How to Fish a Crankbait? A Complete Guide!

How to Fish a Crankbait

The industry has wide different lure varieties, and crankbait has an exciting place. Most anglers use them seasonally yearly when they know the lure has the best effect. Types, colors, and depths select the best crankbaits. You must learn how to use each bait, especially for cover or other underwater obstacles.

Ask any angler about the differences between crankbaits, and you better pull up a stool. What size crankbait is best? How long does a crankbait last? How to use a Crankbait? Can you list the colors of Crankbait? and many other questions we will answer in this article?

Tell me the meaning of crankbait lure.

So let’s first clarify the meaning. A crankbait is a moving bait made for catching the predatory species of fish under the surface as a moving animal imitating a baitfish in its environment.

These lures are designed so that the user can control how deep they dive into the water. They often have a plastic lip that allows diving, but lipless options are available.

How to fish a crankbait for largemouth bass?

Crank baiting for largemouth bass is an incredibly successful strategy. This technique can be advantageous when looking for bass.

The most significant benefit to a Crankbait is it covers vast areas in the water column and allows easy target shooting in specific depth ranges.

Here’s how to catch big largemouth bass with these simple and effective techniques, so continue to read. Know, the bi-catch of fishing crankbaits is you may catch everything from bass, trout, carp, crappie or drum.

Best Type, Size, and Diameter of Lines

Choosing a suitable line is an important aspect when crank baiting. Yes, the rod and reel are essential, but the line is the connection between the two that make it work. Sizes in the line and diameter can significantly influence the depth of your bait and its action.

The smaller the diameter of the line, the deeper the lure will dive. So, the diameter of the line determines the depth to which the crankbait can dive.

Monofilaments or braids float, and fluorocarbon sink. Braided lines are less strained and less attractive to crankbait fishermen because they have no stretch.

The lack of stretch pulls the hook from the fish’s mouth, just as a stiff fishing rod would. Monofilaments and fluorocarbon are the best choices for crank baiters.

Tell me the best color of crankbait?

To learn the fish with a crankbait successfully, understand the trick in choosing the correct color. It’s always good to select a model that looks like a natural baitfish, shad, crawfish, etc.

Another thing worth considering is its size, but we will get back to this later—the basic principles of choosing a color or standard.

First, choose a natural color with clear water fisheries. Next, choose the bright colors crankbaits in murky water or off-colored water.

They are bright and sometimes unnatural colors and make them easier to see. Baitfish also seasonally change, so changing with them is crucial.

Choosing a color is occasionally frustrating, but an efficient technique for improving your performance.

Choosing Crankbait Fishing Gear

Today’s anglers use crank baiting rods and reels developed explicitly for cranking. The reel you use should have the capacity to hold enough lines and have a shorter gear ratio to give better cast distances.

We like a 5.5:1 gear ratio or lower is ideal for all cranking because it forces anglers to fish slower.

It also allows for more incredible speed during the reentry of your next cast. Your crankbait rod length must provide enough leverage for more casting distance and to help you reach the maximum dive depth possible.

Ideally, the rod is 7ft or more prolonged and could be up to 8 feet.

Most of your modern crankbait rods have slow and soft tips on the rod to let fish have the chance to inhale the bait before feeling you on the other end. However, one of the biggest No, No in cranking is using to stiff of a rod.

Quick Navigation to Size of Lure

It’s a lengthy article, but you will understand cranking well by the end. So next, let’s discuss size, which is not always associated with body size; it can also be the bill on the lure.

Typically the length of the bill on the crankbait determines how deep it will dive.

The industry breaks these lengths up into three categories. The shallow diving crankbaits are typically 2 to 4 feet in depth. Then comes the medium diving crankbaits, ranging from 6 to 10 feet in depth.

Then comes how to fish a crankbait for the big boys, the deep-diving crankbaits that can ranch from 10 feet to 25 feet in depth. Two better understand each of these and break down each category below.


Shallow Diving Crankbaits

This lure is most suitable in shallow waters, especially when cover is present with weeds. It is easily maneuverable over rocks, docks, and other obstacles.

