6 Best Crankbait Rods: We Rank the Crank! (Expert Review)

Keith Lusher

We independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here.

It’s amazing how far bass fishing rods have come in just a few short decades. Instead of being rare, lure specific bass rods are now a common occurrence for anglers.

And while choosing a swimbait rod or a jig rod can be a challenge, in my opinion, choosing the right rod to throw a crankbait is the hardest challenge of them all. 

I say this because I’ve tested over 45 rods over 14 years to finally end up with what I would consider some of the best crankbait rods on the market today.  

But I’ve gone a step further in my quest to find the best. 

I’ve selected what I would consider some of the top rods for throwing cranks and I’ve put them to the test on a private trophy bass pond in Northern Louisiana. 

During my weekend fishing this pond I looked at important qualities like strength, feedback, rod material, grip, and parabolicity, to come up with this guide to help you choose the best crankbait rod. 

Top 3 Crankbait Rods on the Market

If you’re in a hurry you can take a look at my top three choices for the best crankbait rods.

St. Croix Mojo Bass Glass Casting Rod
Best Crankbait Rod Overall
St. Croix Mojo Bass Glass Casting Rod
13 Fishing Envy lll Crankbait Rod
Best Tournament-Grade Crankbait Rod
13 Fishing Envy lll Crankbait Rod
Shimano SLX Glass Crankbait Rod
Best Budget Crankbait Rod
Shimano SLX Glass Crankbait Rod


It’s taken much trial and error over my fishing career to be able to know what to look for in a crankbait rod. 

I’ve taken that knowledge and experience, and combined it with a weekend’s worth of rod testing at a trophy lake in Northern Louisiana. 

During the two days on the lake I threw various types of crankbaits and painstakingly looked at several rod qualities that make a great crankbait rod. 

During the test I was able to fish different types of lake features like rocks, cypress knees, overhangs, submerged logs, and lily pads in order to test 23 of the top selling crankbait rods. 

Here are some parameters that we used to come up with our guide to choosing the crankbait rod:

  • Feedback: Crankbaits do all sorts of things while being retrieved. They wobble, they bounce off wood, they dive, and best of all, they get inhaled by bass!

    If the rod you are using can communicate these things through its feedback, then catching more fish will be inevitable. 
  • Action: Rod action is crucial when it comes to crankbait fishing. Does it have enough load to sling smaller cranks? Can it keep fish hooked all the way back to the boat?

    Is it slow enough to allow the bass to suck it in before you set the hook? Fishing crankbaits with a rod with the wrong action can severely hurt your chances of catching bass.
  • Line Guides: Crankbaits create line whip like no other lure. The constant movement of line through the guides can often cause the line to wear away at the inside of the guides.

    When selecting a good crankbait rod it’s important to look at the material and size of the guides. 
  • Casting Accuracy and Distance: Great casting control is a plus in bass fishing. A properly placed lure next to a fallen tree can mean an immediate strike.

    Casting distance also plays a part in your success. Add the two together and you’ve got a highly competent crankbait rod.
  • Hookup Percentage: Don’t let the treble hooks fool you. Crankbaits are notorious for losing fish after the hookset.

    Does the rod deliver a strong hookset? Is it too fast? Does the rod keep the bass hooked all the way to the boat? The hookup percentage will tell the story!

Best Crankbait Rod Overall

St. Croix Mojo Bass Glass Casting Rod

St. Croix Mojo Bass Glass Casting Rod


  • Rod Length: 6.10, 7.2, 7.4
  • Rod Material: Fiberglass 
  • Type: Casting 
  • Power/Action: Med/Mod


100% linear S-glass blank for maximum durability and sensitivity 
Can throw square-bill, deep-diving crankbaits, lipless rattle-baits, and chatterbaits 
2 coats of Flex Coat provides extra protection to what is already a durable rod
Aluminum-oxide rings reduce line slap when casting and retrieving crankbaits
5-year warranty


Issues with loose reel seat over time

Why We Chose It

The St. Croix Mojo Bass Glass Casting Rod comes in three sizes: 6.10, 7.2, and 6.4

The rod is a single-piece rod that is made of 100% linear S-glass. 

If the term S-glass sounds familiar you may have heard of it in comparison with E-glass which is of lesser quality. 

St. Croix’s S-glass is very high quality fiberglass that isn’t mixed with any other material so what you’re left with is a 100% fiberglass rod that you would swear has some graphite in it because of how light it is and its sensitivity. 

