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Crankbait Reel Buyers Guide

Are you looking for the best crankbait reels for your rod? Many anglers pay strong attention to the rod but forget the importance of the reel. If you're here, then you understand its importance. Hence, this guide will help you get all the necessary answers.

There are different types of reels, and many manufacturers claim that their reel is the best choice for crankbait fishing. However, crankbait fishing is a rigorous activity. It requires flexibility but power at the same time. Thus, the choice strongly depends on your preference and skillset.

This is your one-stop guide to always find the best crankbait reel for yourself. Whether you're a beginner or a seasoned angler, you should certainly consider these factors. If you're unsure why crankbait reel is essential, you will find answers to all of the questions.

From common questions to tricks and tips, we are bringing you a full-fledged crankbait reel buyers guide!

What is a crankbait reel? How it is different from other reels?

First, you need to understand that a 'crankbait reel' is not another type of reel available in the market. There are two types of reels, baitcasting and spinning reels, explained below. However, choosing a crankbait reel means finding one with a specific purpose of crankbait fishing.

Crankbait fishing is a robust task that requires expertise, experience, and skills to find the right fish. While jerk bait could be beginner-friendly, crankbait requires a lot of specialized tools and equipment. Apart from choosing a crankbait rod, you also have to consider a crankbait reel.

In simple words, a crankbait reel is the type of reel for your rod that would help with crankbait fishing. There is no other distinction. However, using a crankbait reel can make a significant difference to the rod. How?

Reasons to buy a crankbait reel.

The reel has an equal or more significant role than the rod. It contains your line that is connected to the bait. It is what gives you access to pull the fish and wrapping the line. Whether you use a costly line or cheaper options doesn't matter if your reel doesn't comply.

Peace of mind

Crankbait fishing requires a lot of things to pay attention to. There's the line, its strength, then the pull from the fish. You have to understand the rod's functionality. However, all of this is for the naught if your reel doesn't support.

If you don't want to worry about the line's performance and tangling, you should undoubtedly contemplate a crankbait reel. It can help you with better controls and tangle-free reeling for the line.

Versatile for fishing

Even if you decide not to use a crankbait reel for crankbait fishing, you can use it for other fishing activities. It is strong and versatile to help you with different types of fishing. You can say that it is excellent for overall heavy fishing.

More than that, it has a range of features and numerous components that you can customize. Thus, you have a one-time investment that you can modify. It would enable you to have a better year-round rod in your collection for any time use.

Better controls

A crankbait reel allows you to have better controls over your maneuvers. Fishing is all about how fast you can engage the fish and then reel it in. That's where countless features of a crankbait reel will play an indispensable role.

There are times when you would have to change your style. Other reels might fail to help you change the style. However, with a crankbait reel, you can instantly change the fishing style to counter the fish. Overall, it means that you would have better control over the fish.

Higher success rate

There are countless tools made to ease up a particular task. Similarly, crankbait reels help with crankbait fishing. By eliminating your worries and helping you focus on fishing, it mitigates your worries.

Thus, you have your head in the game. When that happens, you increase the success rate. You have better control over the bait, more luring capacity. Most importantly, you are more likely to catch the fish.

Factors to consider when purchasing crankbait reels

Here are a few things that you should check in a crankbait reel before buying it. If you want ultimate performance from a reel then make sure to check these factors before you click the buy now button.

Spinning reel vs. baitcasting reels

The first choice you have to make for your crankbait reel is the type of reel. A baitcasting reel is suitable for heavy fishes, while a spinning reel is better for its functionality. Read ahead for more in-depth analysis:

Baitcasting reel

A baitcasting reel could be a powerful addition. It is generally a better choice for bigger and heavier fishes. Thus, it offers remarkable performance. However, it might easily backfire if you don't have experience with fishing.

The lack of experience in crankbait or using baitcasting reel, in general, can lead to frequent failures in a catch. Therefore, baitcasting is not an excellent choice for most anglers for a crankbait reel.

Spinning reel

These are simple and easy to use. Spinning reels come with several features for your convenience. You can hold and maintain the line more comfortably with better handles. If you think that you lack experience or need some practice, this would be a better choice.

While baitcasting has better power and precision, spinning reels are more durable and easy to use. If you ask a professional, they will suggest you use a spinning reel on a whim.

Handle makes a difference.

The reels come with either single body or double body handles. Spinning reels primarily have a single body handle. Whereas baitcasting reels have double body handles. There could be a significant impact on your performance in relation to the body casting. But there's more to the handle than that.

