10 Best Crankbait Rods and Why

best crankbait rod

Looking for the best crankbait rod?

We’ve compiled a list of the 10 best crankbait rods in 2021. These are all high-quality rods that will last you for years to come and help you catch more fish than ever before. You can find them below with their specs, as well as some information about what they do and how to use them properly.

All these rods are top quality and will make your fishing experience much better than it was before. They’ll also help you catch more fish so don’t hesitate to take our suggestions and GO Fishing!

The Speed Demon Pro, made by KastKing gets the nod for best crankbait rod for its versatility, construction materials, and overall performance.

Our Pick
KastKing Speed Demon Pro Tournament Series
$129.99

This rod is designed for fishing from crowded docks, at that “secret spot” you found under a highway bridge or just in the middle of a willow thicket along the shore.

Shop on Amazon
12/02/2021 05:12 pm GMT

The rod comes in a standard spinning rod format, for universal crankbait use, but it’s also specialized in other versions for deep divers, square billed, and lipless crankbaits.

Having KastKing’s reputation as a leader in all aspects of angling is a plus.

Versatility is the key to choosing this rod as the best available. No angling situation requires more control, more decisions on which style of lure to use, and an understanding of the structure and habitat than crankbait fishing for largemouth bass does.

The Speed Demon matches those decisions you’ll need to make, with performance designed to not only fit the style you choose, but augment, and improve on that style.

Complete list of our 10 Best Crankbait Rods

Our Pick
KastKing Speed Demon Pro Tournament Series
$129.99

This rod is designed for fishing from crowded docks, at that “secret spot” you found under a highway bridge or just in the middle of a willow thicket along the shore.

Shop on Amazon
12/02/2021 05:12 pm GMT
St. Croix Rods Mojo Bass Glass Casting Rod
$139.99

The Mojo Bass is constructed of premium 100% linear s-glass. It is stronger, lighter, and more dynamic than traditional rods while maintaining great sensitivity and solid strength.

Shop on Amazon
12/02/2021 05:12 pm GMT
Dobyns Rods Fury Series 7’0”
$119.99

These rods work well with crankbaits but are versatile enough to do an equally efficient job with jerk baits, rattle baits, and Sammys.

Shop on Amazon
12/02/2021 05:12 pm GMT
Lew's Tournament Performance Speed Stick
$127.02

A rod like the TP1 Speed Stick works well with many species and even extends beyond the crankbait world. The TP1 comes in five varieties from a short 5-9 target casting rod to a medium action 7-0 model.

Shop on Amazon
12/02/2021 05:12 pm GMT
Ugly Stik Elite Spinning Fishing Rod
$49.95

The only problem with Ugly Stik design is that you can never convince your wife you need another rod since these last forever.

Shop on Amazon
12/02/2021 05:12 pm GMT
Best For Bass
KastKing Perigee II Ultralight Fishing Rod
$74.99

KastKing introduced the Perigee II with the novice in mind. Beginning anglers who are looking for a good performing rod appreciate the lower cost of this glass composite rod.

Shop on Amazon
12/02/2021 05:09 pm GMT
St. Croix Rods Legend Glass Casting Rod
$246.99

You’ll spend substantially more for the Legend by St. Croix than any of the other models reviewed here, but how many rods come with a 15-year transferrable warranty.

Shop on Amazon
12/02/2021 05:12 pm GMT
Lew's Fishing David Fritts Perfect Crankbait Speed Stick
$79.99

Many anglers use this rod for heavier crankbaits, some weighing up to two ounces. The heavier crankbaits allow much long casts and this rod can handle the extra pressure of line reeling out a long way behind these heavy lures.

Shop on Amazon
12/02/2021 05:12 pm GMT
SHIMANO SLX Spinning Rod

These glass rods come in lengths from 6-10 to 7-4 in two-inch increments. They are specialty crankbait rods that come with 10 guides and a tip guide on the first three models and 11 guides plus the tip on the 7-4 heavy-duty model.

Shop on Amazon
G. Loomis E6X Crankbait Bass Fishing Rod

This rod is designed for big bass, hard fighting stripers and can handle the stress if you hook something else that likes to test the strength of your rod.

Shop on Amazon

What is a Crankbait?

best crankbait rod

Before we get into the reviews, let’s take a quick look at the different styles of crankbaits. That way you’ll have a better idea in choosing the rod that fits the style of crankbait fishing you’re likely to try.

There are four basic styles of lipped crankbaits, one “lipless” design, and a myriad of offshoots from these four starting points. You can usually determine the action of the crankbait by the clear plastic lip that extends from the front of the lure.