Now S-glass is good stuff but St. Croix went an extra step in adding two coats of Flex Coat which is an added strengthener that adds durability to the rod without affecting it’s parabolicity. 

A parabolic rod is so important when fishing with crankbaits because you want a rod that bends throughout the entire rod. 

The “Croix” was wonderful to cast and proved to be a great parabolic rod. I was using a 7.2 Med/Mod rod and the lipless crankbait that I was throwing casted a mile! 

I believe it’s because the rod loaded through the entire blank and allowed me to sling-shot the lure.

Let’s move to another important quality that I look for in a great crankbait rod: the guides. 

Now normally guides aren’t that important but when you’re fishing with crankbaits it’s important to have durable, smooth rings because the action of a crankbait often makes the line slap the insides of the guides. 

The St. Croix Mojo Bass Glass Casting Rod has guides that are made of aluminum oxide which translate to being extra strong and smooth.

As far as strength goes, Hey it’s a Croix! I’ve owned these rods all my life and have never been let down when it comes to rod strength. 

The Mojo Bass Glass performed stellar on my bass fishing trip. I was able to catch seven bass on six strikes which is a great hook-up rate. 

My largest bass was a 3.5-pounder which I boat-flipped into the boat (I really should have used a net). 

The rod bent, but didn’t break, and I was able to land the bass without any problems with rod strength. 

I will say that this rod is very comparable to the Dobyns Champion XP Series Rod which was our pick for Best Tournament Grade Rod. So that should tell you something about the St. Croix Mojo Bass Glass Rod. 

One note that I made when using this rod however, was that the reel came slightly loose after about an hour of casting, but that wasn’t a big deal as I quickly was able to tighten it with a quick turn of the wrist.

All-in-all, this rod shined in all categories and allows full control of crankbaits both light and heavy. 

If you’re looking to take your crankbait fishing to the next level, the St. Croix Mojo Bass Glass is the rod to add to your arsenal. It’s a sure fire way to put more bass in the boat!

Best Budget Crankbait Rod

Shimano SLX Glass Crankbait Rod  

Shimano SLX Glass Crankbait Rod


  • Rod Length: 6.10, 7, 7.2, 7.4
  • Rod Material: Fiberglass 
  • Type: Casting 
  • Power/Action: Med/Mod


DIAFLASH blank technology provides extra strength to prevent twisting
Can throw a variety of crankbaits like square-bills, deep-diving, and lipless crankbaits
2 coats of Flex Coat provides extra protection to what is already a durable rod
Titanium-oxide rings reduce line slap when casting and retrieving crankbaits


Made with average fiberglass material

Why We Chose It

The Shimano SLX Glass Crankbait Rod comes in four sizes: 6.10, 7, 7.2, and 6.4

The rod is a single-piece rod that is made of fiberglass. This rod is specifically made for throwing crankbaits so I’ll get right to the features that set this rod apart from the competition. 

First off, when I picked up this rod to fish with during my weekend of testing I noticed a tapelike wrapping in a cross-pattern on the butt of the rod.

This is what’s known as Shimano’s DIAFLASH technology which is carbon tape wrapping. 

This provides added strength to the butt of the rod to prevent twisting while reeling in big fish.

Another “Crank” quality that I noticed when testing the Shimano was the custom-tapered EVA split-grip handle. 

This was a real plus for me as it was very comfortable even after throwing a heavy crankbait for over an hour. 

The EVA handles eliminated most of the vibrations that my crankbait was giving off which was a big plus!

The rod was definitely parabolic as it loaded deep into the rod blank making for long casts and great hook-sets. 

It’s often the case when I’m crankbait fishing that I set the hook two fast and pull the lure out of the bass’ mouth before the fish fully inhales the treble hooks. 

This wasn’t the case with this rod as it was slow enough to give me an extra second after my initial (premature as usual) hook-set. 

The guides were another thing that stood out to me. As you well know, crankbait fishing is rough fishing because of the action that the lure gives off. 

This can ruin rod guides awfully fast. However the Shimao’s guides are made of titanium-oxide which is extra strong and smooth. 

I think it’s for this reason that I was able to make long smooth casts. 

I was able to set the hook and land five bass on four strikes which was a good hook-up percentage especially for crankbait fishing. 

One thing I did notice that was glaring was the type of fiberglass used to make this rod. 

While the carbon wrapping on the butt of the rod was nice, the rest of the rod didn’t have any extra wrapping like most crankbait rods these days.

