Outdoor Life Online Editor
SHARE

We may earn revenue from the products available on this page and participate in affiliate programs.

They cover the water column from zero to 30 feet and beyond. A novice can catch fish with them, but in the hands of an expert they’re magic. Serious anglers fill boxes with models designed for every depth and action. Here’s a starter selection of classic and state-of-the-art crankbaits guaranteed to kick your game into high gear from the get-go.

[BRACKET “RANGE 0-3 FT.”]

BASS PRO SHOPS XPS LAZER EYE EXTREME SHALLOW CRANK
Lifelike 3-D red eyes, finishes that increase refraction in bright sun, loud rattles and a chubby profile mark this 2-inch bait, which is ideal for triggering active fish. ($3.99; 800-227-7776; basspro.com)

BAGLEY B FLAT II
Its flat sides produce the fastest wobble of any of Bagley’s B baits. This one rises quickly when retrieve is stopped. The subdued finish is good for clear shallows and spooky fish. ($8.99; 800-869-9941; bagleybait.com)

** CABELA’S JUNE FROG**
Whether you’re using a stop-go retrieve to mimic a frog or a faster crank to suggest other forage, this bait runs with its back waking the surface. Its froggy look can’t hurt, either. ($2.99; 800-237-4444; cabelas.com)

[BRACKET “RANGE 3-6 FT.”]

RAPALA DT4
Designed by crankbait king Dave Fritts, DT baits dive fast to their specific depths and stay there longer. On 10-pound-test mono this one gets to 4 feet, where spring bluegills both spawn and swipe bass eggs. ($5.99; 800-874-4451; rapala.com)

BOMBER MODEL A
True-running even at fast speeds, the Model A is a time-proven workhorse that should be in everyone’s crank box. A firetiger finish is good for aggressive fish and stained water. ($3.99; 479-782-8971; lurenet.com)

MANN THINN-MANN
Weighted to produce a slow rise, this quiet bait runs with an ultra-tight wiggle thanks to its flat sides, and comes with red hooks that give a wounded look. ($6.45; 800-841-8435; mannsbait.com)

[pagebreak] [BRACKET “RANGE 6-10 FT.”]

YAKIMA TIMBER TIGER DC8
A loud bait designed to bump through cover, the Timber Tiger has a skip-beat body motion and runs fine at slow and fast speeds. A great baitfish mimic in natural finish. ($6.65; 509-854-1311; yakimabait.com)

BAGLEY B FLAT II COFFIN LIP
This diver deflects well through cover and produces a fast wobble. Works well even at ultra-slow speeds. ($8.99; 800-869-9941; bagleybait.com)

SMITHWICK DEEP ROGUE JR.
This 3½-inch bait has a rolling action similar to the larger Spoonbill Rogue. It’ll maintain depth when trolled or cranked. ($5.00; 479-782-8971; lurenet.com)

[BRACKET “RANGE 10+ FT.”]

MANN DEPTH PLUS 30+
The deepest runner in Mann’s Depth Plus series is a rattler that floats at rest, cranks to 30 feet and runs even deeper trolled. Its black back silhouettes well at depth. ($5.90; 800-841-8435; mannsbait.com)

RAPALA DT 16
An ultra-thin lip helps this bait dive quickly to 16 feet. The thin tail and rattle-equipped balsa body create a tight, vibrating motion. The chartreuse shows well in murky water. ($5.99; 800-874-4451; rapala.com)

BASS PRO SHOPS RICK CLUNN ETI-10 ORION
Side rib indetentations produce turbulence to attract fish in discolored water. The coffin bill helps deflect rocks and timber. ($6.00; 800-227-7776; basspro.com)