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Fishing is a fun and exciting activity that requires the right gear, and one of the essential tools in a fisherman’s kit is a crankbait.

Let’s discuss how to fish a crankbait, our picks for best crankbaits, and the clear advantages and disadvantages of using crankbait for various species of fish.

These fishing lures come in different shapes, sizes, and colors, and they have advantages and disadvantages that every angler should know.

In this article, we’ll explore the benefits and drawbacks of using crankbaits to help you determine whether it’s the right lure for your fishing adventure.

Crankbaits, photo of a large fish being held after being caught with a crankbait lure.

What are Crankbaits?

Crankbaits are the ultimate chameleons of the fishing world, mimicking the movements of small baitfish to lure in the biggest predators.

With two types to choose from, lipless and lipped, these lures are a favorite among anglers targeting a wide range of fish species.

They have two sets of treble hooks, one attached at the rear and one dangling from the belly of the lure. Though they have a double set of hook, they’re not to be confused with jerkbaits. Learn more about crankbait vs jerkbait.

In my experience, the lipped variety is particularly versatile, perfect for catching bass, walleye, northern pike, and I’ve even reeled in a few trout and muskie, too.

Varying the speed of your retrieve can make all the difference, mimicking the natural swimming action of baitfish and triggering aggressive strikes from largemouth bass.

Meanwhile, I find lipless crankbait are ideal for deeper waters and covering a lot of ground quickly, making them a go-to for catching striped bass, redfish, and bluefish.

Whether you’re a seasoned pro or just starting out learning how to fish, crankbaits are a must-have in any angler’s tackle box.

Lipped Crankbaits: A Tackle Box Must-Have

Lipped crankbait are an essential lure for any angler. This style has a distinctive lip that juts out from the front of the lure. The lip allows it to dive deeper into the water when retrieved, giving anglers access to deeper areas where fish may be hiding.

From my experience, lipped crankbaits work best when used in freshwater lakes and rivers. The lip also creates a wobbling action that mimics the movement of a live fish, making it irresistible to predatory fish like bass, pike, and walleye.

When I use lipped crankbaits, I prefer to vary the retrieve speed to find what the fish are responding to best. A slow and steady retrieve with occasional pauses can be quite effective. Alternatively, a faster retrieve with quick jerks can also trigger a strike from a fish looking for a quick snack.

Lipless Crankbait: A Versatile Lure

Lipless crankbait are another popular style that every angler should have in their tackle box. As the name suggests, they do not have a lip, but instead rely on their shape and weight to create an enticing movement when retrieved.

In my experience, lipless crankbait are incredibly versatile and can be used in a variety of fishing environments, including freshwater and saltwater. Their weight allows them to be cast over long distances and their vibrating action can be felt by fish from a distance.

When I use lipless crankbait, I like to retrieve them in a steady, rhythmic motion. The vibration caused by the lure’s movement can attract a variety of fish, including bass, trout, and redfish.

From my experience, varying the retrieve speed and motion can increase the chances of a successful catch with both types of crankbaits.

In conclusion, both lipped and lipless crankbait are must-have lures for any angler. Lipped are ideal for freshwater fishing, while lipless are versatile enough to be used in both freshwater and saltwater.

Crankbait: A Better Way To Fish

Anglers are always looking for the perfect bait to catch their favorite fish, and crankbaits are a popular choice.

These lures offer a unique presentation that can trigger strikes from even the most finicky fish.

While fishing jigs and spinner baits have their advantages, crankbaits provide a different kind of action and vibration that can be irresistible to fish.

With their diving lips, they can reach deeper waters and cover a larger area than some other lures.

Plus, they come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors, making them a versatile option for any fishing trip.

Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced angler, crankbaits are definitely worth a try.

Check out this variety pack and try your hand with them!

Advantages of Using Crankbait

Versatility: Crankbait are versatile lures that can be used in different water conditions, including shallow and deep water. You can use them to target different species of fish, such as bass, walleye, and pike.

Realistic Design: They’re designed to mimic the movement and look of real baitfish, making them an attractive target. Some have a lifelike swimming action that can entice fish to strike, while others produce vibrations that attract fish.

Durable: They’re built to last and can withstand the wear and tear of fishing. They are made of high-quality materials such as plastic and metal, and they can handle the teeth and sharp fins of aggressive fish.

Retrieve Control: You have control over the speed and depth of your retrieve, allowing you to target specific areas where fish are likely to be. You can use a fast retrieve to cover more water or a slow retrieve to entice fish in cold water.