But hey…you have to give a little to get a little when it comes to a rod under 100 bucks. 

If you want to compare this rod to another brand go ahead and take a look at the Lew’s David Fritts Perfect Palmer Crankbait Rod

That rod was also in the under-100-dollar range at around 80 bucks and exhibited some good qualities as well.

At the end of the day I was thoroughly pleased with this budget rod and I would recommend it for those who are just starting to collect a crankbait specific rod collection. This is a true soldier for the price! 

Best Tournament-Grade Crankbait Rod

13 Fishing Envy lll Crankbait Rod 

13 Fishing Envy lll Crankbait Rod


  • Rod Length: 7.1, 7.4, 7.9
  • Rod Material: Fiberglass
  • Type: Casting 
  • Power/Action: Heavy/Moderate


Japanese 30-Ton Toray T-Glass blank for ripping cranks through heavy cover
5A Portuguese split-grip handle for superior comfort
Evolve Soft Touch Seamless Reel Seat allows sensitivity to transfer from the rod to the reel
Lifetime warranty 


Available only in split-grip 

Why We Chose It

The 13 Fishing Envy lll Crankbait Rod comes in three sizes: 7.1, 7.4, 7.9.

The rod is a single-piece rod that is made of Japanese 30-Ton Toray T-Glass blank.

Let’s not gloss over the material used to make this blank. 

When you’re selecting a crankbait rod you need a rod that you’re going to have full confidence in. Crankbait fishing is greuling! 

Ripping treble hooks through wood, rocks, and weeds can put stress on a rod like no other lures will. When I tried this rod out I was highly impressed with the strength and backbone. 

I pushed this rod to the limit while trying it out and it held up to the punishment. Plus 13 Fishing puts their money where their mouth is by slapping a lifetime warranty on this rod.

Moving on to the handle. The folks at 13 Fishing have always blazed their own trail when it comes to doing things a little different. 

What they’ve done is completely customized the handle. They call it the Evolve Soft Touch seamless reel seat but beyond the fancy labeling is what I believe is the most sensitive reel seat on the market. Hear me out. 

When you’re throwing cranks you want to feel that bait wobbling through the water. You want to feel it when it comes in contact with structure. 

This is called feedback. Somehow 13 Fishing has created a seat that allows the sensitivity of the 30-ton blank to be transferred up through the reel which made a huge difference. 

I used this rod for 3 hours and felt a total of seven fish hit and I was able to put seven fish in the boat. That’s a hookup percentage of 100%. 

I think this is the best feature of this rod which is not often the case for crankbait rods. 

As far as casting goes, I was surprised by how accurate it was. I was able to place the crankbait in tight spots like a 9-inch opening in a wooden bulkhead I was casting to. 

There was a board missing and I took a shot and tried to get the Rapala DT Bluegill Crank through the opening. The tip loaded beautifully and my cast went through the opening. 

As far as balance, the rod is made for crankbaits being that it is butt heavy. This is great to offset the resistance that crankbaits make.

Another thing that stood out to me was the cork handle. Trust me, 5A Japanese cork makes a difference. The rod just plain ole’ felt good to hold. 

One thing to note about the handle, it only comes in a split grip so if you’re one who likes full handles, you’re out of luck. 

This rod really is a great rod to use with crankbaits and it even beat out one of my favorites – The Dobyns XP Series Rod which is a tall task because I love Dobyns rods especially when it comes to throwing cranks!

If you’re looking for a versatile crankbait rod that can throw a wide variety of cranks, the 13 Fishing Envy lll Crankbait Rod is one of the best rods I have ever used when throwing cranks.

Get it and don’t look back!

Best Rod for Deep Diving Crankbaits

13 Fishing Omen Black Crankbait Rod 

13 Fishing Omen Black Crankbait Rod


  • Rod Length: 7.11
  • Rod Material: Graphite
  • Type: Casting 
  • Power/Action: Med-Heavy/Mod


36-ton Poly Vector Graphite blank for upper shelf sensitivity 
Can throw square-bill, deep-diving crankbaits, lipless rattle-baits, and chatterbaits 
Evolve Soft Touch Seamless Reel Seat allows sensitivity to transfer from the rod to the reel
Zirconia guide inserts for smooth casts 
Lifetime warranty


Only available in split-grip

Why We Chose It

The 13 Fishing Omen Black Crankbait Rod is a 7.11-foot rod.

The rod is a single-piece rod made of 36-ton Poly Vector Graphite which means the fibers are interwoven which creates a tighter rod. 

The overall result is a more sensitive rod. I have to say that of all the rods I tried out, this one was the most sensitive. 

However, it is a graphite rod which means it can’t take the knocks like a glass rod can. Now, it’s important not to confuse brittle with strength. 

While the 13 Fishing Omen Black is less durable, it is every bit as strong! Plus they back it with a lifetime warranty for good measure. 

I used a Sixth Sense Crush 300DD deep diver and was pleasantly surprised at how much backbone it had while still remaining parabolic. 

I was able to catch three bass on two bites ripping this lure deep through a 30-foot channel near a rock dam. 

As I said before, the sensitivity is off the charts! There were times that I felt the crank tapping on rocks that were on the bottom! 

Moving on to the grip and handle. From the butt of the rod to the reel seat, this rod just plain ole’ felt good in my hand and that’s really important when working deep diving crankbaits. 

As if the rod sensitivity wasn’t enough, the reel seat is built to transfer sensitivity through the blank and into the reel which is great for guys like me who have three fingers wrapped around my reel.  

Being a deep-diving crankbait rod I found it to be a positive that the rod was butt heavy because it was able to balance better with a hard charging crank ripping through the water. 

Another thing that stood out to me was the cork handle. The 5A Japanese cork was incredibly comfortable, and that’s important for wrestling with deep divers. 

Make a note that this rod isn’t available in a full cork handle but only a split-grip. For those who like full handles, you may have to look at another brand. 

This rod is comparable to the Dobyns XP Series Rod however, the Omen Black Rod is 7.11 feet long and more suitable for deep diving crankbaits. Other than the length, the quality seems to be interchangeable. 

If you’re looking for a super specialized rod for deep diving crankbaits and hard-charging square-bills, you need to take a look at the 13 Fishing Omen Black Crankbait Rod

YourBassGuy.com Writer and Content Creator Wes Littlefield tested a beginner-friendly deep crankbait rod in the YouTube video above.

Best Spinning Crankbait Rod

St. Croix Victory Spinning Rod

St. Croix Victory Spinning Rod


  • Rod Length: 7.10
  • Rod Material: Carbon Fiber
  • Type: Spinning
  • Power/Action: Med/Fast


Advanced SCIII+ blank with super-high-modulus for maximum backbone for casting crankbaits
Fortified Resin System adds maximum power and strength for catching big fish
Taper Enhancement Technology adds extra rod material to breaking points for near unbreakable strength 
Fuji Concept “O” guides with deep-press inserts provide smooth casts
15-year warranty 


Only single-foot guides on the top half of the pole as opposed to double-foot guides on the bottom. 

Why We Chose It

The St. Croix Victory Spinning Rod  is a 7.10-foot crankbait rod.

The rod is made of SCIIl Carbon Fiber blanks which makes the rod super strong but St. Croix has gone further by coating the rod with something called Fortified Resin which increases the rod strength even more. 

My old St. Croix rods are made of SCII Mid-modulus graphite and I consider them very strong  However, the new Victory line of rods are made with SClll Carbon Fiber which is even stronger. 

Since this is a spinning rod I use it to throw crankbaits for redfish as well as my bass rod so I can attest to its durability and strength. 

This rod is not only strong but it’s very light. 

It seems as if St. Croix has figured out a way to pack backbone into a slim rod because this rod weighs 4.3 oz. which goes a long way when throwing heavy cranks all day!

It had a really good hook-up percentage as well as I was able to land five out of six bass with the largest being 4 four pounds. 

It’s really important for a rod that I use for crankbaits to be parabolic, meaning it bends all the way through which makes for longer casts and lets the rod fight the big fish when the time comes. 

While this rod checks all of the boxes when it comes to crankbaits, you’re going to have to pay for it as this one will cost you around 300 bucks. 

However, the company even puts their money where their mouth is with an industry leading 15-year warranty! 

If you’re one who likes to use a spinning rod to throw crankbaits, the St. Croix Victory Spinning Rod is a really strong addition to your crankbait fishing arsenal. 

