JB3 Rods : Crankin' Corner
"Over the last couple years, I've spent a considerable amount of time throwing crankbaits. Square-bills, medium-divers, deep-cranks, all of it. Building the right rods for crankbaits is something I really dove into, and want to share my findings with you.
Let's start with our 7'0 crankbait rods. Currently, we offer (3) of them;
If you have any of the rods listed above, it's really hard to leave home without them, regardless of the time of year or lake you're going to. Typically, my personal Quick Draws are usually linked up with a Rapala BX Brat or a Strike King 1.5 Squarebill. While the rods mentioned above are excellent square-bill rods, they have also proven to be great for lipless crankbaits. Additionally, if you like a longer jerkbait rod, these rods fill that need as well.
While I mostly throw 3-5' diving square-bills on these rods, I also love them for a Rapala OG Slim 6, Rapala DT 6 and Strike King Series 3.
Regardless of the bait, my go to reel for these applications has been the relatively new Shimano Curado 150 MGL, geared in 6.2:1. 99% of the time, they're spooled with 12lb Seaguar Invis-X. For me, this combination offers the best in the categories where you need it; casting distance & accuracy, diving depth & sensitivity.
Moving over to the "not crazy shallow / not crazy deep" section, we have (2) rods, but I'm really going to focus on one;
El Gordo is a rod that is a sleeper of a crankbait rod. However, it's not a dedicated cranking rod as the design is meant to offer versatility. So, we'll look at my Gunslinger set ups.
The Series Two : Gunslinger is 7'4, medium-heavy power, moderate action rod. I call it a medium-heavy but it really should be a "heavy-medium". If there was a line between a medium powered rod and a medium-heavy powered rod, this one would fall right in the middle. The length gives you ability to make incredibly long casts, which is wildly important the deeper the water you're fishing. The baits usually tied on this rod, for me, are Rapala DT 8, DT 10 and DT 14. Additionally, I use this rod for Strike King 3XD and 5XD. Recently, I've really liked using the same reel mentioned above, Shimano Curado 150 MGL, geared at 6.2:1, with 12lb Seaguar Invis-X.
For the deeper crankbaits, the go-to rod is the Series Two : Big Iron. This rod is 7'8, heavy power, moderate action. The casting distance of this rod is second to none when we talk about the bigger, deeper crankbaits. Baits like a Rapala DT 16 & DT 20, along with Strike King 6XD, 8XD and 10XD are perfect matches for the Big Iron. I typically use two reels, depending on a few variables. I'll match the rod with a Shimano Curado 200 K, geared in 6.2:1, or a Shimano Curado 200PG K, geared in 5.0:1 (the "PG" stands for Power Gear, hence the gear ratio being 5.0:1, which offers incredible power). Again, my go to line here is Seaguar Invis X, usually 12lb.
When utilizing a deeper crankbait (16 + feet), a rod too far on either end of the spectrum will do one of two things; too soft of a rod requires alot of work, creating unnecessary "drag" when retrieving the bait. This is best described by having to fight the bait as your bringing it through deep water. Too stiff of a rod will typically result in baits getting snagged, or losing fish due to the stiff nature of the rod ripping the hooks out of the fish's mouth. The Big Iron is a perfect blend of power and forgiveness.
Regardless of the bait, one of the most important things a rod has to do is get the fish to the boat. This is especially true when talking about crankbaits. We want rods that offer a "parabolic" deflection, which means the rod loads deeper into the blank. In addition, a rod that loads properly will allow you to achieve a longer cast and help the bait deflect off of cover. Longer casts means more time spent in the strike zone and more water covered."
Here are a few crankbait rod selections that are sure to help you grow your crankin' skills!