8 Best Crankbait Rods For 2021: Round Bill, Square Bill & Lipless

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By Arctic Boomer/ shutterstock

Crankbait rods are usually used for bass fishing because, as the name suggests, they are designed to cast crankbaits. These imitate the movement of the small fish that bass eat.

The rods are mostly medium power because bass fish are not too heavy. On the other hand, their action ranges between moderate to fast, which gives you the right amount of sensitivity. This ensures you only feel movement after the fish has swallowed the lure.  

There are several other features to look for so we have compiled a list of the best crankbait rods for you to pick the one that suits your fishing needs. Take a look!

Review of the 8 Best Crankbait Rods

1. Best Overall Crankbait Rod: Dobyns Rods 684CB

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The 684CB is part of Dobyns Rods’ champion series and it combines sensitivity, strength, weight & balance to become our best overall crankbait fishing rod.

For sensitivity, the rod is built using proprietary high-modulus graphite blanks that transfer vibrations quickly to your hand.

Tangle-free Kigan guides are spaced evenly along the rod’s length and they have sic-inserts for heat dissipation. These guides are wrapped in Kevlar for reinforcement and high performance.

The rod is fitted with a lightweight Fuji graphite reel seat and overall, this helps to lower its weight to 2.4 oz. As a result, you get very little fatigue when holding the unit during long fishing days. This also balances its weight for easy holding.

More features are a durable AA-grade cork handle that gives you a good grip, an 8–14 lb. line rating, and 1/4–3/4 oz. lure weight. The only issue is that the rod is relatively short, which makes it unsuitable for deep-diving crankbaits.


  • Sensitive high-modulus graphite blanks
  • Tangle-free Kigan guides with sic inserts
  • Kevlar wrapping for reinforcement
  • Durable and grippy AA-grade cork handle
  • Lightweight Fuji graphite reel seat


  • Not the best for deep-diving crankbaits

2. Best Budget Crankbait Rod: Shimano CDCC72M

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This crankbait rod is very reasonably priced for the features it offers. For instance, it measures 7’2”, which makes it suitable for use with deep-diving crankbaits.

That said, the rod is actually a casting rod, which means it has a trigger for firm securing using your index finger.

It has tournament-grade quality, in which the blanks are built using hybrid high-modulus UD carbon with Nano resin. This gives you the perfect blend of strength, responsiveness, reliability, and performance.

You also get high-quality Fuji components that include a soft-touch rubberized reel seat and tangle-free stainless-steel guides with Alconite rings to minimize friction. However, the unit is quite heavy, which can be uncomfortable to use during long fishing days.


  • Economical
  • Ideal for deep-diving crankbaits
  • Index finger trigger for firm securing
  • Hybrid high-modulus UD carbon with Nano resin blanks
  • High-quality Fuji components


  • Quite heavy

3. Best Spinning Rod for Crankbaits: KastKing Speed Demon Pro

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If you prefer using spinning rods for crankbait fishing, we highly recommend KastKing’s Speed Demon Pro. It is built using elite carbon blanks with Nano resin technology, which form a strong and durable multi-layered structure to support its long 7’3” length.

This is coupled with high-quality Fuji components to give you a premium rod. These include 11 stainless-steel guides (10 + tip) with Alconite rings for smooth casting/reeling and a soft-touch rubberized reel seat.

The main handle and fighting butt are also high-quality parts because they are WINN golf-style grips. However, the handle is very short and this might affect your comfort when fighting fish. On the bright side, the unit is very affordable.


  • Sturdy carbon blanks with Nano resin technology
  • Long rod; ideal for deep-diving crankbaits
  • High-quality Fuji guides and rubber reel seat
  • Affordable


  • Short handle

4. Best Crankbait Rod for Deep-Diving Crankbaits: Dobyns Rods 736CB

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Long rods are better suited for deep casting when you are far from shore and this piece measures 7’3” in length, making it the ideal choice.

Additionally, it has a heavy power, which makes it stiff because, other than bass, a strong heavy fish might bite the lure deep in the lake. The rod is also a fast action type, which raises sensitivity so that you can feel any bite from down there.

