Home Product Reviews and Resources 8 Best Crankbaits for Bass Fishing

8 Best Crankbaits for Bass Fishing

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Looking at the 8 Best Crankbaits for Bass Fishing

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As with any “best of” fishing list, keep in mind that these selections are highly subjective. The crankbaits chosen made the list because they have a reputation for producing fish all over the country. These lures are tried and tested by high-level bass anglers and are popular among millions of casual anglers as well.

Watch some of the best crankbaits on the market in action

Strike King KVD Rattling Squarebill Crankbait

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The Strike King KVD Rattling Squarebill Crankbait is one of the most popular crankbaits in the world (Photo via Christian Schultz/Premier Angler)

Length:

  • 2 inches
  • 2-1/2 inches
  • 2-3/4 inches

Weight:

  • 3/8 oz.
  • 7/16 oz.
  • 5/8 oz.

Color Selections

  • Natural Red Craw
  • Pearl/Black Splatter/Chart Bly
  • Chartreuse Sexy Shad
  • Gizzard Shad
  • Chartreuse Shad
  • Sexy Shad
  • Natural Pumpkinseed
  • Chartreuse Splatterback
  • Bluegill
  • Green Gizzard Shad
  • Black Back Chartreuse
  • Chartreuse Crazy Shad
  • River Minnow
  • Natural Bream

Pros

  • Multiple colors for different applications and seasonal feeding patterns on the water
  • Vibration from the rattles inside draws attention
  • Hooks are efficient right out of the box – no need to replace with higher quality treble hooks
  • Reasonably priced

Cons

  • Bouncing off rocks and structure will eventually rough up the bill and paint
  • Squarebill is efficient but still prone to snags

The Strike King KVD Rattling Squarebill Crankbait comes in multiple color scheme selections. The Natural Red Craw is a great choice and color pattern for early spring pre-spawn and even all the way into spawn.

The Chartreuse Crazy Shad is used when there is murky or muddy water that allows the bass a chance to see the popping shine of the scales and the chartreuse body.

The diving depth on this particular bait is 3 to 6 feet, making it ideal for casting up into downed trees or riprap along the shoreline.

View at Bass Pro Shops

Strike King KVD 1.5 Shallow Runner

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Length:

  • 2-1/2 inches

Weight:

  • 3/8 oz.

Color Selection

  • Chartreuse Sexy Shad
  • Sexy Shad
  • Natural Shad
  • Black Back Chartreuse
  • Chartreuse Perch
  • Natural Bream
  • Orange Bream

Pros

  • Great presentation
  • Fewer snags than other lures
  • Fourteen different colors patterns
  • Relatively inexpensive given its popularity and history of success

Cons

  • Only optimal during certain times of the year
  • Durability makes it prone to more wear-and-tear than some other models

The Strike King KVD 1.5 Shallow Runner is a great bait when bass have moved up into the shallows, hence the name.

For clarity’s sake, when we are talking about the shallows, we’re looking at depths of three feet of water or less.

The Strike King KVD 1.5 Shallow Runner has very erratic movement when retrieved. It is also known for producing a bite similar to what you might experience using a top-water lure like the Whopper Plopper since it is only running a couple feet below the surface.

Another major selling point for the Shallow Runner is the fact that it is good at avoiding snags when pulling it over and through weeds and other cover. Like many other lures, however, there are only certain times of the year where its use it optimal.

View at Bass Pro Shops

6th Sense Quake Lipless Crankbait

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While 6th sense is fairly new compared to some other companies, their premium fishing products are right at the top with the competition and that includes the quake crankbait. They can be thrown in deeper water or even into some low laying vegetation, however it is likely to get caught up into downed timber and retrieving it could become a hassle.

The quake produces a strong vibration while being reeled which causes nearby bass to strike it usually out of reaction. There are a few colors to choose from and the Crackle Craw in early spring or fall is a solid choice.

