Choosing a Crankbait Rod

It’s no secret crankbaits flat out catch bass. The great thing about crankbaits is they come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, and they can cover any depth of water. To effectively fish crankbaits, we need to have the proper equipment to get the job done. I want to discuss all the different things I consider when choosing a crankbait rod for bass.

Choosing a Crankbait Rod

Choosing a Crankbait Rod- Length

Determining the length when selecting a crankbait rod is very important. Using a rod that is too short or too long will hinder an angler’s overall effectiveness while bass fishing. So, let’s go over the advantages and disadvantages of different rod lengths.

Shorter: A shorter rod is going to be better for up close fishing. Anglers won’t get the casting distance they would with a longer rod, but shorter rods are more accurate for throwing baits around cover like docks, laydowns, and shoreline. If fishing cover like this, I recommend a rod in the 6.5 to 7-foot range.

Longer: A longer rod is going to be better suited for making those long casts and covering a lot of water. Accuracy won’t be as good, however, when covering a large grass flat or deep ledge, bass anglers appreciate the extra casting distance and water they can cover on a single cast. Remember, the longer the cast, the billed crankbaits can dive deeper and stay in the strike zone longer. If trying to achieve the longest distance, I’d suggest a rod in the 7.5 to 8-foot range.

Sometimes it’s best to find a happy medium. Extra-long rods are great, however, a rod can be too long to fit in a vehicle or rod locker during transportation, so keep this in mind during the selection process.

Also, think about the balance of a rod while fishing. Shorter rods are lighter because they require less material to make. However, add a hefty reel to a short rod, and it’s going to make the rod handle heavy. In the opposite scenario, a longer rod is naturally going to be heavier. So, if a reel is too light, it’s going to make the rod very tip heavy. Tip heavy rods wear arms out quickly, especially when throwing crankbaits all day. A 7-foot rod is my ideal mid length cranking rod.

Choosing a Crankbait Rod – Power

The next thing to consider is the power of the rod. Which power is best for the application, medium, medium heavy, or heavy? The problem with power ratings is every manufacturer rates their rods differently. I suggest reading the specifications of the rod, particularly the recommended lure weights. If using lure weighs less than a rod rating, casting distance and accuracy is going to be significantly hindered. Conversely, using a crankbait too heavy for a rod is going to be very taxing on an angler’s body after just a short time fishing. Over tasking, can also lead to rod breakage during casts.

Choosing a Crankbait Rod – Action

One thing anglers tend to overlook when choosing a crankbait rod is the difference between the small treble hooks, and a large, wide gap single hook. With the smaller hooks, a slower, more moderate action rod helps prevent pulling the hooks free.

What is the action of a rod? The action of a rod is the taper and/or bend of a rod. An angler can determine action on any brand by bending a rod. Where the rod stops bending, and the backbone starts, determines action. If the tip bends only a few inches near the tip, it’s considered an extra fast action tip. If a rod bends a foot or so from the tip, it’s considered a fast action. If the rod bends halfway down the blank, it’s then considered a moderate action tip. If the rod bends almost clear down to the handle, this would be what is considered a slow action rod.

One advantage of having a slow or moderate action rod for crankbait fishing, it lets a bass eat the lure better by preventing the angler from pulling the lure away from the bass before it can fully inhale the crankbait. A moderate action also keeps a bass from ripping those small treble hooks out during the thrashes and jumps. Not every crankbait fishing scenario calls for a moderate action rod. I prefer a faster action rod while fishing smaller squarebills and lipless crankbaits. I like having a faster action because it allows me to rip a lure free from weeds or wood whenever I get hung up.

Choosing a Crankbait Rod – Material

The last thing I consider when choosing a crankbait rod is material. Graphite and fiberglass are the two most popular materials used in today’s rods. Each has its advantages; most anglers strongly prefer one or the other. Many crankbait anglers chose a fiberglass rod because it naturally has a slower, more moderate action. The downside to fiberglass rods, they are heavier and less sensitive than graphite.

For the graphite aficionados, today’s technology allows rod manufacturers the ability to create graphite rods with a moderate action. Crankbait anglers have the characteristics of a glass rod and the advantages of graphite. Graphite is much lighter and more sensitive than its fiberglass counterpart. Being lightweight prevents tiring out while casting crankbaits all day. The sensitivity of graphite allows anglers to distinguish the difference between rocks, mud, grass or a bite. Determining what a crankbait is contacting can be crucial to success on the water.

There are certainly quite a few factors to consider when it comes to choosing a good cranking rod. An angler who starts by determining the length, power, action, and materials needed for the conditions has a head start. Having the proper equipment boosts confidence, and as with anything else in fishing, confidence will lead to more success. Anglers choosing the right crankbait rod will have many successful days on the water.

Seth Duffy

Be sure to check out more crankbait rod information here on Ultimate Bass – Choosing a Squarebill Crankbait Rod

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