How to Fish Crankbaits – A Detailed Guide by Seasoned Anglers

A crankbait is a useful lure for almost all types of fishing. With its help, you can catch various species in all seasons. In this article we will teach you how to fish crankbaits.


It is a lure type that is famous among experts and amateurs for catching fish that eat small fish species as their food. It could be useful to catch fishes from the deep water like twenty feet deep water or even more. You could divide crankbaits into four main categories to shorten things.

1.       Shallow divers:

These types of crankbaits work best in the shallow areas. You could throw them around shallow grasses, submerged wood, rocks and docks. When your crankbait bounces off any hard object, your work becomes easier. It is because your bait then causes a reaction from fish when your crankbait changes its direction. The body and the lip of your crankbait would capture this effect and produce deflection and then the hooks would go into the cover with more speed.

2.    Medium divers:

Medium divers work better in shallower water than ten feet and also when these crankbaits dive more depth than this. Such crankbaits could dive ten feet in the shallow water and hit the bottom to cause disturbance. it also creates a deflection with a little pause that results in a strike.

3.   Deep divers:

Deep crankbaits are the best for fishing in the creek channels, ledges and rock piles. It takes a lot of effort to get down your crankbait deep and let it stay there. like shallow and medium divers, it is important that your bait hits the bottom as this helps to attack a fish easily.

4.       Lipless divers:

When the bait doesn’t contain any lip part, it is called a lipless diver. It changes its lure shape to work effectively. When you attach the line, the topmost part of your crankbait body angles greatly.


The warm water gives you the opportunity to crank the reel handle fast. Plenty of large fishes start to come in the shallow water because they prepare for spawning here. Thus, spring is the best time to do fishing using your shallow divers. A red bait with fastest retrieve would dive into the deep water and look like a rushing crawfish.


Metabolism of the predatory fish heats up with the rising temperature in Summer. You could crank fast and fish deeper than other seasons. If you want to fish off shore erections, a deep diver or crankbait would be the best for you.


Fall is probably the best time to fish with crankbaits. During this season, the baitfish turn out to be more active as the predatory fish start chasing them. A shad or white pattern bait with a faster retrieve is good lure for using in cover water till you trace fish concentration.


A flat sided bait that could produce a snug wobbling action is the best in winter because a wide crankbait could not work effectively in cold temperature. Thus, during winter, you should use a flat sided crankbait for fishing with a steady and slow retrieve.

Line size, type and diameter:

Most anglers overlook the fishing line while crankbait fishing. Line diameter and size highly affect the depth and action of the baits. If you put a thinner diameter bait, it would dive deeper. Line type would also affect the depths to dive the bait. Fluorocarbon would sink whereas braid and monofilament would float. Braided line would give less stretch that would make it less attractive to fish crankbaits. Stretch lacking is more likely for pulling out hooks of the fish mouth that may result in losing your target.

Fluorocarbon and monofilament are the best options for crankbaits. Monofilaments are good for shallow water where there are grasses because it wouldn’t hang up like a sinking fluorocarbon. Fluorocarbon is the best line to fish crankbaits as it has a slight stretch and sinking properties would offer your bait to deep dive.

Cranking gear:

Crankbaits need reels and rods that are designed specially to get more out of the lures technically. The reel should handle a large number of the line for getting the best casting distance and have a slow gear ratio. Gears like a 5.4:1 ratio works good for all types of crankbaits. It is because there are two main factors- it allows more power while retrieving and forces you to fish your baits slower.

A long bait rod allows for improved casting distance for getting the maximum depth of diving. More than seven feet rods are ideal. The action of the rod is another important factor as it allows your crankbait to dive deeper even without being impeded or held back by your rod. A good rod that is medium heavy with a modest action could provide a great balance of flexibility and backbone. One of the popular rods is the fiberglass composite because they would provide you the necessary balance for cranking and casting.

Modifying hooks:

The hooks may become dull while practicing with it but changing your hook size or style could have a great effect on a bait’s dive and action. Every hook style would vary in weight and thickness that cause a lure to hangout deeper or shallower. The radical change may negatively impact how your bait was designed, give it no or little action. Thus, it is better to change hooks for the same styles, brands and sizes to avoid affecting the bait’s action.

Turning the crankbait:

You should ensure that your bait always runs straight. If not, there may be a faulty lure, harm from a run cast or because you catch many fish! You have to tune it to fix your straying crankbait. You should adjust the line draw to the reverse track where you need to run it by using a needle nose plier. If you want it to run to the left, just turn the tie in the opposite direction.

Casting and reeling:

It is better to cast the line about 30 ft. away from your boat. You should reel until there is 12 inches hanging off the rod angle. Point 90 degrees to the left or right through pressing on the spool. Swing the rod back close enough, then release it. Moreover, you should reel the bait in an unreliable motion and bump it to the right or the left. By doing this, the fish would take it as a meal and not abandon it thinking it as an object.

While reeling, hold it at 45 degrees angle as you may lose it by holding parallel. When you hook the fish, you have to reel slowly because the fish may become exhausted and stop trying. Turn the reels four to five times and reel until the fish gets landed. You should kneel down while taking the fish to avoid accidents.

It is not too difficult to fish crankbaits. You should practice more and more to do the work effectively. Hopefully, you will be able to fish with crankbaits successfully by following these steps above.