Deep Divers:

The biggest billed crankbaits are almost always deep divers. The extra-large bill, or lip, digs into the water on your retrieve, pulling the lure deep beneath the surface. These lures are very popular from July to early September when bass are deeper to avoid the warmer water in many lakes and ponds that comes with the dog days of summer. You’ll need a specific rod for this type of lure, more on that later.

Shallow Divers

If the crankbait has a short rounded, or square bill, this design will keep them near the surface. These crankbaits require more control than their rivals, so a rod stiffer rod, that can manipulate the lure around, into, and over underwater obstacles is important. Shallow crankbaits require constant monitoring since you can see the action near the surface and have to adjust your rod accordingly.

Jointed Crankbaits

At least one swivel point, and sometimes more, make these style crankbaits wiggle in the water with a much more natural motion. They can resemble frogs or baitfish.  Some anglers refer to these as swim baits since they’re mimicking the swimming action of a creature that attracts largemouth bass. A slow steady retrieve with a flexible rod that allows you consistent control as you bring in the bait is an important consideration.

Suspended Crankbaits

You don’t need to work these baits as often as the lipped, or lipless versions. The lures have a specific gravity set to suspend them at the desired depth. You can get these crankbaits to lie at various depths. The idea is to retrieve them slowly, then let them stop for a few seconds. This mimics the natural evasive maneuver of baitfish to freeze when a predator is nearby. Moving and stopping requires a heavier power rod that doesn’t flex as much. Rod sensitivity is important as well since you’re likely to get strikes while the bait is stationary.

Lipless Crankbaits

Sometimes called rattle traps, these baits are filled with pellets that move when you retrieve them. These crankbaits will sink to the bottom of the lake if you don’t retrieve them. A rod with excellent control is necessary for this style. Your retrieve determines the depth you’ll fish, not the lip, or any buoyancy feature of the lure. These baits wobble on the retrieve, so you’ve got a double-dose of control in order to use them well. These are advanced baits that produce results, but you have to know what you’re doing and your rod needs to be a responsive style.

Best Crankbait Rods Reviewed

1. Speed Demon Pro

KastKing brought all of their substantial expertise into the design of this rod. Bass anglers know that timing is everything. If you set the hook too soon, the largemouth has a chance to spit out the lure before the treble hooks connect,

The Demon Pro helps prevent this with a soft tip design that gives the bass that fraction of a second to swallow the bait before you set the hook. Timing is everything when it comes to fishing for largemouth bass.

At a length of 6-8, this moderate action rod is designed for close quarter work. Sometimes a larger rod prevents a challenge in getting around obstacles on shore, or even with other frenzied anglers casting away in a book

This rod is designed for fishing from crowded docks, at that “secret spot” you found under a highway bridge or just in the middle of a willow thicket along the shore.

The standard, lipless, square bill, and deep-diving models all share the same quality of design with each having slightly different features that enhance your experience when fishing with a specific crankbait.

These rods range from moderate to fast and in lengths from 6-8 to 7-10. You’ll find a specific rod in the mix that fits your needs perfectly. These are all very light rods made with elite carbon blanks and KastKing’s nano resin technology. They weigh from 4.35 to 7.55 ounces.

2. St. Croix Rods Mojo Bass Glass Casting Rod

Don’t let the name fool you, OK, let it fool you if you like, but St. Croix named this bass catching masterpiece well.

The Mojo Bass is constructed of premium 100% linear s-glass. It is stronger, lighter, and more dynamic than traditional rods while maintaining great sensitivity and solid strength.

This one-piece rod is created with St. Croix’s integrated poly curve tooling technique. The solid, linear design doesn’t allow transitional points, creating a rod that has a smooth action, strength and still providing the sensitivity you need to detect those hits.

Backed by a 5-year transferrable warranty, these rods are built to last.

They’re available in popular sizes from 6-10 to 7-4 and in power ratings of medium/moderate, heavy/moderate, and medium-heavy/moderate.

Finding the right combination in these metallic green rods will give you a largemouth catching machine when coupled with the right reel, and the recommended eight to 14-pound test line.

3. Dobyns Rods Fury Series 7’0”

Dobyn’s worked the specificity angle in creating the Fury Series. They’ve adapted their base rod into 17 technique-specific varieties to be used with baitcasting and spincasting reels. 

These rods work well with crankbaits but are versatile enough to do an equally efficient job with jerk baits, rattle baits, and Sammys.

A Fuji reel seat, paired with a modulus graphite blank, Kevlar wrapping, and a cork grip make this a favorite among tournament anglers.

Created by legendary bass fisherman Gary Dobyns, these rods represent the knowledge he picked up from a lifetime of competition on the water.

This well-balanced rod will provide outstanding action with the entire gamut of crankbaits on the market.

