When fishing with crank baits I prefer a particular set up that is very specific for the task. A rod and reel cranking combo consists of a good flexible, but strong rod and a solid reel with a proper gear ratio.
What is a proper cranking gear ratio you ask? Well, for me, a bait caster with a 5:1 gear ratio is ideal. Too fast a ratio hinders the feel of the crank bait, in my opinion. The 5:1 helps me feel the cranks every move, no question, and when I need a fast steady retrieve I just simply crank the reel a little faster!
When choosing the right bait casting reel I tend to lean towards the solid forged one piece aluminium reels like the Shimano Calcutta. Now talk about solid, this puppy will last forever and is a consistent performer! I use the Calcutta 50 for my cranking because it’s the lighter of the sizes available, it holds plenty of line for cranking and the pop can shape fits my grip perfectly. It enhances any crank baits movement and when the fight is on it feels great. I’ve even used these little gems for 1oz. Muskie spinner baits and have landed many to prove its durability.
I like my cranking done with the rod held at 5 o’clock to the waters surface. So rod length is important in order to achieve the 5 o’clock; a 6’8” or 7’ rod is my max for that all-important comfort.
An arch of sensitivity is equally as important in a crank bait rod. That consistent arch is our feeler for takers. Sacrificing it will mean lost fish and lack of distinction. So, with that said, a medium light rod is prime. Flexibility is a must, but strength is also important. Good back bone in the rod should not be overlooked because feeling the taker is one thing, but getting it in the live well is another.
Shimanos Crucial is a good choice in medium fast. It has good elasticity and strength. Quantum too is a good choice. Their new Superlite series is a treat to hold and their medium light is just right. Fenwick’s HMG medium rods also feel good and perform pretty well with affordability in mind. Again, there are all kinds of makes of rods out there and depending on your pocket depth, there is definitely one right for you. For me, well, my ultimate crank bait combo is the combination of the Calcutta 50 from Shimano and the medium light 6’6” Tour Edition PT casting rod from Quantum.
I love fishing crank baits, and more so, I love doing it with my Calcutta and Quantum dynamic duo! Many, many Bass have been had with this combo and, confidently, many more!