Left or right

As a general rule of thumb, you will hold the rod in the dominant hand. Meanwhile, the reel's handle will be on the other hand. You have to make sure that it is comfortable with the ease of movement. Many people have trouble with reeling, as it might require proper functioning.

Determine the direction in which you want the reel handle. This makes a significant impact. Always keep the dominant hand for the rod and the other hand for the reel's handle.

Material and grip

Since you're using the reel for crankbait, you will most likely aim for heavy fishes like bass. More importantly, you will need weather resistance. Spool rotation will be your primary concern as it needs to be smooth.

Ergo, you need a handle that is graphite or aluminum to withstand the pressure. You have to minimize the chances of torsion and other mishaps. However, those handles can be slippery, which could compromise your hunt. Therefore, it is better to get a rubber grip that would offer a firmer grip and prevent the handle from slipping.

Weight of the handle

You have to consider the weight of the handle according to your preference. If you like to have a better response with ease of adjustments, you would like light reel handles. Thus, you can get a shorter handle to eliminate the weight.

If you go for a longer handle, you will have an easier time holding the reel with boosted stability. For anglers that have bigger hands, a longer handle would be better. It also breaks down to the technique you utilize.

Spool for your line

You probably saw this coming, but the spool is the second most crucial factor to consider. It is the part in the reel that actually holds the line. You work the handle to retrieve the line on the spool or loosen it through the spool. Thus, it can impact your catch if you end up with a tangled line.


When choosing the reel's spool, you have to look for the size that is compatible with your line. If you're using a heavier line, you would need a bigger spool. The smaller spool will break or sustain frequent damage with heavier lines.

If you have the proper size, you will be able to roll the line around the spool by yourself. Hence, it eliminates the dependability on the shops for the process to accurately install the line.


Similar to the handle, the spool is an aluminum or graphite construct. However, you can't use rubber here. The material would affect the smoothness of the line. How efficiently can you roll the line or release it depends on the material.

Similarly, the durability of your spool depends on the material, as well. Remember, the spool shouldn't be too rigid. It should have proper smoothness and lubrication. Otherwise, you may end up breaking your rod or spool, failing the fishing completely.

Gear Ratio

For a crankbait reel, another vital aspect is the gear ratio of the reel that is found in the spool. An ideal crankbait reel will have a gear ratio around 4:1 to 6:1, the latter being a better choice. What does this ratio mean?

To put it simply, 6:1 means that one complete revolution of the handle will revolve the spool six times. This is great for added control and efficient fishing. Thus, you have to consider the gear ratio. It eliminates the strong reliance on the handle for functioning.

The drag adjustment

Crankbait reels, especially spinning crankbait reels, offer a system of drag adjustment. For bass fishing, it becomes vital as the drag adjustment can determine fiction and resistance. Many fishes fight against the pull from the rod.

Apart from rod's integrity, drag adjust will safeguard your line from breaking and prevent the kickback if the fish fights back. Overall, drag adjustment enables you to have more control and stability to capture fish efficiently.

Placement of knob

It should be easy to access and use while performing other actions during fishing. You should be able to make fast changes. Therefore, if the adjustment knob is located closer to the reel's handle, it is better.

Important for your line

This could be an essential consideration for compatibility with the line. Every line has a breaking strength, and to prevent you from breaking the line, drag adjustment can help you set the limit.

A general rule of thumb among anglers is to set the drag to the quarter of breaking strength. If you're a rookie angler, then the knob becomes an important consideration.

Understanding the gear

You have already read about 'gear ratio.' Almost every angler pays strong attention to the gear ratio. It is important for control, but there is more to gear than the ratio.

The gear can eliminate the risk of line breaks while you're fishing. It provides you an ease of handling the reel and reinforces the integrity of the reel. Despite all these, many anglers only pay attention to the ratio and neglect the gear.

Material and design

A gear can differ in the material. It usually comprises zinc, aluminum, or brass. Its material can significantly impact the durability to help you with line handling. More importantly, the 'cuts' in the gear's design enable you to handle the reel better.

If you want your reel to work optimally, consider the material of the gear and its design. More importantly, try to aim for stainless steel as others are prone to rust, corrosion, and damage.

Size of the gear

For a crankbait reel, it's no brainer that you need a bigger gear system. As mentioned above, gear range anywhere between 4:1 to 7:1 is apt for a crankbait reel. However, larger gear not only impacts the ratio but also increases the durability.

If you want to catch bigger fish like brass, it is paramount for the gear to be strong. If it breaks, you will have nothing to roll the fish.

Availability of bail arm

This feature is widely absent in baitcasting reels but prevalent in spinning reels. A bail arm can help you cast the line better without any fear of tangling. When you're retracting the line, it will prevent the threads from getting around the handle or reel.

