Crankbait Colors

Crankbait color is low on my list of concerns. I know, I know, color names are quirky and we talk about the color names like they're our friends, but remember that they are primarily targeted at catching you. Put the right bait at the right depth and don't obsess over color. If you're caught up worrying about lure color instead of studying your sonar/gps you won't get the results that you want. I would rather have an unpainted lure in front of a fish than a $20 custom paint job aimlessly swimming through fishless water.

All that being said, colors are a lot of fun. For me collecting crankbaits has replaced my baseball card collecting hobby from my childhood years. Sure, I justify each new crankbait with some specific situation in mind, but let's be realistic. If I forced myself to I could survive with about 25% of the crankbaits that get loaded onto the boat each trip. After doing all of your homework and finding the right fish I believe that the whole color issue boils down to one key point. Make sure that your crankbait is visible with the conditions that you're fishing, and make sure that it's in the ballpark of something that they might eat. It sounds simple, but if you let color choice psych you out you'll forget to pay attention to the important details.

For clear to stained water I've switched to running primarily white based color patters with an occasional chrome/shad based pattern. For Reef Runner lures the white based patterns include: gray ghost, white-purple hot tiger, eriedescent, all three wonderbreads, mooneye minnow, Barbie, pink lemonade, emerald shiner, pink squirrel, and trick-or-treat. Out of that group I run white-purple hot tiger and pink lemonade the most. Neither of those two look much like anything walleye eat, but I believe that they have enough white to almost look like something natural. What they do have are color accents that make them stick out without being overwhelming. The chrome based patterns include: monkey puke, blue Hawaiian, gold watermelon, gold clown, silver/blue, the old version of purple prism, trailer trash and fruit loops. Out of that group blue Hawaiian and gold clown get a lot of water time. Bare naked has received a lot of hype and I plan to give it a fair shot this season.

For dirtier water dark or bright baits are the ticket. Reef Runner colors that I use include: blueberry muffin, purple demon, sunspot (or spotted sunset, whichever one is like firetiger, I've seen the same bait with two different names and I'm not sure which one is correct), cat-dog, bubblegum, and hot tiger.

As far as Rapala colors for both shallow and deep husky jerks I use the following: clown, Tennessee shad, glass purple perch, glass pink clown, silver/black, and gold/orange/black. On the deep tail dancers don't go without purpledescent and blue flash.

I'm still learning what colors work best in what conditions. I listed the Reef Runners as clear water vs. dirty water colors, but of course I've had clear colors work in dirty water and vice versa. It all goes back to finding feeding fish and putting the right style lure in front of their face at the right speed for their mood.

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