Deep-diving crankbaits are a staple whenever bass shift to deeper water haunts, but they’re demanding lures to fish in terms of casting, fatigue, and hooking and landing bass. Bassmaster Elite Series pro Bob Downey uses deep-diving crankbaits religiously and shares his top 3 favorite deep-cranking rod setups and when to use each. He discusses how differences in rod length, power and action, and materials impact performance and may make one a better tool for a specific job.
ROD SETUPS (retail links)
- DEEP CRANKING – St. Croix Legend Glass Cranking Rod, 7’11” Heavy (#1 on list)
- MID-DEPTH CRANKING (composite) – St. Croix Legend Tournament Casting Rod, 7’4″ Mod MH(#2 on list)
- MID-DEPTH CRANKING (fiberglass) – St. Croix Mojo Bass Glass Casting Rod, 7’4″ Mod MH (#3 on list)
- REEL – Daiwa Tatula Elite Casting Reel, 6.3:1
- LINE – Sufix Advance Fluorocarbon, 12-pound
- CRANKBAITS – Rapala Dives-To Series
Deep-diving rod setup
For baits that consistently hit that 16- to 20-foot zone, Downey goes big with a 7-foot, 11-inch heavy power, moderate taper fiberglass rod. The added length and power handles big plugs and allows him to achieve the longest casts possible — a must for getting the lure to its maximum running depth. The longer fiberglass rod also reduces fatigue with hard-pulling baits while providing the best leverage and control on long casts and deep water.
Mid-depth composite crankbait rod
Numbers 2 and 3 from the list are both 7-foot, 4-inch, medium-heavy power rods with a moderate taper, but #2 is a composite rod. Composite blends deliver attributes of both graphite and fiberglass and get the nod when you prefer a lighter, more sensitive rod. Downey is straight-up when he says it comes down to personal preference. If you’re the person that likes feeling the bait and everything it contacts, then composite may be for you.
Mid-depth fiberglass crankbait rod
If you’re quick to set the hook, fiberglass helps you achieve a more delayed hookset, which is rarely wrong when fishing crankbaits (cranking grass is an exception). Downey uses a 7-foot, 4-inch composite, and straight fiberglass cranking rod with his mid-depth crankbaits. Factors such as the cover you’re fishing and how the fish are eating the bait may dictate using one over the other.
As with anything, experimentation often leads to preferences. In any case, these 3 St. Croix rods will cover your bases for mid-depth and deep-diving plugs. Check out our Fishing Rods Channel to learn more about specific rods and selecting the best rods for your fishing situation.