I have a mighty tough time sitting in this office when there’s a good crankbait bite going on at the lake. It’s probably my favorite way to catch a bass, which has allowed me to test a bunch of cranking rods throughout my career. I’ve used the cheapest ones on the market all the way up to some of the Cadillac-type models out there. I’ve been using the Lew’s KVD Composite Cranking Rod for a good while now and although it’s only $109, I can’t stop going back to it nearly every time I’m on the water. It’s not the lightest you’ll find on the market and it’s not surrounded by a bunch of marketing hype, but man… it sure feels good in my hands and it can fish a plug like few others can.
If you’re wanting another cranking rod without having to totally empty your wallet, hang with me for a minute or two. I think you owe it to yourself to give this rod an honest chance. I’m willing to bet you’ll be impressed.
Full-contact reel seat
I think crankbait fishing rubs some folks the wrong way because they get snagged a lot. While two sets of treble hooks hanging off of a bait can certainly increase that possibility, a sensitive rod made specifically for this technique can make things a lot easier.
This rod is designed by Kevin VanDam who is one of the very best crankbait anglers in the world, in my opinion. He knows exactly what to look for in a cranking rod and that definitely shows with this rod. Pictured above, you’ll see the full-contact reel seat that transmits vibration beautifully throughout the retrieve. Not only can you feel bites with ease but you can also feel when your crankbait collides with cover, which allows you to quickly pause your retrieve to both elicit reaction strikes and reduce hang-ups. I think even the novice crankbait angler will take a liking to this rod because it will drastically shorten any learning curve.
The sensitivity this $109 rod offers is comparable to many $200-plus rods I’ve tested throughout my career.
I’ve been using the 7-foot, medium-action model throughout my testing. When I’m using most other cranking rods, I normally use a 7-foot, medium-action for flat-sided crankbaits more than anything else. With this rod, however, I’m able to use a bunch of different crankbaits without constantly switching rods. I’ve tested this rod with flat-sided crankbaits, squarebills of all sizes and 1/4-ounce lipless crankbaits with outstanding success. It has just enough backbone to handle the larger, harder-wobbling squarebills but plenty of tip to launch smaller flat-sided plugs a country mile.
To put it plainly, if you plan on cranking in 8 feet of water or less, this rod will dang near do it all. Do not let the inexpensive price tag fool you on this one… I’m telling you. I’d have a whole front deck full of these and feel totally confident in ’em for all of my cranking needs.
While I did mention that this isn’t the lightest rod on the market, I firmly believe you’ll be more than pleased with its comfort and balance. Even if you get on the water at sunrise and throw a plug until the sun goes down, you’re not going to feel it the next day like you might with some other poorly balanced rods. The EVA split-grip handles are a wonderful addition and allow you to maintain a solid grip on the rod whether it’s raining or your hands are (hopefully) covered in fish slime.
I haven’t talked to anyone who has disliked this rod. It will launch a plug a mile, its parabolic action keeps treble-hooked fish pegged throughout the fight and as we already discussed, the price is more than reasonable. I will most likely buy a few more this summer as I head up the rivers and throw a big squarebill around laydowns.
I’m a picky dude when it comes to my crankbait fishing and I can comfortably and confidently say that KVD and Lew’s have created something special that folks will go crazy over. If you put one in your hands, you’ll see and feel exactly what I’m talking about. This is one of my favorite rods I’ve tested in the past year and I’ll be using it for many more years to come.
The Lew’s KVD Composite Cranking Rod is available at the following online retailers: