Bass Angler Magazine

KVD’s Sleeper Bass Crankbait

There’s likely hundreds of thousands of crankbait variations when you factor in colors and sizes. So needless to say, it’s impossible for any of us to try them all. Even certain companies now have too many baits to sample top to bottom. 

But we have to be careful not to overlook the obvious. 

Take Strike King for instance. They offer a crankbait for every water depth, clarity and temperature. Baits that set the precedent in their demographic like the 10XD, 6XD, 5XD and 1.5.

But there has to be a sleeper in there somewhere right? 

KVD’s Sleeper Crankbait

That’s the question we posed for cranking phenom Kevin VanDam and his answer didn’t disappoint. 

“A 3XD is one of those baits that does get overlooked a lot,” VanDam said. “For the tiny profile it has, it runs extremely deep.”

With a profile about the size of the famed KVD 1.5, this bait’s max depth shouldn’t be able to exceed 7 or 8-feet. But thanks to the XD (extra deep) lip design, it surpasses expectation and can be easily overlooked for certain depth ranges. 

“It’s very easy for me to hit the bottom with that bait in 12-feet, even with baitcasting gear and 10-pound fluorocarbon.”

Because of its ability to reach deeper depths with a smaller profile, the 3XD has been a cleanup bait for VanDam for years. And it’s one he turns to quickly on fisheries where the bite is tough in the fall and winter. 

VanDam is also often tasked with a unique challenge: Taking people who don’t fish and trying to help them catch fish.

“I’ve had so many trips for sponsor outings in the fall, on Table Rock lake for instance, where it can be a really tough bite. The fish are so scattered, if they’re throwing a dropshot or a Ned rig or something like that, they wouldn’t get many bites at all. And it’s boring too,” he said. 

“So for a beginner, I can take a 3XD, put it on a spinning rod with 8-pound fluorocarbon or even 10-pound braid and an 8-pound fluorocarbon leader and they can cast it a mile. It throws well for its size and that thing literally gets down 12-feet deep very easily in that situation. It generates a ton of strikes and it has a tighter action which makes it a really good cold water bait.”


Why is This Crankbait so Overlooked? 

Well for starters, Strike King makes dozens of styles of crankbaits. Arguably more than any other single company. And the popularity of a few of those baits overshadows the rest. 

“It’s a dynamite bait.”

“Most people just go straight to the 5XD. The 5XD and the 6XD are the benchmark in their categories. But the 3XD flat catches them. For real tough conditions, when I need a bait that will run extremely deep for its profile, that 3XD is hard to beat. It’s a sleeper for me for sure.”

This article was contributed by an ANGLR Expert

Become an ANGLR Expert and apply here.


Shaye Baker started fishing with his dad in Alabama as soon as they could find a life jacket small enough to fit him. Competing with his father in local tournaments, Shaye quickly found a hunger for competitive bass fishing. He furthered his fishing career at Auburn University helping to establish the Auburn University Bass Fishing Club. While at Auburn, Shaye served as the President of the club and qualified to fish on the traveling team amassing six Top 5 finishes including two 3rd place finishes in consecutive FLW College Fishing National Championships. While beginning to dabble in the world of outdoor journalism, Shaye continued to fish semi-pro events finishing in the Top 5 in the Bassmaster Opens, FLW Costa Series and BFLs. Finding himself at a crossroads, Shaye chose to put down the rod and pick up the pen and camera to focus on his career in outdoor journalism. Shaye has had work featured in Bassmaster Magazine, FLW Outdoors Magazine, B.A.S.S.Times and the Japanese bass fishing magazine Basser. Shaye has also had work featured on ESPN and Wired2Fish.com, FLWfishing.com and Bassmaster.com. While working with B.A.S.S., Shaye initiated and spearheaded their GoPro division which brought more video coverage to the fans than had ever been done before in competitive fishing. After his tenure with some of the best companies in the business, Shaye identified a need for competitive fishing where participation didn’t cost a fortune. By founding UPLOADED, the Online Fishing Series, Shaye established a free tournament series where anglers could film their fish catches and upload their videos to compete against other anglers for prizes.

Read more from Shaye >>

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