Fishing a crankbait can be a very fun and effective way of targeting all three species of saltwater bass but when it comes to tackle, this isn’t a one size fits all technique. So whether you’re cranking an eelgrass bed for spotties, pounding rip rap for sand bass, or casting to rocky shorelines for calicos, matching your lure size and depth range to the proper rod and reel is key. In this video, I explain the specifics of how size and depth rating relates to choosing the right rod and reel combo to best present each crankbait.
Finding the right balance means choosing a rod and reel that’s not only well suited for casting your lure but one that will keep you from pulling your hooks while fighting the fish. From light to heavy, my go-to rods and reels are as follows. Rainshadow GCB 710MH matched with a Revo Winch full of 30# braid to a 15# to 25# fluorocarbon leader. Rainshadow Revelation REVCB80H matched with the same reel and line as the previous rod (if you were only going to get one rod this would be a good place to start). Rainshadow Judge JDGCB710H matched with a 5.8:1 Revo Beast 40# full of 50# braid and 30# to 40# fluorocarbon leader. Rainshadow Revelation REVCBT92H matched with the same reel and line as the previous rod.
If you haven’t tried crankbait fishing for saltwater bass I recommend starting out buying a few crankbaits and fishing them on rods and reels you currently own before committing to buying a dedicated set up (or four). If you’re unsure of which crankbaits to start out with, I recommend the Berkley Dredger series of baits. They are well constructed and durable baits that come in on the lower end of the pricing spectrum. A good starting bait would be the 17.5 size if you’re fishing the bay, harbor or break wall, and the 25.5 size if you’re going to be fishing deeper water.