Pulling the lure through the cover doesn’t seem very challenging, and hitting obstacles is not a problem.

Although the hook is in place, it will seldom tangle and often attract fish by hitting an object because of its erratic movements. Crankbait fishing with shallow diving crankbaits generally performs better faster, but not always.

The lure diving depths can differ based on a square or conventional round bill. Nevertheless, the technique is very successful, but you need the practice to perfect it.

Medium Diving Crankbaits

Medium diving crankbaits represent a diving depth and crankbait body size that is the most popular size cranks. They are very effective even in waters deeper than 10 feet.

A medium crankbait is excellent for shallower water when digging into the ground.

You will use these tacks on lakes or rivers with more rigid rocky bottoms to cause disturbances. Like shallow squarebill crankbaits, deflections will trigger strikes. A short stop after a deflection can cause sudden strikes.

Whenever the fish are near the bottom or suspended over deeper water, a medium diver can also be an excellent choice to attract them. As we mentioned, the bill size isn’t always causing the strike.

It’s often the body shapes; it depends on water clarity, creek channel, and retrieve to trigger bites.

Deep Diving Crankbaits

Fishing crankbaits deep is ideal for an offshore fishing structures such as rocks piles, creek channels, and ledges. The effort and speed required to crank a crankbait are even more critical.

Similar but more critical than with shallower styles, bottom contact is vital. Things under the deep water move slower, so a sudden change of direction is essential and will help everything when getting bites.

A deep-diving crankbait is ideal if you’re hunting in deep water spots. The logic behind it is to have complete control of your bait and feel everything it swims by, bumps into, or even breathes on it.

When bass fishing with deep divers with two treble hooks. It’s vital to keep them razor-sharp—professional anglers like them for pre-spawn bass fishing.

Unlike shallow and medium divers, the water temperature, line diameter, and line tie are critical for control, especially if you are a beginner. Nonetheless, similar to shallow divers, they’re instrumental in catching big fish and more fish.

Lipped versus Lipless

The article would not be complete without the mention of a lipless crank. The lipless crankbait has no bill or no lips. Instead, a lipless crankbait gets its action through a nose-down attitude caused by positioning the eye you tie to the back of the lure.

Most lipless contain loud rattling sounds, which imitate a school of shad. Lipless crankbaits are manufactured in sizes between 1/4oz and 2 oz. They’re good to fish with either 2 or 50 feet of water.

However, the industry does make suspending lipless baits, most sink. So a consent motion is critical to keep it off the bottom and commonly used on Lake Allatoona and others.

How can I Fish with Lipless Crankbaits?

They produce wobbly or vibrating action when cranked throw the water. Lip-less crankbaits are perfect for winter fishing around shallow cover with a good retrieve speed. This lure is used by many as bait to find fish, scouting bare bottoms with grass.

It can travel through shallow areas with grass with no ripping. It would be best if you learned to rip the lure without getting stuck in other thick vegetation areas. This model has double hook trebles and a tight wiggle like conventional models. It’s a good option when fishing a vast area and trying to pattern the fish.

Tuning Your Crankbait

It makes sense to ensure that your crankbait runs smoothly and in the direction, you want it to. In this case, the problem may have been caused when assembled. Causing a defective lure, giving errant casts, or will not crank properly.

This can also be caused by catching to many fish with one lure. How should I fix straying crankbaits? With a pair of needle-nose pliers, make minor adjustments in the tie eye of the lure to the right or left. Generally, the opposite direction it wants to turn when cranking it.

Make that adjustment, cast it out, retrieve it, and then make another slight adjustment until the crankbait is perfectly tracking.

Modifying Hooks

This practice is essential as hooks can dull but changing hook styles and sizes will affect crankbait action. The treble hook styles vary in size and length, making them shallower and deeper into the water.

The dramatic change may affect how the crankbait is intended to be used and give the cranking a small effect. Switching hooks to similar shapes, sizes, or even brands is recommended to prevent any side effects of the bait. Most of these lures were manufactured with a specific hook to operate the property.

