Crankbaits are an all-time favorite of bass anglers. They allow you to cover large areas and target the water column at specific depths. Crankbaits are versatile, easy to use, and work in almost any kind of situation. However, choosing one takes a lot of thought. Color, size, hooks, shape, and bill play a crucial role.
But don’t worry, as I already did the heavy lifting. I search, test, and ask bass anglers about their favorite lures. Then, I came up with 10 of the best crankbaits for bass, with the Rapala Rattlin being our top choice.
Why? Well, it is affordable, has a tight action, produces vibrations, and casts great. What else do you need?
For those looking to get the best bang for the buck, the PROBEROS minnow crankbaits are the best choice. Alternatively, the SteelShad Bass Crankbait is the best premium option for those willing to pay for it.
Our Top 3: Quick Comparison
Our Reviews: The 10 Best Crankbaits For Bass
Rapala and unparalleled performance are two words that always come together. However, this time, we are talking about a lipless crankbait that has a killer wobble movement and a hand-tuned sound chamber.
The Rattlin, as the name suggests, comes with a chamber loaded with BBs. It produces vibrations, improves balance, and makes the crankbait cast like a bullet. According to Rapala, the Rattlin sound chamber was tank-tested to deliver the right frequency that triggers fish to bite.
This single-size, lipless crankbait is available in 12 colors. Baby bass and shad are our preferred models. Keep in mind that, since the Rattlin 05 runs shallow, it is not the best option for deep bass fishing. But it almost has no match when bass flees the depths during active months.
If you like the PROBEROS shad-bodied crankbait, but you need something to go deeper, then these minnow crankbaits are just the thing.
Their working depth is from 5 to 15 feet, making it an ideal choice when bass are deep during summer. Just like before, you get six lures per pack. Each one has a different color, plastic bill, and an in-built sound chamber full of BBs. However, this time, you get three carbon steel treble hooks instead of two, leaving no space without cover.
The hard ABS body has an intricate pattern that makes the lure look more realistic. But the 3D eyes are the cherry on the cake. They pop so much that fish will see them no matter what.
Do you want something that can endure the test of time? If so, the SteelShad lipless crankbait is your best bet. It has a stainless steel body with two prominent lead weights on either side.
Although it has no lip, the SteelShad plunges up to 60 feet! And it does so with a natural head-first movement since the weights are in the upper section. Action-wise, the lure does great. It doesn’t move too much. But it is flashy, has a subtle wobble, and vibrates a lot.
One thing that sets this crankbait apart is its thin profile. It looks more like a blade than a regular crankbait. As a result, casting is a hassle-free process. The SteelShad cuts through air and lands where you want.
All models, regardless of the weight and color, come with two #6 VMC treble hooks. The entire crankbait is highly resistant to corrosion. So, durability is something to expect. And rightfully so, since you are paying top dollar for it.
Supported by Kevin VanDam himself, we have the Striker King KVD square bill. The lip is smaller than the one found in other crankbaits. Thus, it also dives a bit shallower than most others.
This crankbait is a true killer for fishing through the weeds. It doesn’t snag with anything, and the frenetic wobble makes it more appealing to any hungry bass lurking around.
There are 15 unique colors to choose from. Sexy shad, natural shad, and chartreuse shad are our top favorites.
The Strike King KVD 1.5 is 2.5 inches long, the plastic bill included. This means that you can target almost any bass, regardless of its size. Unlike other models, the KVD square bill lacks in-built rattles. Therefore, it solely relies on its action and color to draw the attention of hungry predators.
Diving up to 6 feet, we have the Rapala Dives-To Crankbait. It is slightly smaller than the previous model. But this time, you get a larger lip which makes the DT dive faster.
You don’t get as many color options as before. Perch, blue shad, and bluegill are all suitable for most fishing situations.
Although the body is of balsa wood, the in-built weights improve casting to unparalleled levels. We were able to cast this bad boy over 100 feet away from the boat. Plus, the DT crankbait dives with the slightest of twitches thanks to the oversized polycarbonate lip. This combination hits the sweet spot between a fast dive and natural flotation.
On the other hand, the weight balls produce vibrations as you crank and also help with action. The result is a crankbait that moves, looks, and dives as any baitfish.
The PROBEROS crankbaits scream value from anywhere you look at them. First, you get no one but six lures for around 16 dollars. That’s 2.67 per crankbait!
You can choose between four different sets. Each one has a unique color selection, size, and weight. Either the 406 and 407 are suitable for bass fishing.
Hook size also changes depending on the set you get. Both of the previous options we mentioned have two #6 carbon steel treble hooks. The others have #4 hooks instead.