To match this, the rod is designed to be used with strong 10–25 lb. test lines, which can withstand heavy fish without snapping. It is also built to handle heavy 3/8 to 1-1/2 oz. lures.

Other features include a high-quality AA-grade cork grip handle, a trigger for firm securing using your index finger, tangle-free Kevlar-wrapped Fuji guides with Alconite inserts, a lightweight graphite reel seat, and durable fiberglass construction.

Overall, these features make it one of the best fiberglass crankbait rods. The only problem is that the rod is quite expensive.


  • Long rod
  • Stiff and sensitive
  • Rated for 10–25 lb. line and 3/8 to 1-1/2 oz. lures
  • High-quality AA-grade cork grip handle
  • Tangle-free Fuji guides with Alconite inserts


  • Quite expensive

5. Best Compact Crankbait Rod: Dobyns Rods Fury Series

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Measuring only 6’6” long, this rod from Dobyns Rods is the shortest piece, which makes it very easy to transport. It is also the perfect size for short anglers.

That said, the unit is fully loaded with comfort and durable features, which enhance your fishing experience. For comfort, you get a premium AA-grade cork handle with a Hypalon butt, plus a soft-rubber Fuji reel seat. These features will make you want to fish the whole day.

As for durability, the rod features multiple Kevlar-wrapped guides for high performance. Additionally, it is built using high-modulus graphite blanks, which enhance sensitivity and strength. This enables you to feel even the smallest bites for quick hook setting.

However, the rod is not ideal for deep-diving crankbaits because of its length.

More Detailed: Click here


  • Easily portable
  • Premium AA-grade cork handle
  • Soft-rubber Fuji reel seat
  • Multiple Kevlar-wrapped guides
  • Made using high-modulus graphite blanks


  • Not ideal for deep-diving crankbaits

6. Best Composite Crankbait Rod: Lew’s LDFP66M

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Lew’s LDFP66M is very unique because it has a premium 42-million modulus composite graphite/fiberglass structure. This enables it to hit the middle ground between strength and flexibility.

Other than that, the unit has multiple stainless-steel guides along its length and they have aluminum oxide inserts for smooth & easy casting.

You also get a lightweight graphite reel seat that is cushioned and held in place by stainless steel hoods. Between the main grip and reel seat is a trigger that gives a good anchor point for securing the rod to your hand using your index finger.

More features include a premium cork handle that is very grippy and a durable EVA end cap. The product is also very affordable but its reel seat is not very durable because graphite degrades faster than rubber.


  • Strong and flexible composite construction
  • Smooth aluminum oxide inserts
  • Index finger trigger
  • Premium cork handle
  • Affordable


  • The reel seat is not very durable

7. Multi-Tapered Crankbait Rod: G. Loomis E6X

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The G. Loomis E6X is characterized by multiple tapers along its length, which forms a unique design with more material on the breakpoints and less everywhere else. This makes it very durable with good performance.

Additionally, the piece is made using graphite. This enhances sensitivity while reducing its weight for comfortable use. It also has a soft flex for proper crankbait fishing.

Fore & rear cork handles give you a good hold of the rod for non-slip use and this is boosted by an index finger trigger for securing it to your hand.

There are two power options to pick from (medium & medium-heavy) but both have a moderate-fast action and are 7-ft long, which is ideal for crankbait fishing. The latter is stronger because it has a 3/8–1 oz. lure weight & 10–20 lb. line rating as compared to 1/4–5/8 & 8–14 lb. respectively.

The only problem is that the rod is expensive.


  • Durable multiple-tapered design
  • Sensitive graphite construction
  • Non-slip fore & rear cork handles
  • Index finger trigger


  • Expensive

8. Crankbait Rod with Tangle-Free Guides: Dobyns Rods 704CB

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This crankbait rod is fitted with 11 tangle-free Kigan guides (10 + tip) along its length and these have sic-inserts for smooth casting. The guides are Kevlar-wrapped for reinforcement and high-performance use.

A lightweight and high-quality Fuji graphite reel seat is included while an AA-grade cork handle gives you a grippy surface to hold the unit. Between these is an index finger trigger, which helps you to secure the rod to your hand.