What Color Crankbait to Use?

Shad Season

Shad coexist with bass; anywhere this happens, match your crankbait or lipless crankbait colors to shad patterns. It is always an excellent lure, no matter what time of year.

Anything flashy colored, silver, or white that resembles a shad works wonders when it comes to a square bill crankbait. Bright shad patterns like white excel in clear and dirty water, and the more translucent shades are best. A good stock of shad pattern crankbaits is always a good idea to have ready to go all year round.

Crawfish Season

We like to break the colors up into four categories. For springtime bass fishing, crawfish red imitations should be used more frequently. They are an excellent choice when the bass moves shallowly early in the year. A crawfish pattern will also work while shallow to spawn and look for a quick meal.

Another benefit of crawfish red crankbaits is these hues stand out in muddy water but are also great produce in crystal clear water. You can’t go wrong with the crawfish pattern early in the year for largemouth bass!

Reflective Season

Chrome finishes are one of the shiniest available crankbaits. These lures imitate a baitfish with flash and are an excellent choice for shad. Other similar lures are reflective patterns like blue and chrome and black and chrome. The chrome helps fish see your bait is dirty and gives off sun flashes in clear water.

Besides these colors, gold finishes are another excellent option for spring bass fishing, especially in Florida. Plenty of flashes come from a gold finish to add a reflection and imitate forage like a wild golden shiner.

Loud Color Season

Bright Colors are made for Springtime, depending on your location and conditions. You could be dealing with muddy or high water, often caused by snow melting or seasonal rains. The bluegill is spawning on the shell beds and rock piles in the south.

Use the natural bluegill patterns for fishing in the same spot. Because of this, bright color crankbaits excel for spring bass fishing. Smaller lures with chartreuse sides, Fire Tiger, or neon blue are effective baits because the bass can see them in muddy water and imitate small, brightly colored baitfish like sunfish.

What fish can be caught on Crankbaits?

Crankbait attracts predators that live in the water other than bass. These lures cover an immense area and trigger the attack of nearby fish. Below are some of the most commonly caught fish caught on crankbait.

Largemouth Bass

Bass anglers often use crankbaits even during bass competitions. Choose crankbaits for the conditions you are fishing. Bass will hit a plastic lip crankbait or lipless crankbaits all year round.

Shallow water, no matter the water column or diving depths, can teach how to fish a crankbait for bass. Pay attention to external conditions and transition areas off the main lake for fishing. Also, the seasons and how to catch bass in summer will be different then catching them in the winter.


The smallest crankbait can catch crappies as well. We fished in shallow waters at the end of a long day in the fall. Crappies will enter shallow waters for aggressive feeds and spawning in the winter and spring.

You should be prepared for deep dive crankbaits during the summer fishing to catch fish. You may also catch crappie during Summer in shallow water using crankbait, but the fall is most productive.


For pike fishing, you need to use crankbaits similar to baitfish. This should guide your choice of colors. Generally, in darker water, select darker shades. Even large pike eat small baits, especially in spring when hungry.

Avoid larger cranks and focus on follows to find the fish’s depth.


For walleye fish, you need something that mimics authentic bait’s appearance. Strictly use natural colors, no flash chrome or gold. Only with some options can you choose one that will give you more than one effect.

Walleyes can capture food from above, so you must put it above or below when fishing.


Crankbaits attract larger specimen trout. Minnows that resemble lures will give good fishing results. You need a calm day and a reasonably quick current to catch trout.

Then, every six to seven turns of your reel will require unique retraction. The movement will react to the trout being a bit tense.

In Conclusion

Every person is different preferences for crankbait they like and enjoy. All because they catch fish on it, get outside, get a crankbait, and let us know how it goes. May you also consider this information of a chatter bait useful?

Have you fished a crankbait before? How big was your catch? What crankbait lure do you like best? Got some other tips you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments below!

You may also like this article on tips for Striper fishing.


  1. Anonymous

    that was great!

  2. TK

    Great article

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