The importance of a properly tuned crankbait

ReefRunner crankbaits

What does tuning a crankbait mean, and why is it important? Before I answer those questions, let me ask you this: have you ever been trolling with all of the same style of crankbaits out, like Reef Runners, Rogues, Deep Husky Jerks, or any other hard bodied bait, that just didn’t seem to catch fish when the others were? Chances are that that one crankbait was simply out of tune and running a little funny.

Making sure your cranks are running true is simple to do. But all cranks are not created equal. Some run true right out of the box, and won’t need tuning until after you’ve caught several big fish on them. Others need to be checked as soon as you take them out of their packaging. For example, the Reef Runner has an erratic “hunting” pattern that goes from side to side when pulled through the water that makes it irresistible to the walleye, but if it’s out of tune, it will not achieve that “hunting” action. However, when it’s tested by the side of the boat, it should dive down and pull relatively straight. 

How to test a lure: Go to the back corner of the boat and let about 10-20 feet of line out. Let the lure drift back till the line is taught, and then give it a sweeping pull forward without raising the rod tip. If the lure darts to one side or the other and stays there, it’s out of tune and not running true. To fix this issue use a needle nose pliers, or tuning device specifically made for this operation, and bend the nose ring (the ring the main line is attached to) in the direction you want the lure to start running. So, for example, if it’s darting to the left, bend it to the right, making very small adjustments until its running straight. This should actually be done with every crankbait you set out for the first time on each trip. Doing this will definitely help you put more fish in the boat.

Captain Juls can be contacted by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or by phone at 419-835-7347. Her website address is

back to top