Professional bass angler Keith Combs ranks crankbaits as the most consistent lure category in tournament bass fishing. He states, “they catch bass anywhere in the country and any time of the year.” Few other presentations can claim that. Combs shares his top 3 favorite crankbait styles, which allow him to effectively fish a wide variety of cover types and depth ranges. Of note, they’re all proven Strike King baits, but the content is pertinent to any manufacturer of high-quality crankbaits.
Regarding crankbait selection, Combs considers a wide range of factors, such as lure running depth, cover and structure type (e.g., squarebills perform better around wood), and water clarity, to name a few. He discusses each and makes recommendations to help you select the right tool for the job.
Combs’ top 3 crankbaits and when he uses each:
- Shallow-diving squarebill Crankbait (Strike King 2.5). A compact squarebill like the venerable Strike King 2.5 is Combs’ shallow water workhorse. This bait is designed to come through cover extremely well. It consistently hits the 4- to 5-foot range when fished around cover and can touch that 7-foot mark when fished on a fast retrieve in open water.
- Mid-Depth Crankbait (Strike King 5XD). Perhaps the most versatile in the lineup, the Strike King 5XD is a compact bait that comfortably reaches the 12- to 14-foot range on a 15-pound line. Its modest size and refined action make it an excellent performer in clearer water situations, but don’t hesitate to fish it in stained water.
- Deep-Diving Crankbait (Strike King 6XD). When bass head deep, the deep-water dredging crankbaits come to play. The Strike King 6XD has legions of followers. It casts a country mile thanks to an innovative internal weighting system, gets to the bottom fast (and stays there), and has excellent deflection characteristics that bass can’t resist when power cranking. Combs reaches for the 6XD when bass are in the 12- to 18-foot zone, with 19 feet being the typical max running depth.