, the rod’s lightweight design and comfortable grip make it easy to use for extended periods without experiencing hand fatigue.

Now, they do offer a dedicated crankbait casting rod in 7’ and 7.4’ but it’s a bit more expensive. The features are only slightly different with a faster action but this one should get the job done.

I like the feel of the 7’1” medium-action rod. 

All in all, compared to the premium options like the G. Loomis IMX, it lacks that “backbone” and dense feel but it makes up for it in sensitivity and performance. 

Best Rod for Deep Diving Crankbaits

Dobyns Rods Champion XP Randy McAbee Signature

Dobyns Rods Champion XP Randy McAbee Signature


  • Length: 8’
  • Action: Moderate-Fast
  • Material: Graphite


  • Sensitive for detecting subtle bites deeper in the water column
  • Great for identifying bottom structure
  • Ultimate combination of strength and sensitivity


  • Limited size options
  • Lower quality material than the G.Loomis

Why We Chose It

If you’re looking for a rod that allows you to stick your nose up to everyone around you, go with a Dobyns. 

The Dobyns Rods Champion XP Randy McAbee Signature casting rod is an exceptional choice for anglers who want to really focus on deep diving crankbait fishing. 

The rod is a product of the Dobyns Rods brand, known for their innovative and high-quality fishing equipment. This is not a beginner-friendly brand nor is it a rod you pick up for occasional angling. 

It even feels expensive…

The 805CB RM Crankbait model is specifically designed for fishing with deep diving crankbaits, making it one of my favorite choices ever for catching bass with cranks. 

Some of the best cranking rods either have durability or sensitivity but this one offers both.

It allows you to feel even the slightest bite from fish. This is important when fishing with deep diving crankbaits because the bites are often subtle and can be difficult to detect.

The rod’s sensitivity also helps you feel the bottom structure, which is important for locating fish in deep water.

In addition, the Dobyns Rods Champion XP Randy McAbee Signature casting rod has a great action, which is essential for successful crankbait fishing. 

The rod is fast and responsive, providing the angler with the power needed to make long casts and control the bait. The action of the rod also helps keep the bait at the right depth, making it easier to target fish in deep water.

It’s the closest thing to the G. Loomis IMX-Pro for sure. The main issue is the material.

The Dobyns rod is built with a graphite blank, while the G. Loomis rod uses a blend of high-quality graphite and other materials to create a lighter, more sensitive rod. 

This makes the G. Loomis rod more expensive, but also potentially more effective at detecting subtle bites.

Overall, this is still one of the best crankbait rods ever made and a great option for anglers looking to get serious about their deep-diving crank fishing. 

Best Crankbait Spinning Rod

St. Croix Rods Legend Glass Spinning Rod

St. Croix Rods Legend Glass Spinning Rod


  • Length: 6’10” – 8’8”
  • Action: Moderate
  • Material: S-Glass + High Modulus Graphite


  • Amazing hybrid material for strength and sensitivity
  • Comfortable grip for reduced fatigue
  • Great eyelet design for longer casting distance


  • Reel seat is a bit small for anything larger than a 6000 series reel

Why We Chose It

Let’s take a look now at the best crankbait spinning rod. Up until this point, we’ve focused almost exclusively on casting rods because that is what we think of when we think of a crankbait rod. 

But, that doesn’t always have to be the case.

The St. Croix Legend offers a moderate action which provides versatility for ripping your crankbaits through the water at either a slower or faster pace.

One of the standout features of this rod is its construction. The Legend Glass rod is made with high-quality materials that are designed to last.

The rod blank is constructed with a blend of S-Glass and high-modulus graphite, which gives it the perfect balance of sensitivity and power. 

The Fuji K-Series with zirconia inserts are also a great addition, as they help to reduce friction and increase casting distance.

My favorite thing about this rod is actually the handle. The split-grip cork handle feels amazing in your hands, provides exceptional grip, and doesn’t slide around if you get a little wet which I think is great for kayak fishing. 

It’s a great choice at a decent price tag for someone who is looking to dip into crankbait fishing but doesn’t need anything as serious as the G.Loomis IMX-Pro or Dobyns. 

