Fishing the Crankbait: Best Baitcasting Reel Choice

Few serious bass anglers will disagree on the effectiveness of the plastic worm when fishing, but tournament anglers know that the worm does not cover enough water quickly. This can mean the difference between a rich payday and another day without groceries.

Instead, most anglers turn to crankbaits and other lures that can cover vast amounts of water. Crankbaits vary in size, color and most importantly, depth.

Crankbaits are designed to swim through the water column at approximate depths. A shallow bait will run up to three feet, while deep crankbaits will reach up to 25 feet with the right equipment.

It is this right equipment that is necessary for the crankbait angler, and the best baitcasting reel is the one that is matched to the crankbait needs. This article will take a look at the three types of reels designed specifically for fishing crankbaits.

Rod, Baitcasting Reel And Crankbait


There are stories of anglers going up to 40 feet deep to catch bass in tournaments, and this is an extreme example. It does, however, shed some light on the necessity of fishing deep depths at times, and the necessary reels to reach these depths.

Deep cranking requires a long cast, a long rod and a reel that has a slow, steady retrieve ratio. In the olden days of bass fishing, this meant reels with a 3.8:1 ratio, but today’s advanced lines, reels, rods and tackle mean the more standard retrieve of 5.0:1 or 5.1:1 ratios work perfectly well.

The Abu Garcia line is an excellent choice that meets the needs of the long cast and low retrieve ratio necessary for deep running crankbaits. Match the line and rod, and anglers will find this to be one of the best baitcasting reel choices on the market.


Deeply running crankbaits need large lips on the tip of the lure to reach down into the water column, but when the water and fish want an ultra fast presentation, a lipless crankbait is the way to go.

Bass anglers will tell you that over 90 percent of the time, a slow presentation is key to catching bass. As an ambush predator, bass are not going to expend lots of energy in pursuit of prey. They want to move in fast, short bursts making the slow presentation ideal. This triggers the instinctive reaction in the bass to attack, and this presentation has the added benefit of covering lots of water in a very short time. For the tournament angler, this is vital to success when fishing.

The other 10 percent of the time calls for a bait that is burning through the water with exceptional speed. In bass lingo, this is called “rippin’,” and it is a very specific technique that requires specialized reels for the job.

Today’s modern baitcasting reels are more than adequate for the job. Reels with retrieve ratios of seven or eight to one are common, and the Shimano Curado has a 7.0:1 ratio that will zip a lipless crankbait across the water with little to no effort.


Deep cranking and rippin’ are very specialized fishing techniques that many bass anglers will rarely have need for. Instead, most will use crankbaits that will generally stay within depths of no more than 10 feet. The best baitcasting reel choice will be the one that the angler will find to meet their specific needs in price, design and feel.

The Caius of Shimano, the Black Max of Abu Garcia and the Code of Quantum are some of the best baitcasting reel choices available commercially.

Check out the video below on crankbaits:

Those who are interested in learning more about fishing crankbaits can read up on it here.

What these guys have to say about these reels.

Additional sites on choosing the best baitcasting reel for the job.