Length:

  • 2.8 inches

Weight

  • 5/8 oz.

Color Selection

  • Crackle Craw
  • 4K Shad
  • Bluegill Fire
  • Chrome Threadfin

Pros

  • Loud vibration and thumping attract fish
  • Lifelike color schemes

Cons

  • Probability of snagging
  • Limited colors
View at Bass Pro Shops

Berkley Dredger Crankbait

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Plugging the shoreline without any luck can be demoralizing and as anglers we need to step out of our comfort zones and change things up a bit, this bait does pertain to people who have a craft that can get them to deep water off points or around structure in open water. The dredger can dive up to 26′ which has a tight action while running over structure or around old roadbeds. Outside of a regular retrieve using a deep diving crankbait with the dive and rise technique can stir up a reaction bite by letting the bait rise periodically while retrieving. While a deep-diving crankbait like the Berkley Dredger isn’t ideal for casting higher in the water column, but it can produce a frenzy once a school of bass are found.

Length:

  • 2-1/4 inches
  • 2-1/2 inches
  • 2-3/4 inches
  • 3 inches
  • 3-1/4 inches

Weight:

  • 1/2 oz.
  • 5/8 oz.
  • 3/4 oz.
  • 7/8 oz.
  • 1-1/8 oz.

Color Selection

  • Big Money
  • Black Chartruese
  • Blue Chartruese
  • Boiled Crawl
  • Chameleon Pearl
  • Citrus Shad
  • Firetiger
  • Ghost Morning Dawn
  • Gilly (Bluegill)
  • Green Shad
  • Homer (Neon yellow/green)
  • Honey Shad
  • Irish Gold
  • Lavender Shad
  • Lone Ranger (Neon yellow/gold)
  • Old Blue (White/turqoise)
  • Rubbertail
  • Stone Cold (Translucent white/black)
  • Stunna Shad
  • Vanilla Chartreuse

Pros

  • Deep diving
  • Good color selection
  • Great action

Cons

  • Susceptible to snags
  • Limited application due to diving depth
  • Higher difficulty than some other crankbaits
View at Bass Pro Shops

Berkley Warpig

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Length:

  • 2 inches
  • 2-3/8 inches
  • 3 inches

Weight:

  • 1/4 oz.
  • 1/2 oz.

Color Selection

  • Black Gold
  • Black Gold 2
  • Black Silver
  • Bleeding Shiner
  • Midnight Pearl
  • Blue Back
  • Sexier Shad
  • Firetiger
  • Gilly (Bluegill)

Pros

  • Vibrant colors
  • Dives nose down
  • Versatile

Cons

  • Snags
  • Paint damage to nose and sides after extended use

The Berkley Warpig is a highly versatile lipless crankbait with vibrant color patterns paired with aggressive action.

This crankbait can be used high or low in the water column which gives the angler the choice of where to fish.

The Warpig can be slow rolled, burned, or even yo-yoed through low vegetation in spring and fall. Using the Gilly color through open spots of or around the outside edges of weed beds can pressure bass into striking.

View at Bass Pro Shops

STORM ThunderCraw Crankbait

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Length

  • 2-3/4 inches

Weight

  • 1/4 oz.

Color Selection

  • Phantom Brown Crayfish
  • Phantom Chartreuse Crayfish
  • Phantom Red Crayfish
  • Brown Crayfish
  • Red Crayfish

Pros

  • Natural crawfish presentation
  • Loud attracting rattle
  • Fairly priced

Cons

  • Best if used in fisheries where crawfish naturally occur

This bait is best utilized in creeks or small river systems and lakes. While hardbody lures may not usually have the finesse of soft plastics, one of the key features of the Thundercraw is that it assumed a natural, lifelike defense that fish would regularly see in crawfish.

Popping the wide wobbling natural body of the Thundercraw over rocks and around shallow weed edges in the early spring can drive pre spawn bass right into a reactionary bite.

