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How to Tie a Crankbait: Pros and Cons of the Most Popular Techniques

Tying crankbaits isn’t exactly rocket science, but it’s something people ask a lot about nonetheless.

Which knot is the best for crankbaits? Should you use snaps or just tie directly to the split ring?

These choices matter, both in terms of how quickly you can get your lure back in the water as well as how often you’ll need to retie, so these aren’t foolish questions.

In this article, we’re going to go through the details of tying on a crankbait, covering the most common choices and their advantages and disadvantages.

Do you want to take your fishing to the next level?

Keep reading!


Popular Options for Tying Crankbaits

how to tie a crankbait

Palomar to split ring


  • Strong connection
  • Easy to tie
  • Fast
  • Works well with all line types with a simple improvement


  • The split ring can damage your line
  • Can be a pain to pass over a big treble hook

The Palomar knot is as perennial favorite, and pretty much every seasoned angler knows why.

It’s ridiculously strong, easy to tie, and fast, too. Even better, it’s easy to adapt to braid by increasing a single loop at the start.

We’ve got the full rundown on the excellent Palomar if you need a refresher: How to Tie the Palomar Knot: A Complete Guide

Right off the bat, the advantages are clear: the Palomar provides a strong connection, plays well with all line types, and gets you back in the action quickly.

So what’s not to like?

If you look carefully, you’ll see the problematic area of the split ring resting against the eye of the crankbait.

If you look closely at the split ring on your crankbait, you’ll notice the gap in the wire that leaves a sharp edge and an empty space. As you fish your lure, your knot will want to move to that location, and some anglers have had problems with fraying and line damage as a result.

San Diego Jam to split ring


  • Strong connection
  • Easy to tie
  • Pretty fast
  • Works well with all line types


  • The split ring can damage your line
  • Just slightly slower than the Palomar

The San Diego Jam is also a popular crankbait knot, sharing many of the advantages of the Palomar connection.

It’s very strong as well, works with mono, fluoro, and braid, and ties quickly. And while the Palomar may be a hair faster, the need to pass a loop over a crankbait can be a pain, something the San Diego jam doesn’t require.

If you want to get caught up on this excellent knot, we’ve got you covered: How to Tie the San Diego Jam Knot

Again, split ring connections can be an issue, especially with braid. But plenty of anglers are happy to tie directly to the split ring supplied by the lure manufacturer and start casting.

To clip/snap or not?


  • Much faster when you’re switching lures constantly


  • Creates a new point of potential failure
  • Can pick up junk
  • May affect action

We’ve covered this topic in depth before, and if you want the full run down, take a look:

To Clip or Not to Clip: Should You Tie Directly to a Crankbait or Use a Snap?

Problems with split rings are common enough that some anglers just won’t use them. 

But the biggest reason that you’ll see fishermen running crankbaits with a clip or snap is speed.

Tie one good knot, once, and you can switch crankbaits 15 times in 5 minutes if you need to. A good snap just speeds things up when you’re searching for the right color, pattern, or action for your situation, and you’ll see a lot of snaps on the tournament trail for just this reason.

But clips don’t solve every problem, and they create some of their own.

First off, clips can fail, and adding one to the equation of line + knot just creates one more thing that can go wrong.

Second, they can pick up trash, though this usually isn’t that big a deal.

Third, you might get away without retying while you run through your colors and patterns, but once you start catching, even the toughest lines are going to demand retying.

That’s a simple fact that you shouldn’t ignore. 

A hard-fighting bass is going to run your line past some bad, bad stuff - and from logs to pilings, rocks to stumps, abrasion, fraying, and line damage are almost certain.

So while the clip can speed things up initially, and it will cut downtime overall, it’s not a once-and-done solution.

Finally, clips may impair the action of some crankbaits, though legions of fans disagree. 

Personally, I haven’t noticed any problems, and overall, I’d recommend clips rather than tying directly to the split ring.

Now whether you clip to the split ring or to the lure itself is your choice, but I see no problem with split rings and snaps.

Final Thoughts

We hope you’ve had some of your questions answered by this article, or at least had your good choices confirmed.

As always, we’d love to hear from you, so please leave a comment below.

About The Author
Pete Danylewycz
Born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, Pete grew up fishing on the Great Lakes. Whether he's casting a line in a quiet freshwater stream or battling a monster bass, fishing is his true passion.