The thing that we loved the most was the laser painting. It is vivid, scratch-resistant, and textured. If you look a little closer, you can even distinguish the scale pattern, truly beautiful craftsmanship. On the other hand, each ABS plastic crankbait comes with a set of steel balls embedded inside. They help with balance and casting while also increasing vibrations.
The PROBEROS crankbaits are ideal when bass are shallow, as they can only dive up to 3 feet.
Are you looking for a shallow diver? Bomber has your back. Are you looking for a deep-diving crankbait? Again, Bomber has your back. And you want to know what? They offer medium-diving crankbaits too! You can target any section of the water column with a single brand.
Sadly, you have to get each lure separately. So things could get a little too expensive for some anglers. But you get what you pay for, an exceptional crankbait with two large #2 treble hooks and lovely side-to-side action. The paint job is amazing as well. Colors are bright and easily visible once beneath the water. However, the eyes could use some work as they don’t look realistic enough for us.
Apart from colors, you can also choose between five sizes that swim at different depths. Use the Guppy model for working the crankbait through the cover. The Deep and Standard when the bass is deep, and Fingerling and Junior versions for anything in between.
Nothing beats a shallow diving crankbait during spring and fall. Bass are active and more likely to hit on anything they can eat. And this BUGZ hard-bodied crankbait is just the thing. It comes in ten different bug-like colors that will blend well with most environments.
Although it has the shape of a shad, the pattern on the back looks more like that of a crawfish. But bass don’t care. They will bite your lure anyway.
In terms of construction, we have a small but heavy 2-inch 1/2 ounces lure. Two Mustad #4 hooks will keep bass secure, and the polycarbonate bill helps the crankbait go where it needs to. On the other hand, the rounded sides and aggressively thin tail make for most of the action.
But what happens when the water is murky to the point that bass can’t see your lure? Fortunately, Catch Co added a rattle chamber that produces enough vibrations and sound for fish to locate it.
Berkley always has been a brand that you can rely on. And they prove so once again with their Dredger crankbait. It comes in six different colors. We don’t know why, but the price changes substantially depending on which one you choose.
You can also choose from six models. Each one has a different weight and size combination. The larger 3-in and 7/8 ounces model is more suitable for bigger bass. Again, prices change according to the model you choose.
The Dredger offers a diving depth of 17.5 inches, as you can see from its back. Thus, it is an ideal choice for summer when bass flees to the depths seeking colder and more O2-rich waters. For maximum effect during this lethargic period, the Dredger swims with a subtle action and rises slowly before each pause.
The Deep Little crankbait is another suitable candidate when the bass is in deeper water. It hits 9 to 12 feet quickly. Therefore, it is an ideal option to find those hidden coves beneath the surface.
Although it looks small and light, the Deep Little weighs around 0.8 ounces. That’s why casting won’t be a problem.
The Deep Little comes in 10 unique color options. Despite not looking as good as other lures, it still works like a charm. Plus, the slow side-to-side will be a temptation to even the most lethargic of bass.
How Do I Choose a Crankbait? A Comprehensive Guide
There is a lot of thinking involved in choosing your next crankbait. You must consider depth, color, hook count, and action. All these features impact performance. But don’t worry. You have all of these and more on this comprehensive crankbait guide.
What is A Crankbait?
Let’s start by declaring what a crankbait is? It is a large plastic lure with a fish-like shape. It typically has two treble hooks. Most of them have a plastic lip at the front. The shape and size of the lip determine the maximum depth the lure can reach.
The crankbait dives as you reel the line. Then, it returns to the surface once the reeling stops. Thus, a crankbait is the best option for those anglers looking to explore different depths and cover larger areas.
Types of Crankbaits
Crankbaits get classified according to the depth they can reach in:
- Shallow divers: Typically reach up to 8 feet
- Medium diving crankbaits: Dive between 8 to 12 feet deep
- Deep diving crankbaits: Over 12 feet
- Lipless crankbaits: Depends on the weight
As a general rule, you want to fish shallow during the active season and deeper during summer and winter. Let’s take a little time to talk about each crankbait.
Shallow crankbaits are arguably the most popular type among anglers. The lip, also known as the bill, is smaller and thicker. In fact, it looks very much like a square. Hence the name of square bills. As a result, it can’t dive as deep as other crankbaits.
However, these crankbaits are the top choice for fishing through the cover. The square bill deflects any obstacle with ease. Plus, as it runs shallow, it works best during fall and spring when bass are the most active.
Splitting the difference between shallow and deep divers, we have medium-diving crankbaits. They give more flexibility for exploring different areas, making them the perfect choice when bass are swimming between the depths and the shallows. This happens when the water temperature hits 50 Fahrenheit.
