How to Rig a Crankbait for Bass

There are a couple of tips that I provide to fellow anglers that are included in this article but what I don’t mention is the inevitable close encounters with a treble hook that is located on the bottom and the tail-end of a Crankbait, but if you use a crankbait for bass you have to rig it properly so that it moves how it was engineered to move. How do you Rig a Crankbait for Bass?

  • Use medium-heavy rod & baitcasting reel
  • Choose a quality line: monofilament or fluorocarbon.
  • Tie line directly to the split ring or line tie
  • Ensure hooks are sharp & positioned right
  • Adjust crankbait for best performance.
  • Experiment with retrieval speed & depth
  • Target areas with structure/cover
  • Stay patient

Crankbaits are engineered and manufactured to mimic the real-life action of a baitfish, crayfish, or most other prey that largemouth and smallmouth bass love to hunt in different depths of the water column.



Introducing crankbaits for bass fishing, an artful pursuit that combines technique with precision. Crankbaits are versatile lures designed to imitate the movement and appearance of prey fish, enticing bass to strike with their lifelike action. With a wide array of sizes, shapes, and colors available, anglers can tailor their approach to match the conditions and preferences of the bass they seek. Whether navigating shallow waters or probing deep structures, crankbaits offer anglers a dynamic tool to tempt bass in a variety of habitats. Through skillful presentation and strategic selection, mastering the use of crankbaits can unlock thrilling opportunities for reeling in trophy-sized bass.

How to Rig a Crankbait for Bass


If you love Bass fishing as much as I do you’ll find that rigging Crankbaits for Bass largemouth or smallmouth can heighten the fishing experience. I’ll go one better and say using a bobber rig is no competition like a Crankbait beats everything I’ve tried for excitement and sometimes even success depending.

When you fish largemouth with a fishing bait like Crankbait you need to make sure you are using all the right tackle besides the type and color of crankbait. The most important thing to remember here is no way that this way is the only way. I fish with half a dozen people and everyone has their recipe for success.

Rigging a crankbait for bass fishing involves setting up your tackle in a way that maximizes the bait’s effectiveness in attracting and catching bass. Here’s a step-by-step guide to rigging a crankbait for bass:

  1. Choose the Right Crankbait: Select a crankbait that suits the conditions you’ll be fishing in. Consider factors such as water depth, clarity, and the type of cover present.
  2. Crankbait For Largemouth Bass Stock Photo - Download Image Now - Fishing Hook, Plug Lure, Fishing Bait - iStock
    Crankbait For Largemouth Bass

    Select the Appropriate Rod and Reel: For crankbait fishing, a medium-power to medium-heavy power rod with a moderate or moderate-fast action is typically preferred. Pair it with a baitcasting reel with a smooth drag system and a gear ratio suitable for crankbait retrieval (usually in the range of 5:1 to 7:1).

  3. Choose the Right Line: Use monofilament or fluorocarbon line for crankbait fishing. Monofilament provides buoyancy, while fluorocarbon offers better sensitivity and abrasion resistance. Avoid using a braided line, as its lack of stretch can cause the crankbait to lose its action and result in more snagging.
  4. Attach the Line: Tie your chosen fishing line directly to the split ring or line tie on the front of the crankbait. Use a reliable fishing knot like the Palomar knot or an improved clinch knot.
  5. Consider Adding a Leader: In clear water or when targeting particularly large bass, you may want to add a fluorocarbon leader between your main line and the crankbait to reduce visibility and increase abrasion resistance.
  6. Adjust the Hooks: Check the hooks on your crankbait. If they are dull or damaged, replace them with sharp, high-quality treble hooks. Ensure that the hooks are positioned properly to minimize snagging while still providing good hook-setting capability.
  7. Picture 2 of 9
    Chartreuse Strike king

    Tune the Crankbait: Some crankbaits may not run true straight out of the box. To ensure optimal performance, adjust the crankbait by bending the line tie or adjusting the eyelets slightly until it tracks straight when retrieved.

  8. Experiment with Depth and Speed: Vary the depth at which you fish the crankbait by adjusting your retrieval speed or using crankbaits with different diving depths. Experiment with different retrieval speeds until you find the one that triggers the most strikes.
  9. Be Mindful of Cover: When fishing with a crankbait, target areas with submerged vegetation, rocky structures, or other types of cover where bass are likely to be hiding. Retrieve the crankbait so that it bumps into the cover occasionally, triggering reaction strikes from nearby bass.
  10. Stay Patient and Persistent: Crankbait fishing for bass can be highly rewarding but may require patience and persistence to find success. Keep experimenting with different crankbaits, colors, depths, and retrieval speeds until you unlock the pattern that produces the most bites.