Best Crankbaits: Top 10 Crankbait Lures

Here are our top 10 picks for the best crankbaits and the best bang for your money! These lures come in a variety of sizes and colors. So whether you’re just learning how to fish a crankbait or a seasoned pro, these amazing lures will help you take home big fish next time you hit the waters!

Top 10 Best Crankbaits

  1. Rapala Shad Rap
  2. Strike King Red Eye Shad
  3. Bomber Model A
  4. Berkley Flicker Shad
  5. Bandit 200 Series
  6. Rebel Wee Crawfish
  7. Spro Little John
  8. Lucky Craft Square Bill
  9. Megabass Vision 110
  10. Livingston Lures Howeller Dream Master Classic

Feeling creative? Here is an article on how to make your own!

Disadvantages of Using Crankbait

Snagging: These lures can be prone to snagging on underwater obstacles such as rocks, weeds, and logs. This can result in lost lures and frustration. You know the feeling…

Cost: High quality pieces can be expensive, and losing them can be costly. It’s essential to invest in good quality lures that are durable and can withstand the conditions you plan to fish in. Fortunately, there are lower cost options.

Limited Movement: Most have a limited range of movement compared to other lures such as soft plastics or jigs. This can make it challenging to entice fish in some situations.

Fish Education: Fish can become smart enough to recognize crankbait if they are used frequently in an area. This can make it challenging to catch them using the same lure repeatedly.

Overall, I think the pros outweigh the cons.

These lures just work!

Crankbaits for Fishing

Crankbait can be used to catch a variety of fish. Different style, sizes, and colors may work better on different species of fish.

Below, we’ll take a look at the various species of fish you can reel in with this kind of lure.

Crankbaits are an essential tool for serious anglers, and learning how to fish a crankbait properly can make all the difference in a successful fishing trip.

In this guide, we will show you what crankbaits are, how to pick the right one, and all the tips and tricks you need to fish a crankbait like a pro.

Photo of a lipless crankbait.

How to Fish a Crankbait

Learning proper techniques and discovering how to fish a crankbait is a rewarding experience, with the anticipation of a pull at any moment.

To fish with a crankbait, vary your speed and depth to give the impression that your lure is a live fish thrashing around. Money bites will come at different speeds so test out a few different combinations to see what works best for you.

It’s important to keep tension in your line once a bite has been taken so be prepared to react quickly if the fish starts running.

With some practice and dedication, you’ll soon be bringing home plenty of fresh catches! So grab your rod and tackle box and prepare for an exciting day of angling!

Know Your Target Species and Their Prey Habits

Knowing the species of fish that you want to catch is essential in understanding what type of crankbait is best for the situation.

Different species of fish have different prey habits, so it’s important to know which bait will work best at attracting them.

Additionally, keep in mind the type of water that you are fishing in and pick a size, shape and color of the lure accordingly.

What Kind of Fish Can I Catch With Crankbait?

Crankbaits can be an effective lure to use when targeting a wide range of fish species. Bass, walleye, Northern pike, and muskie are just a few examples of fish that can be caught with a well-placed cast.

They are especially effective in warmer water temperatures when fish are more active and feeding aggressively.

Additionally, if you are fishing in an area with structure like rocks, weed beds, or drop-offs, a crankbait’s diving action can help it reach depths where fish may be hiding.

Speed and depth are important when learning how to fish a crankbait.

By varying your retrieve speed and depth, you can experiment with different techniques to find the best approach for the fish species you are targeting.

Overall, they’re a versatile and reliable option for any angler looking to increase their chances of a successful catch.

Choose the Right Crankbait for the Job

While working on how to fish a crankbait successfully, you will need to choose one that is appropriate for the job.

Start by considering what size of fish you are hoping to attract and choose a bait accordingly – smaller baits for smaller fish, larger baits for larger fish.

In addition, consider the shape of the bait and its action in water. Some crankbaits have an even-paced retrieve, while some imitate injured or struggling prey through a stop-and-go motion.

Matching the wriggling motion of the tail to that of bait fish will help convince your target catch to bite!

How To Fish a Crankbait Techniques and Tips

Learning how to fish a crankbait is an effective way to target a variety of fish species.

When just starting to learn how to fish a crankbait, cast your lure out and retrieve it back in with a steady, consistent motion.

You can vary the depth at which you fish by adjusting the speed of your retrieve and the angle of your rod tip.

Additionally, if you are fishing in an area with structure like rocks, weed beds, or drop-offs, the lures diving action can help it reach depths where fish may be hiding.

