How to Choose a Crankbait Rod (Squarebill Edition)

You can increase your catch ratio by choosing the right crankbait rod. We fished countless hours to bring you this info on what kind of rod you need, why, and how to pick one. We’ll start with how to choose. 

Start with The Action of The Crankbait

 
Squarebill crankbaits are the workhorses of the lure world. To use them well, you must bang them on rocks, stumps, and logs. You must run them through grass and jerk them free. You bump them on docks and ledges. Every one of these requires some feel. 
 
If you feel it every time you hit structure or grass, you can react. Reacting to those bumps is one of the secrets of catching big bass on crankbaits. Jerking the bait out of grass or pausing it after hitting a rock will draw strikes from the fish. So, you need a rod that lets you feel every bump and pull.
 

Think About the Action of The Fish

 
Bass love to shake it. They sit around telling fish stories about that set of treble hooks they shook last week. They’d repeat the stories for years, but they don’t need to. Bass shake treble hooks all the time.  They get barely hooked, much of the time. When attacking a crankbait, the hook rarely grabs them right in the mouth like you want. They might have one hook in the skin outside their lip and one awkwardly stuck elsewhere on the jaw. When that happens, neither hook can hold up to much stress.
 
Bass jumping with crankbait in mouth trying to shake it

When bass jump and headshake to lose a lure, you want to have the right rod and line to keep the fish on the hook. Pic via Bass Fishing Spain on Instagram

 

So, you need to reduce the amount of stress your rod puts on the crankbait hooks when the fish jumps.

 
How do you do that? Whether in the garage with your existing rods or in the aisle of the store, do a test. With a fast action graphite rod, try pulling the tip down and letting it go. It is going to snap back hard and then go rigid. That will not work for a crankbait rod. Now, try that same thing with a medium action fiberglass rod of the same length. See the difference? That slower, wobbly whip back to straight provides a much smoother force on your fishing line. That makes it much better for crankbaits and most hard baits with 6-9 hooks on them.
 

Fiberglass Rod For Action, Graphite Rod For Feel

 
Years ago, you could only buy one or the other. Technology has improved, and you can get a composite fiberglass / graphite rod that works much better. These rods combine the best of both worlds to make the perfect rod for squarebill crankbaits. You get the moderate, parabolic action you need to get a good hook set, keep the hook in the fish, and reduce snags. You get the feel that helps you detect when you’ve hit structure or grass. And these days you can get a nice composite crankbait rod without breaking the bank. 
 
 
 
 
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Rod choice for squarebill crankbaits

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