When looking at a reel for fishing crankbaits, look at bait casters. Gear ratio is the important component. When you fish crankbaits you want a reel that slows down your retrieve. Meaning that for every turn of your reel, less line is retrieved and the action of the bait slows. If you are fishing cold water, slow your retrieve even slower still.
What gear ratio do you want for fishing crankbaits?
Most in the know fisherman will recommend a bait caster crankbait reel geared to:
6:3:1 on the higher end
4:3:1 on the lower end
A gear ratio defined is the number of teeth that the main gear of the reel compared to the number of teeth that the pinion gear of the reel crank has, the ratio between the two is the gear ratio. Meaning that if the main gear on your reel has 60 teeth and the pinion gear has 10, you have a 6:1 ratio. The higher the ratio, the faster the retrieve, the more line brought in with a single revolution of the reel. The lower the gear ratio the slower the retrieve per revolution of the reel.
The best way to get a feel for this is to run a crankbait with a couple of different geared reels. Remember, you want a good action on your bait, but you want the bait in front of the fish as long as possible.
You can slow down or slow up your retrieve and utilize sweeps or jerks of the rod to change the lure presentation. Finally, you will want a reel that can spool a lot of line for long casts at the line weight you plan to fish.
Daiwa crankbait reels
Shakespeare crankbait reels
Shimano crankbait reels
Abu Garcia crankbait reels
Quantum crankbait reels