Best Crankbait Rod and Reel Combo

Daiwa Tatula 100/Qualifier 2 

Daiwa Tatula 100/Qualifier 2


  • Rod Length: 7’
  • Rod Material: Graphie
  • Type: Casting 
  • Power/Action: Med/Mod


RT3 Graphite Blank provides crankbait level strength and sensitivity 
Powerwall construction adds extra coating on top of original blank
Aluminum-oxide rings reduce line slap when casting and retrieving crankbaits
8-bearing system reel for smooth casts and retrieves 
T-Wing System allows line to release slower and smoother because of wider spool  


Reell is made of aluminum and not carbon like most high-end rods 

Why We Chose It

The Daiwa Tatula 100/Qualifier 2 combo comes with a 7-foot graphite rod and Daiwa Tatula 100 Baitcasting Reel.

The rod is a single-piece rod that is made Bass Pro Shops patented RT3 Graphite Blank (Equivalent to 30-ton)

Like most high-end rods this rod is coated with a strengthening epoxy the Bass Pro calls Powerwall.  

The reel is where the value is I believe. I’ve owned Daiwa Tatulas and can honestly say that they rank right there below my Shimano Curado reel. (Not the new version, the older version, ya know…when they were the best reels on the market!)

I’ll run through a few things that I liked about the reel.

When using a baitcasting reel I like a smaller reel. The reason being is that I can wrap most of my hand around it. 

I feel it gives me more leverage and control especially with crankbaits. The Tatula is the smallest reel that I used on my trip and it felt great in my hands. 

Another thing that I like about the reel is the T-Wing System which is simply a wider spool. This allows the unraveling to encounter less back and forth than normal sized spools.

On my trip I was able to connect with three fish on two strikes and land those two fish. This combo is a really nice pair! 

The reel feels like it was made for the rod. My casts were long and accurate. Not to mention smooth. 

I really think Daiwa is on to something with their T-Wing System and I hope they continue and even expand the reels that feature it. 

Moving back to the rod and staying with the casts, I always monitor the guides on a rod when throwing crankbaits because of the amount of line-slap that is involved. 

This rod has Aluminum-oxide guides which make a big difference in the world of durability. The line flowed smoothly through without much abrasion from the guides.

The only con to this combo is that the reel is made of an aluminum frame instead of carbon like a lot of high-end reels, but I’ve had aluminum frames last quite a while so it’s not a deal-breaker. 

If you’re looking to buy a crankbait rod and reel, I say get it all over with in one fell swoop by taking home this wonderfully paired combo. 

I’d rank it right up there with the other tournament-grade crankbait rods at a price-point that’s not to0 bad when it comes to crankbait rods. 

How to Choose the Best Crankbait Rod

St Croix Victory fishing rod


Choosing a crankbait rod that is strong and is parabolic is very important when trying to settle on a crankbait rod. 

While most anglers like fiberglass rods because they are stronger, some like the sensitivity of graphite. 


The majority of crankbait rods are made of fiberglass. The reason being is that crankbait rods are put through the ringer when it comes to physical action. 

From casting to reeling in, crankbaits are very physical baits that need to be ripped through structure sometimes. 

Even when the lure doesn’t come across structure, just reeling it through the water can put stress on a rod. 


Graphite rods make up around 30% of all crankbait rods simply because they can’t beat fiberglass when it comes to strength. 

However, there are some benefits to using a graphite rod. The main one is feedback. When reeling in a crankbait it’s nice to be able to know what the lure is doing whether it be bouncing off of rocks on the bottom or reflecting of submerged wood. 

Graphite rods allow the angler to feel what the crankbait is doing. Keep in mind however that you will giving up strength to get sensitivity in return 


cranbait lure on a rod

While guides on a fishing rod don’t often rank high on the list of important qualities, they are paramount to choosing a great crankbait rod. 

Smooth, quality guides will allow the line to flow through when making long bomb casts with crankbaits. Also crankbaits are very active on the retrieve. 

This makes the line come in contact with the guides more than other lures. It’s very important to check out what the guides are made of when selecting a crankbait rod. 

Look for guides made of aluminum-oxide, zirconia, or titanium-oxide, when choosing a rod to throw crankbaits. 

Final Thoughts

My trip to the private trophy pond in North Louisiana certainly was a learning experience.

I was able to take my time and dissect several rods to come up with what I think are the best crankbait rods on the market. 

So let’s review our top pick!

For the best crankbait rod overall, I choose the St. Croix Mojo Bass Glass Casting Rod. It topped the list for strength, durability, parabolicity, and quality guides. 

While the St. Croix won overall, you really can’t go wrong with all the rods mentioned in this best crankbait rod guide. 

Give them a try and tell us what you think! We’d love to hear from you!

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