How To Fish Crankbaits

How To Fish Crankbaits

Greetings fellow fishing enthusiasts! In this article, I will be sharing some of my top tips and techniques for successful crankbait fishing. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a beginner, mastering the art of fishing with crankbaits can be a game-changer for catching more fish. So, let’s get started!

Key Takeaways:

  • Learn the different types of crankbaits and select the right one for your fishing needs
  • Properly set up your fishing tackle for effective crankbait fishing
  • Experiment with different retrieving techniques to find what works best for you
  • Control the depth of your crankbait run to target fish at different levels in the water column
  • Target structure such as rocks, trees, and weed beds for optimal results
  • Adjust your techniques based on water conditions to maximize your chances of success
  • Pay attention to details like lure color, rattles, and hooks to fine-tune your presentation

Choosing the Right Crankbait

When it comes to choosing the right crankbait for your fishing needs, there are a few things to consider. First, you need to think about the depth you will be fishing at. Different types of crankbaits are designed to run at different depths, so make sure to select the appropriate one for your fishing spot.

You should also consider the size and shape of the crankbait. Generally, larger crankbaits are better suited for larger fish, while smaller crankbaits work better for smaller fish. The shape of the crankbait will also affect its action in the water, so choose one that mimics the type of prey your target fish feeds on.

Tips for using crankbaits:

  1. Experiment with different colors. Some days, fish may be more attracted to certain colors than others. It’s always a good idea to have a variety of colors on hand to try out.
  2. Use rattling crankbaits in murky water. The sound can help attract fish that may not be able to see the lure clearly.
  3. Consider the hooks on your crankbait. Make sure they are sharp and appropriate for the size of fish you are targeting. You can also add or remove hooks to change the action of the crankbait.

With these tips in mind, you’ll be able to choose the right crankbait for your fishing needs and start reeling in those fish in no time!

Setting Up Your Tackle

Before hitting the water with your crankbait, it’s important to make sure you have the right tackle set up. Choosing the proper rod, reel, and line will make a significant difference in your ability to fish effectively and efficiently.

First, let’s talk about the rod. When selecting a rod for crankbait fishing, I recommend choosing one with a medium-heavy power and moderate action. This will provide the necessary backbone to set the hook and control the fish while still allowing for a bit of flexibility to work the crankbait properly.

The reel is also an important factor to consider. An ideal reel would have a high gear ratio to allow for a fast retrieve, which is often necessary when fishing with crankbaits. A baitcasting reel is a popular choice among anglers for crankbait fishing, as it provides better control and accuracy when casting.

Finally, let’s discuss line. When it comes to crankbait fishing, the best line to use is usually monofilament in the 10-17 pound test range, depending on the size of the crankbait being used. Fluorocarbon can also be a good choice, as it is less visible to fish and has a higher sensitivity to detect bites. However, it is also more expensive than monofilament.

Overall, choosing the right rod, reel, and line will allow you to effectively fish with crankbaits and increase your chances of landing a catch.

Retrieving Techniques

One of the most important aspects of fishing with crankbaits is the retrieval technique. There are several different strategies you can use to entice fish to strike your lure.

The Steady Retrieve

The steady retrieve is one of the most basic and effective techniques for fishing with crankbaits. Simply cast your lure out and reel it in at a constant speed. This technique works well when fishing in open water or when targeting fish that are actively feeding.

The Stop-and-Go Retrieve

The stop-and-go retrieve involves reeling in your lure for a few seconds, then pausing for a moment before repeating the process. This technique can be effective when fishing over structure or when trying to mimic the movements of a wounded baitfish.

The Erratic Retrieve

The erratic retrieve involves reeling in your lure with an uneven, jerky motion. This technique can be effective when fishing for aggressive fish that are looking for a more realistic prey item, or when trying to trigger a reaction strike.

Experiment with these different retrieving techniques to determine which one works best for the conditions you’re fishing in, and remember to vary your retrieve speed to keep your lure at the right depth.

Depth Control

Controlling the depth at which your crankbait runs is essential to catching more fish. Depending on the water conditions and the behavior of the fish, you may need to adjust the depth at which your bait is presented.

One way to control the depth of your crankbait is to adjust your retrieve speed. A slower retrieve will allow the bait to run deeper, while a faster retrieve will keep it closer to the surface. It’s important to experiment with different speeds to find the sweet spot for the fish you’re targeting.

Another way to control depth is to use different types of crankbaits for different depths. Crankbaits with a larger lip will dive deeper, while those with a smaller lip will stay closer to the surface.

Mastering Depth Control

Learning to control the depth of your crankbait takes practice. Start by experimenting with different retrieve speeds and types of crankbaits. Pay attention to how the fish are behaving and adjust your presentation accordingly.

As you become more experienced, you can use a depth finder or fish finder to help you locate fish at different depths. This can be especially helpful when fishing in deeper water.

Remember, the key to effective crankbait fishing is to stay patient, pay attention to the details, and be willing to adapt to changing water conditions.

Targeting Structure

When it comes to fishing with crankbaits, targeting structure is crucial for success. Rocks, trees, weed beds, and other underwater structures are popular areas where fish like to gather. When you can effectively work these areas, you increase your chances of a bite.