By following these steps and adapting to the specific conditions you encounter on the water, you can effectively rig a crankbait for bass and increase your chances of landing a trophy-worthy catch.

There are a few rules that everyone can agree on when it comes to Crankbait and Largemouth/Smallmouth Bass

  • Make sure your crankbait has a snap ring on the metal eye. Most crankbaits will come with it already attached, so you shouldn’t have to buy a snap ring.
  • Use your favorite knot to tie a 12-pound fluorocarbon line to the crankbait.  As long as it’s a quality knot, it will work. The best fishing knots to use tieing crankbaits are a standard Clinch knot along a Non-Slip Loop Knot (Kreh Loop Knot) both knots are strong, easy to tie, & allow the crankbaits or any artificial lures to be tied directly to the lure allowing it more life-like action & presentation underwater
  • Test your crankbait to ensure it’s moving straight by dropping it in the water and pulling it with your rod. If it tries to turn too much on its side, looks awkward or skips across the water. If it’s not moving through the water right, take a pair of pliers and lightly bend the metal eye connected to the snap ring in the opposite direction the lure wants to turn.
  • Crankbaits are designed to maintain contact with the bottom. That’s why a long cast is crucial. The longer the cast, the more time the lure will bounce along the bottom of the water column in the strike zone, which means you’ll get more bites. A slow-speed reel works well with crankbaits because you want to reel the lure as slowly as possible while still feeling the crankbait come in contact with the bottom.


Bass Fishing Crankbait Categories


When it comes to bass fishing, crankbaits come in various categories, each designed to excel under different conditions and depths. Here are the main categories of crankbaits used in bass fishing:

  1. Shallow Diving Crankbaits: These crankbaits are designed to run at shallow depths, typically less than six feet. They have a smaller lip or bill, allowing them to dive quickly and create a tight wobble. Shallow diving crankbaits are ideal for targeting bass in shallow water, near the shoreline, or over submerged vegetation. Crankbaits the difference between - Florida Bass Fishing Guides
  2. Medium Diving Crankbaits: Medium diving crankbaits are designed to reach depths of around six to ten feet. They have a slightly larger lip or bill compared to shallow divers, allowing them to dive deeper while still maintaining a moderate wobble. Medium divers are versatile lures that can be used to target bass along mid-depth structures such as points, drop-offs, and submerged brush piles.
  3. Deep Diving Crankbaits: Deep diving crankbaits are designed to reach depths of ten feet or more, making them ideal for probing deeper water columns and offshore structures. These crankbaits have large, oversized lips or bills that create significant resistance, allowing them to dive deep with minimal effort. Deep divers are commonly used for targeting bass along underwater ledges, humps, and channel edges.
  4. Lipless Crankbaits: Unlike traditional crankbaits, lipless crankbaits feature a flat, lipless design that causes them to sink when retrieved. They are highly versatile lures that can be fished at various depths and retrieved at different speeds. Lipless crankbaits are effective for covering large areas of water quickly and can be used to target bass in both shallow and deep water.
  5. Squarebill Crankbaits: Squarebill crankbaits feature a square-shaped bill or lip that causes them to deflect off covers such as rocks, stumps, and submerged timber. This unique design allows squarebills to be fished effectively in shallow water without getting snagged. They produce a wide, erratic wobble that can trigger reaction strikes from aggressive bass.
  6. Floating vs. Sinking Crankbaits: Crankbaits can also be categorized based on whether they float or sink. Floating crankbaits rise to the surface when paused, making them ideal for fishing over submerged vegetation and shallow cover. Sinking crankbaits sink when paused, allowing them to reach deeper depths and stay in the strike zone longer. Choosing between floating and sinking crankbaits depends on the depth and type of cover you’re fishing.

By understanding the different categories of crankbaits and their intended applications, you can effectively select the right lure for the specific conditions you encounter on the water. Experimenting with different crankbait styles, sizes, and colors will help you dial in the bite and catch more bass.

Best Crankbait Colors


Selecting the best crankbait color can vary depending on factors such as water clarity, light conditions, and the presence of natural prey in the area. However, certain colors have proven to be effective in a wide range of situations. Here are some popular crankbait colors and when they tend to work best:

