BlogApril 2019

How to Fish With Crankbait Lures for Bass

How to Fish With Crankbait Lures for Bass

By Debbie Hanson

Apr 30, 2019

Learn how to fish with crankbait lures. Select best crankbaits based on depth of water, type of line to use with crankbaits, best gear for crankbait fishing

Are you ready to learn how to fish with crankbaits for bass? You might be searching online for "how to fish with crankbait" since spring and summer are two prime seasons for crankbait fishing.

Crankbaits can be one of the most effective types of fishing lures to use because they allow you to cover a large area of water in short amount of time. In other words, they are great lures to use when you want to "pattern" bass or determine where the fish are holding during a given time period. Now is a great time to renew your fishing license, and discover the fun of fishing with crankbaits.

What are Crankbaits?

Crankbaits are fishing lures that are designed to mimic different types of baitfish and have a plastic lip or bill on the front that enables the lure to run at a specified depth. When learning how to fish using crankbaits, you should familiarize yourself with the three basic types of crankbaits.

  • Shallow-running crankbaits. These crankbaits have square plastic bills and run at depths of about 5-feet or less.
  • Medium-running crankbaits. Run at depths of 8- to 12-feet and have round plastic bills.
  • Deep-diving crankbaits. Crankbaits that have long, round plastic bills and run at depths of 12-feet or more.

Since many waterways have various depths and different types of structure, it's a good idea to keep a variety of crankbaits in your tackle box that run at multiple depth ranges.

Steps to Crankbait Fishing

Just as when selecting other types of fishing bait, you should use a crankbait that reaches the same depth as a natural baitfish would and that looks like the type of baitfish found in that particular habitat. Learning how to fish with crankbait lures isn't hard, it simply requires you to gather some information about where you intend to fish.

  1. Determine the depth of the water. Once you know the approximate depth, you can select a crankbait that will reach the right portion of the water column.
  2. Pay close attention to the type of baitfish that you see in the lake, reservoir, river, or pond where you want to fish. Are there large populations of shad? Or, do you see wild shiners swimming around the vegetation? Select a crankbait that most resembles the type of baitfish you notice.
  3. Choose the best type of fishing line to use with your selected crankbaits. Monofilament line is best when using shallow-diving crankbaits since it floats. Fluorocarbon fishing line is more apropriate when fishing deeper areas since fluorocarbon line sinks.
  4. Make sure you have a rod and reel that are suitable for crankbait fishing. A 7-foot medium heavy rod, paired with a reel that has a slower gear ratio (around 5:1). The slower gear ratio will prevent you from reeling too fast, and help you get your crankbaits down to the required depth.

These are just a few basic guidelines that can help you learn how to fish with crankbait lures. Check out the freshwater fishing lures section to learn about other types of freshwater lures, like jigs or spoons.

Debbie Hanson
Debbie Hanson
Debbie Hanson is an award-winning outdoor writer, women’s sport fishing advocate, IGFA world record holder, and freshwater guide living in Southwest Florida. Hanson’s written work has appeared in publications such as Florida Game & Fish Magazine, BoatUS Magazine, and USA Today Hunt & Fish. To learn more about her work, visit or follow her on Instagram @shefishes2.