Best Crankbait Casting Rod

Falcon LowRider Casting Rod

Falcon LowRider Casting Rod


  • Length: 7’ – 7’4”
  • Action: Mod-Fast-Fast
  • Material: Aerospace-Rated Carbon Fiber


  • Ultimate carbon fiber material for strength and sensitivity
  • Balanced feel for great action and presentation
  • Priced more affordable than other premium options


  • Technique specific actions are unnecessarily confusing when purchasing

Why We Chose It

Alright, let’s talk about strength. We’ve talked a lot about sensitivity but this carbon fiber rod epitomizes why we fish dedicated crankbait casting rods in the first place. 

The Falcon LowRider is made with high-quality materials and advanced technologies, this rod is designed to provide an excellent fishing experience. 

One of the key features of the Falcon LowRider Casting Rod is its lightweight construction. The rod is built with high-modulus graphite, which makes it both strong and lightweight.

The scientific research put into the material here also helps this rod to feel more balanced than some of the others.

A more balanced rod allows you to put more control into your presentation which makes this the best square bill crankbait rod for banging off rocks and docks. 

Its moderate-fast action provides the right amount of flex and sensitivity to detect bites and hook fish, while also giving you enough power to reel in big bass. 

The rod’s length, between 7’ and 7’4″, is also perfect for casting crankbaits, as it allows you to make long and accurate casts while keeping the bait in the strike zone for a longer time.

Overall, in terms of material quality and overall design – this rod is hard to beat. It’s also really affordable compared to some of the household names like G.Loomis, Shimano, Dobyns, and Lews. 

Best Crankbait Rod and Reel Combo

Daiwa Tatula 100 Bass Pro Shops Rod and Reel Combo

Daiwa Tatula 100 Bass Pro Shops Rod and Reel Combo


  • Length: 7’
  • Action: Fast
  • Material: Graphite


  • Levelwind system for long casting
  • Ideal gear ratio for ripping crankbaits
  • Rugged and durable rod construction with graphite blank


  • A bit heavy for my liking

Why We Chose It

I personally think rod and reel combos are always the way to go if you’re just starting out and you’re not sure what to pair with what. This ensures you get the right crankbait reel that will work perfectly with your rod. 

The Daiwa Tatula is a great reel on its own and here it’s paired with a Bass Pro Shops Pro Qualifier 2 casting rod. 

This combo is designed specifically for bass fishing and offers a number of features that make it perfect for crankbait fishing.

One of the key features of the Daiwa Tatula 100 is its high-speed gear ratio of 7.3:1, which makes it easy to quickly retrieve your crankbait and keep it at the desired depth. 

The reel is also equipped with a range of other features that enhance its performance, such as an aluminum frame and side plate, a magnetic cast control, and a rugged drag system.

The rod in this combo is also specially designed for fishing crankbaits, with a fast action and medium-heavy power that allows you to make accurate casts and easily detect strikes. 

It’s made with high-quality graphite and features Fuji guides, which help to prevent line tangles and provide smooth, accurate casts.

Overall, the Daiwa Tatula 100 Bass Pro Shops Rod and Reel Combo is an excellent choice. It casts well, feels good in your hands, and offers everything you need in one place so you don’t have to go in blindly. 

Best for Lipless Crankbaits

St. Croix Victory Casting Rod

St. Croix Victory Casting Rod


  • Length: 6’8” – 7’11”
  • Action: Mod-Ex-Fast
  • Material: SCIII+ Super-High Modulus Graphite


  • Incredibly high modulus graphite for maximum sensitivity
  • Great technology for detecting small nibbles
  • Affordable price tag


  • Lacking anything exciting or new

Why We Chose It

I love fishing lipless crankbaits for bass and the St. Croix Victory Casting rod is a great choice for this. This is because of its super high sensitivity SCIII graphite and IPC tooling technology. 

This results in a lightweight, sensitive rod that can detect even the slightest bites and provide excellent hook-setting power.

It’s perfect for low visibility situations in shallow water when the bass aren’t biting as much. These finesse-style crankbaits are great for use in the Fall when water temperatures have begun to dip. 

Another great feature of the St. Croix Victory Casting Rod is its split-grip design, which offers excellent comfort and control while casting and retrieving.

The rod also features a Fuji reel seat and Kigan hookkeeper, which further enhance its functionality and convenience.