The Thundercraw can be used year-round but early to mid-spring seems to be most effective.

View at Bass Pro Shops

Rapala Shad Rap SR07

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Length

  • 2-3/4 inches

Weight

  • 5/16 oz.

Color Selection

  • There are nearly thirty different color schemes available for the Shad Rap SR07

Pros

  • Natural crawfish presentation
  • Loud attracting rattle
  • Fairly priced

Cons

  • Best if used in fisheries where crawfish naturally occur

Full disclosure: This is probably my all-time favorite crankbait.

It has been around for decades and while some newer models might be more popular, it is hard to argue the success of the Shad Rap 07. I have caught everything from bass to perch to walleye on this thing.

What sold me as a child was watching my dad land a 40+ inch muskie on the Shad Rap 07 back in the 90s. Since then, I always make sure to have one or two on the boat with me.

Also, with close to thirty color patterns available, this lipless crankbait is one of the most versatile and successful in history.

View at Bass Pro Shops

Berkley Frittside Crankbait

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Length:

  • 2 inches
  • 2-1/4 inches
  • 2-1/2 inches
  • 2-3/4 inches
  • 2-4/5 inches

Weight:

  • 1/4 oz.
  • 1/3 oz.
  • 3/7 oz.
  • 1/2 oz.

Color Selection

  • Sexy Back
  • Brown Craw
  • Special Red Craw
  • Kentucky Blue
  • Creme Pie
  • Black Chartreuse
  • Spring Craw
  • Midnight Pearl
  • Blue Chartreuse
  • HD Blueback Herring
  • MF Bluegill
  • HD Green Craw
  • HD Brown Craw
  • HD Bluegill

Pros

  • All around solid bait
  • Bigger models have a weighted bill allowing diving depth up to 10 feet
  • Wide variety of unique color selections
  • Quite a few different sizes to choose from

Cons

  • Prone to snagging

The Berkley Frittside crankbait comes through the water with a silent approach which catches the bass off guard sometimes forcing them into a bite.

Larger models of this crankbait allow for diving depths up to 10 feet of water. The Frittside definitely shines when the surface temperature is really warm or very cold. It is also designed by one of the top names in the sport and industry of bass fishing (1993 Bassmaster Classic Champion David Fritts).

For many anglers, the Frittside Crankbait is a must have in their arsenal.

You can also read more about the Frittside Crankbait in our exclusive interview with David Fritts.

View at Bass Pro Shops

Honorable Mention: Another Great Crankbait for Bass Fishing

As we mentioned above, it is impossible to produce a fully objective and comprehensive list of the best crankbaits for bass fishing because, at the end of the day, almost all of them work really well.

Because there are so many high-quality, reputable crankbaits on the market, we are adding one more to our honorable mention section below:

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  • 6th Sense Cloud 9: 6th Sense has become super popular recently and the Cloud 9 is a great crankbait with excellent coloring and presentation. We added the Quake to the “Top 8” list because, as a lipless crank bait, it differentiates itself a bit more from the pack than the Cloud 9 does against other billed models, but it is still an excellent choice if you are looking to fish mid-range water (around 6-8 feet).

What Is a Crankbait?

There are so many different types of bass lures on the market that it can be difficult to differentiate between crankbaits, swimbaits, etc.

If you are looking for a few key features of crankbaits, however, the short list below will hopefully be helpful. With this information and the photos of the baits above, you can probably make an educated guess the next time you are shopping as to whether the lure you are considering is, in fact, a crankbaits.

Body and Presentation: Crankbaits are hard-bodied and will have two treble hooks fastened to the bottom. The colors will almost always resemble bait fish with the complexity of patterns differing between brands and models. The Berkley Warpig is a great example of a crankbait employing unique presentation as its Bleeding Shiner design not only resembles a baitfish but an injured one.