Their large lips allow deep-diving crankbaits to reach amazing depths. So, when the heat of summer kicks in, you better have one of these on your tackle box. You’ll be sorry otherwise.
Check your depth finder for those deep beds where bass love to lurk when the shallows are hot.
As the name suggests, lipless crankbaits are lures without any lips. Apart from that, they look exactly the same as billed brothers. So, you might ask. How do they dive? Well, like any other crankbait around they sink as you retrieve it. Plus, you can always add a couple of weights if you need the lure to sink deeper.
The best thing about lipless crankbaits is their action. They have a killer side-to-side movement that will drive any bass around mad. Plus, since you can control the depth by using weights, crankbaits without lips work almost in any kind of situation.
Crankbait Body Types
Like we said before, crankbaits allegedly mimic tiny fish, which are not always of the same size. So, it is not strange to find two crankbaits that are entirely different from each other. Let’s check some body styles.
Shad Body Crankbaits
As the name suggests, this style mimics the shape of a shad. They have a large and round head. The body gets thinner as you move down to the tail. As a consequence, they tend to displace a lot of water.
Most times, shad body crankbaits typically have two treble hooks: One in the belly and the other hanging from the tail.
They wiggle as you reel the line, a movement that will draw largemouth bass mad.
Minnow Body Crankbaits
Minnows are widely available in most lakes and rivers. So, minnow-style crankbaits tend to work for a wide range of situations. They are highly effective when it comes down to smallmouth bass as a minnow is their preferred meal.
Also known as stickbaits, minnow-style crankbaits offer wider side-to-side movements. They seem to work best in the early morning.
Flat Body Crankbaits
The flat body is the last crankbait style we will talk about. They typically have no lip and have pointy ends.
A fast and steady retrieve tends to work best with this body type. The in-built rattles increase vibrations as the crankbait cuts through the water. That’s why you should rely on this type of lure during fall and spring.
What Is The Best Crankbait Color for Bass?
According to most Bassmaster champions, season, watercolor, and forage all influence crankbait color. Blending is the key here. Your lure presentation should be as natural as possible. In other words, the lure has to look like it is part of the environment and not something introduced there.
As a general rule, go for darker colors in stained waters and more subtle ones when it is not. Try to mimic the color of local prey. Bass are more likely to hit the lure if it looks like a baitfish. We’ve taken the time to talk with some Bassmaster champions and fishing aficionados to come up with some crankbait color favorites.
- Greenish Crankbaits: These shades work best in crystal clear water, especially if there are a lot of tiny shads around.
- Red and Orange: Throwing a red or orange crankbait during early spring proves to be very effective. Bass are starting to get active, which means that they will bite more, and a red-colored lure will definitely catch their attention.
- Sexy Shad: It might not be a color perse. But most crankbaits offer sexy shad color. The grey top, white belly, and yellow lines is an eye-catching combination. It has no match in greenish waters, with shads being the predominant baitfish.
- Black and Chartreuse: These are valuable allies when the water is dirty to the point you can see a thing. Black and chartreuse don’t wash off in deeper water. Consequently, they contrast the most with the background.
What Crankbait Size for Bass?
Which is the best crankbait size for bass depends on what you are after. Do you want to land a trophy-sized bass? Then a 5-inch crankbait is the best bet. They look more appealing and typically have three treble hooks.
Sadly, having a large crankbait doesn’t mean that you will catch a giant. Lure size also limits the fish size. Keep in mind that bass tends to tent whatever fits inside their mouth. This means that small bass won’t bite because the crankbait is too big for them.
That is why we recommend using smaller crankbaits, especially if you are just fishing for fun. This way, you can target a wider range of sizes. Thus, increasing the number of bites you can get.
How to Use Crankbaits for Bass Fishing
Fishing using crankbaits couldn’t be simpler. You just need to cast. Then, start reeling the line, which will cause the lure to dive. Consider adding some pauses and twitches in between. This will help with lure presentation and make it more appealing to fish.
Retrieving speed and pause length depend on what you like. But we recommend trying a fast and steady retrieve when the bass is the most active. Go for slow reeling when they are not. Keep in mind that when the bass is lethargic, they will only attack if the prey doesn’t put up a fight.
Best Crankbait for Bass: Rapala Rattlin
Those anglers looking for the best crankbait for bass that money can buy will be more than pleased with the Rapala Rattle. It is particularly great during spring and fall when the bass is shallow. Its killer action and in-built BBs keep the Rattlin on any bass radar. But if you are not convinced yet, let us tell you that it casts like a bullet. Thus, allowing you to cover more yards on a single cast, increasing your chances of getting a bite.