  1. Shad or Silver: Shad or silver-colored crankbaits are versatile options that mimic the appearance of baitfish, making them effective in a variety of water conditions and light levels. They work well in clear to moderately stained water and are particularly effective when bass are feeding on shad or other silvery prey. This Is When To Use Light Colored Vs Dark Colored Lures
  2. Chartreuse: Chartreuse crankbaits are highly visible in both clear and stained water, making them effective in low-light conditions or when fishing in murky water. The bright color provides a strong contrast against the surrounding environment, making it easier for the bass to locate the lure.
  3. Crawfish or Red: Crankbaits in crawfish or red hues mimic the coloration of crayfish, a common prey item for bass. These colors are particularly effective in waters where crayfish are abundant or during times when bass are actively feeding on crustaceans.
  4. Bluegill or Green Pumpkin: Bluegill or green pumpkin-colored crankbaits imitate the appearance of sunfish and other panfish, which are important forage for bass in many lakes and rivers. These colors work well in areas with abundant panfish populations or when bass are targeting sunfish as their primary food source.
  5. Firetiger: Firetiger crankbaits feature a combination of bright green, chartreuse, and orange colors that mimic the appearance of distressed baitfish. This color pattern is highly visible and can trigger aggressive strikes from bass, especially in stained water or when fishing in low-light conditions.
  6. Black or Dark Colors: In low-light conditions or during overcast days, black or dark-colored crankbaits can be highly effective. These colors create a strong silhouette against the water, making it easier for the bass to see and strike.
  7. Natural Patterns: Crankbaits with natural patterns such as perch, bluegill, or shiner can be effective when bass are feeding on specific types of forage. Match the color pattern to the prevalent forage species in the area for best results.

Remember to experiment with different colors and observe how bass react to each one in different conditions. Pay attention to subtle changes in water clarity, light levels, and bass behavior to determine the most effective crankbait color for your fishing situation.

What are the Types of Crankbaits?

Crankbaits are lures made in the shape of a baitfish separated into 3 types:

  1. Diving depth depends on size & bill shape on retrieve-shallow, medium, deep & extra deep.
  2. The sound produced makes sounds called “rattling”, or staying quiet called “silent”
  3. Lipless-Lipless-have no diving bill .………………………………………………………………………………………Read more



How Do You Fish Crankbaits?

Lipless Crankbaits (no bill)-12 ft.+ depth slow retrieve in Spring & Fall
Lipped Crankbait (have a bill)-2 to 12 ft. Use “twitching” motion-snap lure side to side in place with a slow retrieve
Square-shaped bill Crankbait-run along bottom-through grass & weeds shallow & close to the shoreline-0-5 ft. ..………………………………..Read more

Crankbait Bass Tips


During the spring, flat-sided and lipless crawfish-colored crankbaits work best because lipless crankbaits don’t wobble as much as a billed crankbait (which looks more natural in the cooler water), and crawdads are one of the primary food sources for bass during the time of year.

In late spring and early summer, when the bass is in shallow water, a shallow diving bluegill-colored square bill crankbait works best because bluegill are public enemy number one for bass guarding beds and fry during and after the spawn.

During the hottest time of the year, bass move to deeper, cooler water. This means deep-diving shad-colored or chartreuse crankbaits are the key.

If the water is clear, go with a natural shad or baitfish color, and if the water is murky or stained, go with a bright color. Here is a list to use when using Crankbait:

  1. Match the Hatch: Choose a crankbait that closely resembles the baitfish present in the water where you’re fishing. Bass often feed on the local forage, so using a crankbait that mimics their natural prey can increase your chances of success.
  2. Pay Attention to Water Temperature: Bass behavior can be influenced by water temperature. In colder water, bass may be less active and prefer slower-moving crankbaits worked at a more leisurely pace. As the water warms up, you can increase your retrieval speed to trigger more aggressive strikes.
  3. Fish the Right Depths: Different crankbaits are designed to dive to specific depths. Pay attention to the depth range indicated on the packaging or by the manufacturer, and choose a crankbait that matches the depth where bass are likely to be holding.
  4. Experiment with Crankbait Colors: While natural baitfish colors like silver, gold, and shad patterns are often effective, don’t be afraid to experiment with brighter or more unusual colors, especially in stained or muddy water. Sometimes, a bold color can trigger a reaction strike from a bass.
  5. Use Rattles: Crankbaits with built-in rattles can be highly effective in murky or windy conditions, as the noise they produce helps bass locate the lure. Experiment with rattling crankbaits to see if they increase your success rate.
  6. Master the Pause: After initiating your retrieve, occasionally pause the crankbait for a few seconds before resuming your retrieve. This pause can mimic the behavior of injured baitfish, enticing nearby bass to strike.
  7. Switch Up Retrieve Speeds: Vary your retrieval speed throughout your fishing session to determine what the bass are responding to best. Sometimes a fast, erratic retrieve will trigger strikes, while other times a slow, steady retrieve may be more effective.
  8. Pay Attention to Structure and Cover: Target areas with submerged structures such as rocks, logs, and underwater vegetation, as well as transition zones where different types of cover meet. Bass often use these areas as ambush points to feed on passing prey.
  9. Fish Crankbaits Year-Round: While crankbaits are often associated with spring and fall fishing, they can be effective year-round. Adjust your tactics and lure selection based on seasonal patterns and water conditions to maximize your success.
  10. Stay Persistent and Observant: Bass fishing with crankbaits can require patience and perseverance. Pay attention to subtle changes in conditions and adapt your approach accordingly. By staying persistent and observant, you can increase your chances of hooking into a trophy bass.