One technique I use is to cast my crankbait past the structure and retrieve it towards it. This allows the lure to mimic a baitfish moving naturally towards the structure. Once the lure gets close to the structure, I pause my retrieve and let the crankbait float near it for a few seconds before resuming my retrieval.

Another effective way to target structure is to use a stop-and-go retrieve. This involves reeling in your crankbait a few cranks, then pausing it for a few seconds. This creates an erratic movement that can entice a fish to strike.

It’s also important to adjust your crankbait’s running depth based on the structure you are targeting. For example, if you are fishing a rocky area, you may want to use a deeper diving crankbait to avoid getting snagged.

Adapting to Water Conditions

When it comes to crankbait fishing, it’s important to pay attention to the water conditions in order to adjust your techniques for the best results. Here are some tips for adapting to different water conditions:

Water Temperature

During warmer months, fish tend to be more active and willing to chase after fast-moving lures. In colder water, however, fish are more lethargic and require a slower presentation. When the water is warm, try using a fast retrieve with a speedy crankbait to cover more ground. In colder water, slow down your retrieve and use a more subtle crankbait to entice bites from sluggish fish.

Water Clarity

Water clarity can also impact your crankbait fishing success. In clear water, fish are able to see your lure more easily, and may be spooked by a large, bright crankbait. Try downsizing your lure and using more natural colors to blend in with the surroundings. In murky water, use a brightly colored crankbait with a lot of action to create a vibration and attract fish.

Current Conditions

The strength and direction of the current can greatly affect your crankbait fishing techniques. When fishing in a strong current, use a heavier crankbait to get down to the desired depth and maintain control of your lure. Conversely, in slow-moving water, using a lighter crankbait can help create a more natural presentation. It’s also important to adjust your retrieve speed to match the current conditions.

By paying attention to water conditions and adapting your techniques accordingly, you can increase your chances of success when fishing with crankbaits.

Fine-Tuning Your Presentation

When it comes to crankbait fishing, the details matter. Fine-tuning your presentation can make a big difference in how many fish you catch. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  1. Color: The color of your crankbait can be critical in determining whether or not a fish will strike. Match the color of your lure to the color of the water and the type of forage in the area. Use bright colors on cloudy days and darker colors on sunny days.
  2. Rattles: Many crankbaits come with built-in rattles. These can be especially effective in murky water or when fish are feeding aggressively. Experiment with different types of rattles to find what works best in your area.
  3. Hooks: The hooks on your crankbait should be sharp and properly sized for the lure. Consider upgrading to stronger, sharper hooks if you are missing strikes or losing fish.

Take the time to experiment with different combinations of color, rattles, and hooks until you find what works best in your fishing area. Remember, even small adjustments can make a big difference in your success when fishing with crankbaits.


Mastering the art of fishing with crankbaits can greatly increase your chances of catching more fish. By choosing the right crankbait, setting up your tackle correctly, and using the proper retrieving techniques, you can effectively target fish in different depths and structures.

Remember to adapt your techniques to the water conditions and fine-tune your presentation to make the most out of your crankbait fishing experience. With practice and patience, you can become a skilled crankbait angler and enjoy a rewarding day on the water.


Q: What is crankbait fishing?

A: Crankbait fishing is a technique that involves using a specific type of fishing lure called a crankbait to attract and catch fish.

Q: What types of crankbaits are available?

A: There are various types of crankbaits available, including shallow diving crankbaits, deep diving crankbaits, and lipless crankbaits.

Q: How do I choose the right crankbait?

A: When choosing a crankbait, consider factors such as the desired depth of fishing, the size of the crankbait, and the color and pattern that will best imitate the fish’s prey in your fishing area.

Q: How do I set up my tackle for crankbait fishing?

A: To set up your tackle for crankbait fishing, you’ll need a medium to medium-heavy rod, a baitcasting reel, and a monofilament or fluorocarbon fishing line with the appropriate pound test for the fish species you’re targeting.

Q: What are some retrieving techniques for crankbait fishing?

A: Some common retrieving techniques for crankbait fishing include the steady retrieve, where you reel in the crankbait at a constant speed, the stop-and-go retrieve, where you pause the retrieve periodically, and the erratic retrieve, where you vary the speed and direction of your retrieve.

Q: How do I control the depth of my crankbait?

A: You can control the depth of your crankbait by adjusting your retrieve speed. A faster retrieve will cause the crankbait to run shallower, while a slower retrieve will allow it to dive deeper.

Q: What should I target when fishing with crankbaits?

A: When fishing with crankbaits, it is important to target structure such as rocks, trees, and weed beds, as these areas provide hiding places and ambush points for fish.

Q: How do I adapt my crankbait fishing techniques to different water conditions?

A: To adapt to different water conditions, consider factors such as water temperature, clarity, and current. For example, in colder water, you may need to slow down your retrieve, while in muddy water, you may need to use crankbaits with brighter colors or rattles to attract fish.

Q: How can I fine-tune my crankbait presentation?

A: To fine-tune your crankbait presentation, pay attention to details such as lure color, rattles, and hooks. Experiment with different combinations to see what attracts fish in your fishing area.

Q: What are the key takeaways from this article on crankbait fishing?

A: The key takeaways from this article are to choose the right crankbait for your fishing needs, properly set up your tackle, practice different retrieving techniques, control the depth of your crankbait, target structure, adapt to water conditions, and pay attention to details to improve your crankbait fishing success.

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