The rod is 7-ft long and is made using flexible fiberglass material. It rated for an 8–17 lb. test line and 1/4–3/4 oz. lures. On the downside, it is quite costly and it does not have a fore-grip handle.


  • 11 tangle-free, Kevlar-wrapped Kigan guides
  • Sic inserts for smooth casting
  • Lightweight, high-quality Fuji graphite reel seat
  • AA-grade cork handle
  • Index finger trigger


  • Costly
  • No fore-grip handle

How to Buy the Best Crankbait Rods

Photo: shutterstock

1. Crankbait Type

Round bill

Round bill crankbaits have an extended round lower lip and they usually run deep in open water. Running this deep requires you to cast a long line and therefore, we recommend you use this lure with a long rod.

The rod can have a medium power because there’s no vegetation to steer the fish away from when pulling back. However, heavy power is best because you might end up luring heavy fish. That said, the most suitable one is Dobyns Rods’ 736CB.

Square bill

Square bill crankbaits have a square-shaped lower lip and they perform best under shallow water. Since there is a high possibility of having vegetation in such waters, it is better to have a short rod for agile movement purposes.

As for the weight, it should be heavy or medium-heavy so that you can move the lure quickly to place it in the right spot or do some maneuvers. In this case, Dobyns Rods’ Fury Series is best.


These have no lip and excel in casting far out when you don’t know exactly where the fish are. As such, you will need to cover a lot of water fast and a long, medium-power rod is ideal for this.

The length will make long casts easy while the medium power will allow you to use minimal pressure when pulling the fish so that the lure does not cone off. For this, KastKing’s Speed Demon Pro is the best option.

2. Length

Crankbait fishing rods can range anywhere from 6’6” to around 8’. As explained above, long rods are ideal for throwing the lure further out or in deep water while short ones offer more agility in terms of maneuvering the lure. They are better for shallow waters.

3. Power and Action

Power is a measure of how much force is required to bend the rod. This force is rated from light to heavy, with light being very flexible and heavy being stiff. Ideally, most crankbait rods should have a medium to heavy rating.

On the other hand, action shows the point on the rod where it bends. It is measured on a scale of slow to fast, with slow bending close to the middle (forming a wide U shape) while fast only bends close to the tip. That said, the ideal action for these rods is moderate to fast.

4. Materials

Two materials that are commonly used to build fishing rods. The first one is graphite and this is known for its stiffness and sensitivity. The material is usually measured in modulus, in which the higher the modulus rating, the stiffer (more brittle) and lighter it is.

Graphite rods are not recommended for tackling strong, heavy fish. However, when bass fishing using crankbait, they will work perfectly because bass fish are quite small.

As compared to graphite, fiberglass rods are more flexible and durable. They can withstand heavy fish fights because they bend very easily without breaking. On the downside, this lowers their sensitivity.

Since each has its benefits and drawbacks, you can strike a middle-ground between the two by using a composite rod. This type is made using a blend of the two materials, which results in a perfect balance between strength and sensitivity.

5. Rod Weight

A rod that is too heavy can cause hand fatigue during long periods of fishing. Generally, lightweight rods are better but you should not compromise on quality.

In this case, Dobyns Rods’ 684CB stands out above the rest because it is a high-quality piece that is very lightweight. We highly recommend it.


By nikamo/shutterstock

To summarize, we recommend the Dobyns Rods 684CB as the overall best crankbait rod because it combines sensitivity, strength, weight & balance in one. It is made using sensitive graphite blanks with a lightweight Fuji reel and a durable cork handle.

However, if you prefer using spinning rods for crankbait fishing, KastKing’s Speed Demon Pro is worth checking out. It has durable carbon blanks with Nano resin technology.

For deep-diving crankbaits though, we recommend Dobyns Rods’ 736CB. This is because it is very long (7’3”) and is a heavy power, fast action type. The rod is stiff and sensitive enough for the job.


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Jack Bollinger
Born in Massachusetts, Jack is an avid fisherman most of his life. He is currently a fishing guide in the bay of California. He has been fishing for more than 40 years and fly-fishing for more than 30. His favorite fish to catch is the rainbow trout and small-mouth bass. He has earned many top places in different lake fishing competitions.

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