Thus, it is not the most important consideration, but it can make a significant difference. If you're a loose-thread type fisher, you like to keep a large availability of line to roll. It is better to get a bail arm. Most of the spinning reels come with a bail arm that is switch-able.

You can press on it to switch it down and then release it. A bail arm is the tiny metallic part that you can see around the spool area to ease the lining process.

Performance of the line roller

You can compare the roller to the spool as it helps retract the line and organize it on the reel without any problem. Hence, it should be smooth. Many anglers face a problem where the line gets stuck in the rough roller and can tangle.

This is especially a problem if you are fishing for the brass. You need frequent rolling of the lines and steady control. For that, a smooth roller is important. A rough roller can also compromise the integrity of the line by damaging it further. Therefore, it is paramount to get a smooth roller for a crankbait reel.

The durability of the body

Most of the anglers consider the body for its design, color, and appeal. However, more important than that is the durability of the body. After all, the body of the reel connects and keeps all parts and features together.

Proper material

The body of the reel is available in virtually every physically strong material. You will find it in plastic, graphite, and aluminum. For a crankbait reel, it is a wiser choice to get a metal body for higher durability.

You will get under a lot of struggles regarding the fish. The lure may even get stuck to the wood, rock, and other water obstructions. Thus, you need a durable reel to pull the line out without inconvenience.


Most of the reels would require you to apply waterproof coating separately, especially if it's metal. If you're going for saltwater fishing, you have to strongly consider this option. For freshwater, if you don't want to spend on the coating, you can employ the proper cleaning measures.

Remember that graphite or plastic bodies are prone to breaking easily. It would be best to get a metal crankbait reel for your fishing requirements.

Firm foot and seat

Many people overlook the importance of the foot and seat in the reel. It is the part that connects the rod to the reel. Thus, it should be a firm addition to your rod and highly compatible. To find the best crankbait reel for your rod, it is essential to carry your rod with you.

Durability is important

Test the fitting of the reel from the foot to see which one will perfectly suit your rod. The foot of the reel often comprises the same material as its body. Thus, if you buy a metal reel, the foot will be metal as well. Durability is vital in case sudden jerks and pulls won't wear out your reel.

Does the seat matter?

A reel's seat often connects the foot to the rod and reel. It can be an essential consideration because while the foot might not break, the seat might loosen up. If you need it to be firm, consider the seat's design and integrity.

Extra feature to look for

There's an innovative anti-reverse feature available in the market. It eases up the catching and can work with drag adjustment or as its replacement. It prevents the line from getting pulled out from the spool by the fish.

Fishes can be hard to combat and often require robust handling of the reels. If they keep pulling the line back, it could lead to tangles or damage to your reel and rod. By integrating the anti-reverse feature, you can safeguard your crankbait reel significantly.

Switch system

It is better to look for an anti-reverse with a switch. With it, you can activate or deactivate the anti-reverse system according to your experience. If you want to change the method to catch the fish, this could make a significant impact.

Back reeling is a well-known technique many anglers use to loosen the tension and catch it off-guard. If you want that, then your anti-reverse should have the ability to be disabled.

FAQs: Best Crankbait Reels

Q: Can you use baitcasting for lightweight crankbaits?

A: Most of the baitcasting reels are not suitable for lighter fishing or crankbaits. However, you can significantly improve its performance if you use an excellent spool and braking system. More than the reel itself, a cranking rod could help you use a baitcasting rod better.

A pro tip to using baitcasting for light crankbait is to allow the momentum to do its job. If you pull too hard, you will end up facing strong recoil or backlash from the action.

Q: How can you increase the torque?

A: Higher torque is better if you aim for massive fishes. It significantly reduces the stress on your wrists. To increase the torque, you can aim for a lower gear ratio (4:1) for a crankbait reel and lower line recovery.

Q: What is a reasonable line recovery rate for crankbait reels?

A: Whether you opt for a small spool or large one, the optimum line recovery rate should be between 19 to 23 inches per turn. For deep diving crankbaits, this can help you reach maximum depth efficiently.

Anything higher than this would end up requiring more effort and concentration to handle the line and lure. Your focus is the fish, not the line.


There you have it, the complete guide to help you make an informed decision regarding crankbait reels. It's not as simple as breaking down to the type of reel. From material consideration to the features, there's a lot of contemplation you would have to make.

The article helps you simplify the entire process of buying a crankbait reel for your rod. While there's no denying that a spinning reel is overall a better choice, you can still use a baitcasting reel if that's your preference. The tips will help you use the baitcasting reel flawlessly. / - © Copyright 2020