4. Lew’s Speed Stick TP-1 IM8 Casting Rod

When considering crankbait rods the conventional wisdom always thinks of largemouth bass fishing first. There is no doubt that crankbait enthusiasts prefer the eternally angry largemouth over most other species. The truth is that some anglers use crankbaits for other applications.

If you’re after striped bass or other saltwater species that notice the movement of a crankbait, you’re well beyond the realm of freshwater largemouth bass.

We have a couple of favorite lakes we fish for largemouth in, but they contain perch, rainbow, and a few brown trout as well.  I’ve never caught on a brown on a crankbait, but I’ve hooked a few big rainbows that I thought were bass until they surfaced.

A rod like the TP1 Speed Stick works well with many species and even extends beyond the crankbait world.

Its unique design allows you to keep a firm grip in rain, snow or a combination of both, conditions that usually increase fish feeding activity, but that send many anglers home since they don’t want to deal with the cold, wet conditions.

The all-weather, split-grips, gives you friction and control no matter the conditions.

The TP1 comes in five varieties from a short 5-9 target casting rod to a medium action 7-0 model.

The rods are rated for line sizes ranging from six-pound to 20-pound test, and lures weighing just an eighth of an ounce, to big one-half ounce sizes.

The TP1 is a medium power rod with models that extend down to medium-light, and up to medium-heavy.

It is a fast action rod in four of the five categories. The bladed jig-casting model is rated at moderate action.

5. KastKing Perigee II

Not all rods have to be a competition-grade masterpiece of design and balance. Sometimes a beginning angler just wants to see how a crankbait rod works without breaking the bank in the process.

KastKing introduced the Perigee II with the novice in mind. Beginning anglers who are looking for a good performing rod appreciate the lower cost of this glass composite rod.

Ranging from 6-7 to 7-6 in length, the Perigee II is a versatile rod that handles crankbaits well, but that is also easily adapted to other fishing styles and a wide variety of lures.

If you’re after bass and the crankbaits aren’t getting you enough action, the Perigee II is a great rod for slow, twisty retrieves of plastic worms.

Plastic worms, whether red, black, purple, or some other color remain one of the best baits for wary bass.  Crankbaits get their attention, but sometimes the old imitation, the plastic worm is the best option.

The Perigee II gives you the ability to work both styles of lures in one compact design.

6. Ugly Stik Elite Spinning Fishing Rod

Sometimes reputation trumps specialization, that’s the case with our sixth pick, the Ugly Stik Elite.  The only problem with Ugly Stik design is that you can never convince your wife you need another rod since these last forever.

I’ve known a few anglers who have “accidentally” broken the tip when closing their truck door on it. That’s about the only way you’ll ever break one of these legendary rods.

Not a true “crankbait only” rod, the Ugly Stik Elite is as versatile as it is durable.

The secret to its strength is 35% more graphite in it than rival rods.  The strength and feel is outstanding. The only issue with it involving crankbait anglers is that the tip isn’t as flexible as competing rods.

That means you might pull a crankbait out of largemouth’s bite before the treble hooks have come into play. Might is the operative word, the number of largemouth bass caught on an Ugly Stik is astronomical.

The clear tip design is responsive and strong, maybe just as not as responsive as other models.

A cork handle is a classic in itself. There are many synthetic alternatives to cork, but the natural material of cork is perfect for almost any aquatic setting.

Stainless steel proprietary “Ugly Tuff” guides eliminate the need for ceramic or other line guides inside the metal rings.  This prevents pop-outs which can shorten casts and wear out line, a problem on some competing models.

Weight just 6.38 ounces in a one-piece design, and slightly heavier in the two-piece model, these rods range from an ultralight at five feet to seven-foot models in medium and medium/heavy power.

7. St. Croix Rods Legend Glass Casting Rod

You’ll spend substantially more for the Legend by St. Croix than any of the other models reviewed here, but how many rods come with a 15-year transferrable warranty.

The warranty tells you all you need to know about the quality of the Legend rod.

Its composition of 100% linear glass construction ensures lightweight strength while delivering more flexibility than other traditional glass rods.

Fuki K-Series tangle-free guides, complete with Alconcite rings set in corrosion-resistant matte frames leads the quality innovations with this rod. A Fugi PSSSD palming reel seat, a split-grip, high-quality cork handles and St. Croix’s proprietary Flex-Coat slow cure finish round out the amenities on this gem.

Available in lengths from 6-10 to an impressive 8-8 the rod has a power scale from medium/moderate, moderate/medium-heavy, to heavy/moderate, offering more than enough options for the angler who knows exactly what they’re looking for in a crankbait rod.

8. Lew’s David Fritts Perfect Crankbait

The second rod by Lew’s in our top 10 list, the David Fritt’s is a moderately priced rod with great reviews by bass anglers especially. Available in a versatile 6-8 length, the rod is made of a composition of graphite and glass composite, creating a rod with flexibility and strength.

The stainless steel guides have incredible hard, and durable aluminum oxide inserts, guaranteeing a long time on the water without worrying about nick your line, or slowing your casts.

A graphite reel seat, with a stainless steel cushioned hood, adds comfort in conditions where you might be making hundreds of casts in a single day.

Many anglers use this rod for heavier crankbaits, some weighing up to two ounces. The heavier crankbaits allow much long casts and this rod can handle the extra pressure of line reeling out a long way behind these heavy lures.

9. Shimano SLX Glass Crankbait Casting Rods

Shimano, a major player in the international world of angling makes our top 10 with their Glass Crankbait model casting rod.

As can be expected with any Shimano product, there are options, lots of options when it comes to purchasing the exact rod you need.

These glass rods come in lengths from 6-10 to 7-4 in two-inch increments. They are specialty crankbait rods that come with 10 guides and a tip guide on the first three models and 11 guides plus the tip on the 7-4 heavy-duty model.

All have a moderate tape and come with a recommended line weight.

The 6-10, medium/light duty rod is rated at eight to 12-pound test line with crankbaits in the 3/16th through 3/8th ounce size.

The medium-duty 7-foot rod has suggested line weights of 10 to 15 pounds and can handle up to a ½ ounce crankbait.

The 7-2 and 7-4, both in medium/heavy are identically rated for 12 to 17-pound test line and are efficient with heavier crankbaits weighing up to three-quarters of an ounce.

10.  G. Loomis E6X Crankbait Bass Fishing Rod

The E6X is our final pick. G. Loomis is known for quality rods, and this multi-taper design meshes neatly with their product line.

A series of micro-tapers, inside the overall taper, delivers a rod that has more material applied at traditional breaking points, increasing strength and durability while not sacrificing sensitivity.

Designed for larger lures with a suggested maximum of one ounce, and larger line as well. The suggested line is a wide-ranging 10 to 20-pound test.

This rod is designed for big bass, hard fighting stripers and can handle the stress if you hook something else that likes to test the strength of your rod.

How to Choose the Best Crankbait Rod For Your Needs?

best crankbait rod

Now armed with all this information, which one do you buy?

There are a few considerations in selecting the best crankbait rod for you. Here are a few questions you need to ask yourself before you pay for your next rod.

What are you fishing for? If it’s bass are you surface fishing? Deep diving? Or something else?

Are you using a jointed crankbait, a lipless version, or a deep diver?

Are you exclusively fishing for bass, or is there a chance you’ll try other species on the same trip?

Is a soft tip, that allows the bass time to swallow the lure an absolute factor?

Finally, are you a novice, an experienced angler, or someone in between?

When you answer all of these questions and refer to the reviews above, you’ll know is the best crankbait rod you.

On the subject of buying, is money no object? If so, some of these rods cost five times or more than some of the others. All of them deliver a quality day on the water, but some rods are a little better than others, and personal preference is always the deciding factor.

Don’t just buy these online before you hold one, and test the feel in person. There is no substitute for touch and feel when it comes to any fishing rod.

Conclusion

best crankbait rod

Crankbaits present an interesting dilemma in selecting the right rod for the style of angling you’re going to try. The best crankbait rods come in a wide variety of styles, sizes, colors, and patterns. You don’t have to worry about color, or patterns when you look for the best crankbait rod, but you definitely have to consider the style and size of the crankbait you plan to use.

Every one of the rods listed above offers a quality fishing experience. There is not a bad rod in the entire list.  Some are better for certain types of fishing than others, but all of them have brought in trophy-sized bass, and they will all continue to do so.

What matters is the style of crankbait fishing you’re hoping to enjoy. If you have a favorite bass spot that’s just four feet of water covered in lily pads, look for a rod that handles shallow surface crankbaits as its specialty. A deep diver or lipless sinking lure is just going to give you problems.

If you’re after big bass, late in the summer during the hottest months of the year, find a rod that works well with deep divers. The bass are going to be at the lowest depth. A rod made for deep diving crankbaits will allow you to reel in under control while forcing the lure down to the depths where the bass are waiting.

A lipless crankbait that sinks to the bottom is another option for summer months, but it doesn’t require the heavier strength, more powerful tip, and all the other features you’ll look for in a deep diver.

Pick your poison. Find a rod that fits your hand, your wallet, and that delivers the performance you want in a setting you feel at home in.

Happy fishing.

For more guides on picking your next rod check out our other articles below-