Experiment with different techniques and retrieve speeds to find what works best for the fish species you are targeting.

With practice and patience, fishing with a crankbait can become a fun and rewarding part of your angling experience.

Adjust Your Line Length, Weight, and Leader Material Wisely

Once you’ve chosen the right lure for the situation, your next step is to make sure it’s the perfect length and weight for fishing.

Depending on your target species of fish, you may need to adjust your line accordingly. This adjustment can include changing leader materials – such as fluorocarbon or monofilament – or using a method called trolling, which involves tying several crankbaits onto one mainline and casting them at once.

It’s important to understand that different depths will require different weights and lengths in order to reach their destination within an expected timeframe.

Experiment with different sizes until you find what works best in each situation!

Select Appropriate Rods and Reels for Crankbait Fishing

When selecting your rod and reel, it’s important to understand the finer points that come with crankbaiting. For instance, your reel needs to be matched to the types of fishing rods you’re using—typically a medium-heavy spinning rod works best.

This is because they need different approaches depending on rod type and size. The main rule of thumb is to not pick up a light spinning outfit when fishing crankbaits, as they don’t have enough power for the heavier baits and line.

On the other hand, an ultra-fast baitcasting reel can be too powerful for some subtler presentations that require refined turns to trigger bites.

Learn more about spinning reels here: Spinning Reels: Advantages and Disadvantages.

Vary Your Retrieve Speed to Maximize Receptions From Fish

When you’re reeling in your crankbait, be aware of variations in speed when discovering how to fish a crankbait. You can often catch fish by rapidly dragging the bait near the bottom or through heavy cover.

To increase success, try varying your retrieve to see which actions yield more strikes from the fish. This can involve speeding up and slowing down, as well as jerky starts and stops.

When fishing uphill, tap the bottom with a few jerks and then repeat it again during your next cast.

The combination of different speeds interspersed with periods of no motion can trigger bites from lethargic bass that may ignore a constant presentation.

How fast should you reel a crankbait?

As we talked about how to fish a crankbait, the speed at which you should reel a crankbait can vary depending on the specific fishing situation and the fish species you are targeting.

In general, a moderate to fast retrieve speed can be effective for triggering strikes from predatory fish.

However, if the water is colder or the fish are more lethargic, which is often the case with bass fishing, a slower retrieve may be necessary to entice a strike.

Additionally, if you are fishing in an area with structure like rocks or weed beds for walleye or northern pike, varying your retrieve speed can help you cover more ground and find the fish that are actively feeding.

Overall, it’s important to experiment with different retrieve speeds to find what works best for the specific fishing situation you are in.

When should you throw a crankbait?

Learning how to fish a crankbait lure can be very useful in a variety of fishing situations. As opposed to colder waters when fish are more lethargic, these baits are especially effective in warmer water temperatures when fish are more active and feeding aggressively.

Additionally, if you are fishing in an area with structure like rocks, weed beds, or drop-offs, the natural diving action can help it reach depths where fish may be hiding.

If you’re unsure when to throw a crankbait, try experimenting with different lures and techniques until you find what works best for the fish species you are targeting.

With practice and patience, becoming a pro at how to fish a crankbait can become a reliable and rewarding part of your angling experience.

What action is best for crankbaits?

Again, just learning how to fish a crankbait takes time an patients. The best action can vary depending on the specific fishing situation and the fish species you are targeting.

In general, a consistent, steady retrieve speed can be effective for triggering strikes from predatory fish.

However, varying your retrieve speed and adding occasional pauses or twitches can help make your lure appear more lifelike and enticing to slower-going fish.

Additionally, if you are fishing in an area with structure like rocks or weed beds, bouncing your lure off of the structure can create a realistic motion that can trigger strikes.

I’ll say it again since you’re learning how to fish a crankbait, you’ll want to experiment with different techniques and retrieve speeds to find what works best in the lake or river you’re fishing.

Overall, the key to success with figuring out how to fish a crankbait is to stay patient, be persistent, and keep experimenting until you find what works best for you.

Crankbaits for Bass

Crankbaits for bass are a good option, whether you’re trying to catch smallmouth or largemouth bass.

One of the most popular game fish in North America, largemouth bass can be effectively targeted.

These lures mimic the movements of small baitfish, which is a favorite food of the largemouth bass.

With their diving lips and realistic swimming action, they are perfect for covering large areas of water and triggering strikes from hungry bass.

Crankbaits for bass are popular among anglers like us, and for good reason. They offer several advantages when it comes to catching largemouth bass.