These tips, combined with practice and on-the-go experience, can help you become more successful when using crankbaits to target bass. Remember to stay adaptable and willing to try new techniques to dial in the bite on any given day.

Plastic vs Wood Crankbaits


Plastic and wood crankbaits each have their advantages and considerations when it comes to bass fishing. Here’s a comparison between the two:

Strike King Bitsy Pond Minnow Crankbait Fire Tiger Hard Bait Lure
Strike King Bitsy Pond Minnow

Plastic Crankbaits:

  1. Durability: Plastic crankbaits are generally more durable than wooden ones. They can withstand impacts with rocks, stumps, and other underwater obstacles without chipping or splintering.
  2. Consistency: Plastic crankbaits can be mass-produced with consistent shape, weight, and action. This means that each lure of the same model will behave similarly in the water, providing anglers with predictability and reliability.
  3. Variety: Plastic crankbaits come in a wide range of shapes, sizes, and colors, allowing anglers to match the hatch and target bass in various conditions and environments.
  4. Buoyancy: Plastic crankbaits can be designed to float or suspend at specific depths, giving anglers more control over their presentation and allowing them to target bass at different water levels.
  5. Affordability: Plastic crankbaits are often more affordable than wooden ones, making them a popular choice for anglers who fish frequently or need to replace lures regularly.

Wooden Crankbaits:

  1. Wood Trap? - GAME OVER ANGLING
    Wooden Crankbaits

    Natural Action: Wooden crankbaits often have a more natural action and buoyancy compared to plastic ones. This can be especially appealing to bass in heavily pressured waters or when targeting finicky fish.

  2. Unique Designs: Wooden crankbaits are often handcrafted, allowing lure makers to create unique designs and finishes that may not be possible with plastic. Anglers can choose from a wide variety of custom options to suit their preferences and fishing style.
  3. Sound and Vibration: Wooden crankbaits can produce different sounds and vibrations in the water compared to plastic ones. Some anglers believe that the subtle differences in noise and movement can trigger more strikes from bass, especially in clear or calm conditions.
  4. Collectibility: Wooden crankbaits are often prized by collectors and fishing enthusiasts for their craftsmanship and historical significance. Anglers may choose wooden crankbaits for their aesthetic appeal or as collector’s items rather than solely for fishing.
  5. Repairability: While wooden crankbaits can be more prone to damage than plastic ones, they are often easier to repair. Anglers can sand down and refinish wooden lures to remove scratches or dings, extending their lifespan and preserving their effectiveness.

preferences, fishing style, and the specific conditions they encounter on the water. Experimenting with both types of crankbaits can help anglers determine which works best for their needs.


In conclusion, rigging a crankbait for bass fishing requires attention to detail and understanding of the lure’s behavior. By selecting the right tackle, adjusting for optimal performance, and targeting appropriate areas, anglers can increase their chances of landing trophy-sized bass. Patience, persistence, and adaptability are key to success in mastering the art of crankbait fishing for bass.

What is the Best Color Crankbait?

The most important seasonal parameter for Crankbait is Color:
Spring-Crawfish red-Shad color-Chartreuse
Summer-Citrus Chad-Spooky Nasty-Homemade Shad
Fall-Go with a bone (white) color in overcast conditions
Switch to a chrome or silver color when the sun comes out.
Winter-.……………………………………………………………………………….Read more

JimGalloway Author/Editor


Feature Image from Karl’s Bait & Tackle



How do I choose the right crankbait color? A: Selecting the best crankbait color involves considering the water clarity, light conditions, and the prevalent forage in the area. In clear water, natural baitfish colors like shad or silver are often effective, while bright colors like chartreuse work well in stained or murky water. Matching the color pattern to the local prey species such as crawfish or bluegill can also increase your chances of success.

Q: What gear should I use for crankbait fishing? A: For crankbait fishing, a medium-power to medium-heavy power rod with a moderate or moderate-fast action is typically preferred. Pair it with a baitcasting reel spooled with monofilament or fluorocarbon line. Choose a line weight and rod action that matches the size and diving depth of the crankbait you intend to use.

Q: How should I retrieve a crankbait? A: The retrieve technique for crankbaits can vary depending on the style of lure and the behavior of the bass. In general, start by casting the crankbait and allowing it to dive to the desired depth. Retrieve the lure with a steady, medium-speed retrieve, occasionally pausing or varying the speed to trigger strikes. Experiment with different retrieval speeds and pauses to determine what the bass is responding to best.


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