The STORM ThunderCraw is considered a crankbait despite the fact that it is designed to resemble a crayfish instead of a bait fish. Many other hard-bodied crayfish lures with two treble hooks would also be classified as crankbaits whereas the soft plastic models would not.

Lips: Many crankbaits will have either square (“squarebill”) or rounded lips protruding from the “mouth” of the lure. These lips are designed to allow the lure to dive to specified depths. The aforementioned Frittside crankbait, for instance, can dive to depths of about ten feet while the KVD Shallow Runner is designed to swim closer to the surface.

The Rebel Crawfish is a good example of a crankbait that breaks this trend, however, as it features the lip on the lure’s posterior.

Rapala’s Shad Rap 7 is an example of a “lipless” crankbait. The lure will still dive but does not require the inclusion of a plexiglass lip to do so.

How to Fish a Crankbait: In terms of bass fishing, crankbaits are one of the more straightforward types of lure. Where other hard-bodied and soft plastic lures may require a bit more finesse, the key to using a crankbait is pairing the right color and depth with your surroundings and the seasonal feeding patterns.

For instance, you may want to consider using a brighter color (like neon yellows or chartreuse) during warmer season and move to more natural colors in Spring and later Fall. The KVD Rattling Squarebill is a good year-round crankbait because there are a variety of color selections to “match the hatch” each season.

You will also want to fish crankbaits where there is cover. You might mark other baitfish on your electronics, but you are more likely to secure a strike from a predatory bass when your lure is coming out of weeds, fallen timber, or other coverage.

How Our Lures Were Selected

The list of top crankbaits for bass fishing was carefully curated over several weeks with input from experienced bass anglers from across the United States. Some of the selections have been working especially well in certain parts of the country whereas others may be highly effective during a particular season or in certain conditions.

We also wanted to provide a list of crankbaits that are both versatile but also user-friendly. Crankbaits that offer a wide variety of weights, lengths, and color selections were also given consideration. Simply put, if there’s a lure that works, it helps to have some variety.

Best Rods for Crankbaits

Selecting the best rod for crankbait fishing does matter to some extent. Yes, you can use these lures on a lot of different rods. You can fish them on both spinning and casting rigs. That said, staying connected with a fish can start to become a problem when they start shaking at the surface and tossing the bait out of their mouth, a lot of that is due to the action of the rod.

A good starting point would be a 7-foot medium moderate action rod Lew’s KVD Series Crankbait Casting Rod | Cabela’s (cabelas.com) which has a parabolic bend when loading up into a hookset providing a little extra confidence bringing that fish into the boat.

If you are looking to throw some heavier deep diving or lipless crankbaits a 7’4″ medium heavy action rod St. Croix Mojo Bass Glass Casting Rod | Cabela’s (cabelas.com) would be a better choice.

Best Reels for Crankbaits

Choosing a reel for crankbaits begins with the gear ratios and not always the brand, which does matter a little, but most are well built and should last a long time.

If you’re an angler who only goes fishing a couple times a month then it wouldn’t make sense to spend a large amount of money right out of the gate when you can split the cost and put that extra money towards another set up.

Some good gear ratios to look at are a 6.8:1gear ratio the Lews Speed Spool LFSLew’s Speed Spool LFS Baitcast Reel | Cabela’s (cabelas.com) provides or a slightly quicker option with the 7.1:1 ratio that you can find in with the DaiwaTatula 100 Daiwa Tatula 100 Baitcast Reel | Cabela’s (cabelas.com)

What Type of Lines Pairs with Crankbaits

Even having a quality line with good abrasion resistance you’ll still need to check for fraying periodically and re-tying when needed, super frustrating losing any bait but maybe one of the favorites in the box or a high dollar lure just purchased.

Spooling a reel with 10lb-12lb fluorocarbon line seems to be the right mix and even some heavier line if the plan for that day is throwing into some really thick cover where the line would be susceptible to breaking while during the retrieve.

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