First, because they come in such a variety of sizes and colors, they are versatile and can be used in a variety of situations. They can be fished at different depths, from shallow to deep water, and can be retrieved at various speeds.

This versatility allows anglers to target largemouth bass in a range of environments, including weed beds, rocky shorelines, and drop-offs.

Second, they are effective at imitating baitfish, which are a primary food source for largemouth bass. They typically have a realistic swimming action that mimics the movement of small fish, making them a natural and enticing target for hungry bass.

Third, they come in a wide range of colors and designs, allowing anglers to match the hatch and imitate the specific type of baitfish that largemouth bass are feeding on. This can increase the likelihood of a strike and result in more fish being caught.

Finally, crankbaits for bass are a good choice for covering a lot of water quickly. They can be cast long distances and retrieved quickly, allowing anglers to search for active fish and quickly eliminate unproductive areas.

Smallmouth Bass is another popular game fish, smallmouth bass are typically found in clear water with rocky bottoms. Crankbaits that imitate crawfish or other small baitfish can be highly effective in enticing smallmouth bass to strike. The diving action allows anglers to target specific depths, making them an ideal choice for fishing in deeper water.

Cover a lot of water: Smallmouth bass are known for their active and aggressive feeding behavior. Crankbaits for bass allow you to cover a lot of water quickly, increasing their chances of finding active fish.

Diving depths: They come in a variety of sizes and shapes, each designed to dive to different depths. This allows anglers to target fish at specific depths, such as near drop-offs or along submerged structure.

Trigger a reaction strike: When retrieved at high speeds, they create a lot of noise and vibration in the water. This can trigger a reaction strike from a smallmouth bass, even if it’s not actively feeding.

Realistic presentation: Crankbaits for bass are designed to look and move like real baitfish. This realistic presentation can be extremely effective for fooling wary smallmouth bass.

Overall, they can be a highly effective lure for largemouth and smallmouth bass fishing, especially when used in conjunction with a slow and steady retrieve.

Experiment with different sizes, colors, and diving depths to find the combination that works best for the conditions you’re fishing in.

This is the best deal: Variety pack. Worth every cent!

Crankbaits for Walleye

Walleye are notoriously finicky and difficult to catch, but using crankbaits for walleye can increase your chances of success.

The realistic swimming action of these lures, combined with their ability to reach deeper water, can make them an effective choice for targeting walleye in lakes and rivers.

Crankbaits for walleye are a popular choice due to their effectiveness in attracting them.

Walleye are known for their tendency to stay close to the bottom of the water, and can be fished in a way that imitates the natural movement of prey that walleye feed on.

One of the main advantages of crankbaits for walleye fishing is their ability to cover a lot of water quickly.

Because walleye often roam over large areas, casting and retrieving this type of lure can be an efficient way to locate them.

Additionally, crankbaits come in a wide variety of sizes and colors, making it easy to match the bait to the specific type of prey that the walleye are feeding on.

They also allow for precision fishing, as they can be cast and retrieved to run at specific depths and speeds. This makes it easier to target walleye that are holding in specific areas of the water column.

Anglers can use a depth finder to locate walleye and adjust their fishing technique accordingly.

Another advantage of crankbaits for walleye fishing is their ability to trigger strikes. Walleye are known for their cautious and sometimes finicky behavior, but the erratic and unpredictable movement of a these lures can often entice a strike.

Additionally, the vibrations and rattles of some can attract the attention of walleye in murky water or low-light conditions.

Overall, crankbaits for walleye are a versatile and effective choice, providing anglers with a range of options to cover water quickly, target specific depths and speeds, and trigger strikes from cautious fish.

Crankbaits for Crappie

When it comes to crappie fishing, crankbaits can be an excellent choice for anglers. These small fish can be challenging to catch, and crankbaits can provide a unique advantage to land a big one.

Crankbaits for crappie are usually small, with a tight wobble action that mimics the movement of small baitfish.

One popular technique for using crankbaits for crappie is slow trolling. This involves casting your crankbait out and slowly trolling it back in while keeping your rod tip down to detect any bites. Crappie tend to hang out in schools, so once you’ve found one, you’re likely to find more.

Another benefit of using crankbaits for crappie is the ability to cover a lot of water quickly. Unlike other baits, you can quickly cast and retrieve crankbaits, making them a great choice for exploring new areas of a lake or river.

Overall, crankbaits for crappie can be a fun and effective way to catch these elusive fish. Experiment with different colors and sizes to see what works best for you and enjoy the thrill of reeling in a big crappie on a crankbait.

