Jerkbait vs. Crankbait – What are the Differences?

Almost every angler either uses crankbait or Jerkbait for their fishing lures. These two fishing lures are quite popular, especially when bass fishing. Which of these two baits is best for you? What is the difference between these two baits? A majority of anglers won’t be able to give a clear answer.

To start our conversation, you need to understand that jerkbait and crankbait are both hard plastic baits. For this reason, they are typically used when you want to catch a specific fish species such as bass or walleye. These two fishing lures mimic the forage that these fish eat, making them the perfect bait.

What has made the crankbait and Jerkbait so popular among many anglers is that you don’t need to bring any extra tackle. You can target many types of fish in different waters and depths using the same fishing lure.

From a quick glance, these two fishing lures seem so similar that most people substitute one for the other every time. However, today we will be focusing more on the difference between these two fishing lures.

Jerkbait and Crankbait Bills (lips)


JerkBait or Crankbait?


The lip, commonly known as the bill, determines the type of wiggle action that the lure you pick gives you and the diving depth when retrieving it. Instantly, you will notice that the crankbait has a larger bill when compared to the jerkbait.

The crankbait has a broader and longer bill that enables it to dive up to 15 feet. On the other hand, the jerkbait is almost the same size as the fingernail. This creates a considerable difference between these two fish lures if you hadn’t noticed it before.

The type of fishing, alongside the type and size of the fish, will determine the kind of bill that will make excellent bait. Most tackle shops will have jerkbait and crankbait with different bills for you to select which you want. Ensure that you specify what type of fish you are targeting to get proper guidance on which lure to get.


Jerkbait vs Crankbait Body Type

Have you noticed that jerkbait is longer and slender while crankbait is shorter and fatter? In terms of design, the crankbait will have two treble hooks, while the jerkbait will have three. Soon enough, you get to realize that their bodies are very different.

Most people prefer using the crankbait because its shorter and fatter size mimics a nice snack size for predatory fish. Most people don’t know that jerkbait’s are equally effective depending on the type of fish.

As stated earlier, you need to pick your fish lure, considering the type of fish that you want to go for. A bigger-sized fish will always go for a slightly more substantial meal. The fishing technique you employ will equally dictate the fish lure that you get.


Jerkbait vs Crankbait Retrieval Depth

The crankbait has various bill shapes and sizes, which means that you get to choose the right crankbait for the water depth you have in mind. The bill sizes and shape ensure that crankbait can dive to almost 25 feet if you know your way around fishing.

The jerkbait, on the other hand, is more suitable for upper side fishing of between one to three inches because they don’t have a variety of bill sizes. Most anglers prefer using the jerkbait on shallow waters for best performance. If you plan to fish in a lake or creek, then the jerkbait is your best option.

However, when you are planning to visit the lake, the crankbait is a good option. The seasoned anglers know at what depth different fish are at what time of the year. If you are a beginner, then you can always join a fishing club to learn from experienced fishermen.

What if you want a fish lure with both qualities? In such a situation, you will need to go for the lipless crankbait. These have shallow diving depth but still look like the crankbait and give you the same action.

Jerkbait vs Crankbait Swimming Action

Jerbait and Crankbait Comparison

When you want to make a great catch, the swimming action of your fish lure matters. Both the crankbait and jerkbait have an aggressive wobble swimming action that mimics a typical fish. However, the fish lure that you pick will depend on the scenario that you find yourself in at the time.


Creeks, Ponds, and Shallow Waters

You probably know that the best places to fish bass are in the creeks and ponds. However, it is not an easy task since you could catch vegetation all day long if you go too deep. The jerkbait is better suited for shallow water fishing because they stay closer to the surface and banks. If you must use a crankbait, then ensure that you go for the lipless design.


Lakes, Deeper Waters

In deep water, the crankbait is always your best solution because it offers you a lot of flexibility. However, you need to have a variety of these crankbaits to have a productive day. The floating crankbait is ideal when you want to cover an ample water space while looking for the best place to cast your line.

You could always switch to a large bill crankbait when you find the perfect spot. This means that you get to reach the ideal depth faster once you are in the targeted area. An experienced angler always has a variety of crankbaits to ensure that they always have an exciting experience.


Jerkbait vs Crankbait Fishing Technique

Man Fishing With CrankbaitThe crankbait seems like a more delicious snack to most types of fish due to its round shape. This means that you don’t need to apply too much force when casting. You can just let it sit for a while and reeling in the bait.

A jerkbait, however, is smaller, and you need to jerk the rod constantly so that you mimic the illusion of a small fish struggling to escape. This can be exhausting and difficult to accomplish when you are a beginner.  See Also:  Best Spinning Rod Under $100

Whether you pick a crankbait or jerkbait may come down to your fishing experience and technique. A beginner will find it difficult to mimic the illusion of a fish trying to get away. This means that you need a lot of practice to use the jerkbait effectively.

I started with a crankbait because I got to sit there and wait to start reeling in the fish. The excellent news with fishing is that you get to learn quickly, and soon enough, using a jerkbait seems like a simple task.



If you are planning to fish in shallow waters, you need a jerkbait. However, should you be planning to do your fishing in deep waters, then get the crankbait. It all comes down to your preference and the depth of the water. At one time or the other, you will need to use a crankbait or jerkbait. It is always a good idea to pack both the crankbaits and jerkbait when going for a fishing expedition. You never know the situation that you will find yourself in when fishing.