I talked to a couple of the other experts at Anglers to get a little feedback on the St. Croix Victory Casting rod and they all praise it for its sensitivity, balance, and durability. 

If you need a casting rod for lipless crankbaits that offers versatility, durability, and sensitivity without breaking the bank – I’d say this is the best option. 

Factors to Consider Before Buying the Best Crankbait Rods

crankbait rod for bass fishing

When I tested out various crankbait rods and spoke with other anglers, there were a few things they expressed as the “non-negotiables.” 

While having the right rod is important in general, crankbait fishing brings on a few different things you might not focus on when shopping for a “jack-of-all-trades” rod. 

Let’s take a look. 

Rod Length

The length of the rod you choose is critical when fishing with crankbaits. Generally, you want a longer rod because it will allow you to cast the bait further.

A long rod also provides more leverage when you’re reeling in your catch, making it easier to retrieve larger fish. 

Some of the best crankbait rods are usually between 7-8’ long. You’ll also notice they have a longer butt so you can throw it between your legs if you’re trying to pull in a really large bass. 

However, if you’re fishing in areas with overhead obstacles, such as trees or docks, a shorter rod may be a better option. The length of the rod you choose ultimately depends on the conditions where you fish.

Any of the rods in this guide are the proper length otherwise I wouldn’t recommend them. Just remember to keep in mind the versatility at certain lengths. 

An 8’ rod might work well for deep diving crankbaits but not so much when some of the best crankbaits are light and lipless for intense fishing pressure situations. 


St. Croix Rods Legend Glass Spinning Rod for bass fishing

The action of a rod refers to how it bends and flexes when you’re casting or reeling in a fish. Different types of actions are available, such as fast, moderate, or slow. 

For crankbait fishing, a moderate action rod is typically the best option. A moderate action rod will allow you to cast the bait further, and it will also provide the right amount of sensitivity when you’re trying to detect a bite. 

Pretty much all the rods we’ve tested and reviewed are moderate to moderate-fast action and I think they provide the best opportunity to catch bass with crankbaits. 

It’s important to choose a rod with the right action for your fishing style to ensure that you have the best experience possible.


The rod blank is the “face” of the rod and the part that plays the most impact in its performance. Graphite, fiberglass, and composite are the three most common materials.

In many modern rod blanks, you’ll find that you get a combination of the three of these. 

Graphite is known for being durable and light while fiberglass is most known for its enhanced sensitivity. Composite and hybrid rod blanks are the best of both worlds. 

I personally think that reel guides or eyes are some of the most underrated pieces of equipment on your rod. These are where the line flows through when it comes off the arbor of the reel. 

If there’s a lot of friction on the guides, it’ll impact your casting distance and wear down your line over time. 

You’ll hear terms like “Fuji” guides used most frequently but all this means is that the eyes are designed in a way that doesn’t impact your casting distance. 

This is another important thing to look out for. 


st croix victory casting rod for bass fishing

The material used to construct your rod is important because the best rod for crankbaits needs to have a little backbone to it. You also want to consider the handle and grip. 

The handle should be comfortable and provide a good grip, and it should be made of materials that are resistant to moisture and wear. Cork grips are popular for handle material because it’s lightweight and comfortable to grip. 

The guides should be made of materials that are strong and durable, such as ceramic or stainless steel.

Frequently Asked Questions

What action is best for crankbaits?

A moderate to moderate-fast action is going to be the best choice for crankbaits because it helps you rip various size crankbaits through different water depths.

It offers the most versatility to appeal to a wider range of applications on the water. 

What size rod is best for crankbaits?

In my experience, a 7-8’ rod is the right choice for crankbaits because it will have enough backbone to pull in larger bass of 6+lbs. 

Is a medium-heavy rod good for crankbaits? 

Most anglers prefer a medium to medium-heavy rod for crankbaits because it offers you the versatility to use lighter crankbaits as well. 

Final Thoughts

One thing I think separates the best crankbait rod from a so-so one is the combination of sensitivity and strength. This is hard to find and the reason why a lot of crankbait rods are so expensive. 

If your goal is to pull in more lunkers with crankbaits, you’ll want one of the options from this guide. 

Listen… I can’t get it all right so I want to hear from you. Leave me a comment below to tell me about your favorite technique for fishing crankbaits. Good luck out there!

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