Crankbaits for Trout

They are not often thought of as a go to lure for trout fishing, but they can be surprisingly effective! One of the great things about crankbaits for trout is their versatility.

Depending on the size and color, you can target a variety of different trout species, from rainbow trout to brown trout to brook trout.

When it comes to choosing a crankbaits for trout, it’s important to consider the water conditions. In clear water, lighter, more natural looking crankbaits tend to work best, while in murky or stained water, brighter, more vivid colors can help it stand out and attract more fish.

Another advantage of using a crankbaits for trout is that they can cover a lot of water quickly. This is especially helpful when you’re fishing in larger bodies of water, like lakes or rivers.

By casting and reeling it in steadily, you can explore a larger area and increase your chances of hooking a trout.

So next time you’re planning a trout fishing trip, don’t overlook these humble lures!

With their versatility, ability to cover water quickly, and potential to attract a variety of trout species, they just might become your new go-to lure.

Try these!

Crankbaits for Musky

Musky are apex predators are among the largest freshwater fish in North America and are notoriously difficult to catch.

Crankbaits for musky fishing is a great idea. As we know, they are great at mimicking baitfish or other prey items can be effective in enticing musky to strike.

The large size and diving ability of these types of lures can also help to target musky in deeper water.

They can be very effective for catching musky, as they imitate the movement and profile of baitfish that these predatory fish feed on.

One of the advantages of using crankbaits for musky is that they can be used to cover a lot of water quickly. Musky are known to be nomadic fish that move around a lot, so using a bait that can be cast a long distance and retrieved quickly can help anglers locate fish.

Another advantage of crankbaits for musky fishing is that they can be fished at different depths depending on the type of lure and the retrieval speed.

This versatility makes them a great choice for targeting musky in different parts of the water column.

When selecting one for musky fishing, it’s important to choose lures that are large and durable enough (we recommend 7″)  to withstand the sharp teeth and strong jaws of these fish.

Click here: Shop 7″ Crankbaits

Crankbaits for Pike

Northern pike are aggressive predators are known for their willingness to strike at a variety of lures, including crankbait.

The erratic swimming action can be particularly effective in triggering strikes, especially when fished near weed beds or other areas where these fish are known to congregate.

One of the main advantages of using a crankbait for pike is its ability to mimic the movement of natural prey.

Pike are predatory fish that are drawn to fast-moving prey, such as baitfish, and these fishing lures are designed to move quickly through the water, making them an attractive target for pike.

Another advantage of using crankbaits for pike fishing is their versatility. There are many different types available, with varying shapes, sizes, and colors, including large lures like these made for musky and pike.

This allows anglers to choose the right crankbait for the specific conditions they are fishing in, and to experiment with different lures until they find the one that works best.

They’re also effective at covering a large area of water quickly, making them a great choice for anglers who want to search for pike in a larger bodies of water.

Additionally, many of them are designed to dive deep into the water, allowing anglers to target pike in deeper water where other lures may not be as effective.

Finally, for pike fishing, they are relatively easy to use, making them a great choice for beginners and experienced anglers alike. They can be cast and retrieved quickly, and some are designed to be weedless, reducing the chances of getting snagged on underwater obstacles.

They are certainly quite effective for pike fishing and should be a staple in your tackle box.

Click here: Shop 7″ Crankbaits

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Crankbaits and How To Fish a Crankbait: Final Thoughts

Overall, they are an effective choice for targeting a wide variety of freshwater species. They act different at different depths, and depending how deep you fish them will result in catching different species of fish.

With their realistic swimming action and ability to reach specific depths, these lures can help to trigger strikes from even the most finicky fish.

Learning how to fish a crankbait can be an exciting and rewarding experience for anglers of all levels.

By choosing the right gear, understanding the right techniques, and selecting the right colors and sizes of bait, you can catch a variety of freshwater fish such as trout, bass, and walleye..

These lures have proven to be an extremely effective and versatile fishing lure for anglers targeting a variety of freshwater species.

Whether you’re fishing from the shore or a boat, the thrill of feeling a fish strike your lure and reeling it in is an experience like no other.

Their ability to mimic the movement of natural prey, cover different depths and retrieve speeds, and trigger aggressive strikes from predatory fish like bass, walleye, pike, and musky, make them a popular choice among fishermen.

While there are various types of crankbaits available, each with its unique features, the common denominator is their ability to catch fish.

So grab your gear for fishing, head to your favorite fishing spot, and remember to experiment and have fun with different types of crankbaits to find the perfect match for the fish you’re targeting. Happy fishing!

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