Skip to main content

Color Theories For Crawfish Crankbaits

Color Theories For Crawfish Crankbaits

As I explained in a post earlier this year (Top 10 Cranks), the Rapala DT 6 has been one of the most efficient and productive cranks I use all year. Efficient because it doesn't dive much deeper than I can reach with my rod tip (in case of snags), and productive because, side-by-side, it's been outfishing most other cranks in my box. (The Live Target Crawfish is filing entreaties on that claim this fall, though.)

But do we need 6 different crawfish patterns in the same lure? Personally, I think variety is a great thing to have, especially with color. I just completed a Bass Guide article on color theories of the pros and there was too much information to crowd into one piece. I asked some of them if they adhere to the "match the hatch" school of thought, or are they in with the "what bass see best is best" crowd with respect to colors of crawfish crankbaits.

I asked Dion Hibdon that question years ago, and he said one of the first things he does when he arrives at a lake he's going to compete on is walk the shorelines and turn over rocks. He would capture craws and take them back to his room to try and find or create the closest match he could to the naturals. We might call that the "match the hatch extreme" school of thought.


My good friend Rich Zaleski, whose ideas on color I have always considered sound, is far less dogmatic about craw patterns. "I want a crawfish pattern with green in it and everywhere that doesn't work I want brown and that's close enough for me," he said.


Larry Nixon, winner of this year's FLW event on Lake St. Clair, has a pretty similar assessment of the situation. "I use brown or green or orange for crawfish," he said. "Those are the only basic colors you need to play with when it's a crawfish bite. If they spit one up in the livewell, then I really know how to tweak my color patterns from there."

Tweaking a crank might be done with a paint pen or highlighter, but Larry's typically talking about plastics when he's matching craws (being one of the planet's finest worm fishermen). Of course, with 6 different craw patterns in the Rapala DT series, the realism of the Live Target Crawfish, and the myriad other crawfish-pattern cranks on the market, you can "match the hatch" anywhere with a fair selection of baits without needing to touch up any lures. Different companies make lures in different shades, of course, even when following the same basic guidelines. In the middle of the pack above you see Rapala's natural olive-to-cream shading. The Bomber 6A, another favorite of mine, has a very similar color pattern in the lineup, but the olive back is darker and fades to black on top, while the belly is almost beige.

Can shades of colors so similar make a difference? With cranks it's hard to distinguish whether an improvement in the bite is a result of a color change or an action change when colors are so close. Not so with plastics, for the most part. But can different shades and versions of the same color make a big difference sometimes? The 2013 Bass Guide article offers opinions and anecdotes on that and other aspects of color from scientists and pros.

In the next post we'll delve into an area of thinking on color that doesn't appear in the article at all: Just how complicated is the concept of lure color?


Get Your Fish On.

Plan your next fishing and boating adventure here.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Lew

Lew's Kevin VanDam Fishing Tools

The bass-fishing legend talks about Lew's new tools with In-Fisherman's Todd Ceisner as part of the 2020 ICAST New Fishing Gear Guide.

Portable Hornady Rapid Safes - Security on the Water

Portable Hornady Rapid Safes - Security on the Water

Hornady Security has a new line of portable safes with applications for anglers who want to have a firearm on board their boats, just in case.

Saltx 4000 And 6000 Spinning Reels

Saltx 4000 And 6000 Spinning Reels

Fully sealed design to The new Saltx 4000 & 6000 Spinning Reels will come with a fully sealed design to keep to prevent saltwater or sand intrusion. It features a titanium-coated line roller, and Saltx a 50-pound max drag. MSRP $399.99to prevent saltwater or sand intrusion.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

Do pike under ice cover choose the same types of habitats they use in summer?Pike Movement and Habitat: Summer vs. Winter Pike & Muskie

Pike Movement and Habitat: Summer vs. Winter

Dr. Rob Nuemann

Do pike under ice cover choose the same types of habitats they use in summer?

Everything you need to know about popular catfish species and how to catch them on proven riggings. All About Catfish Catfish

All About Catfish

Rob Neumann

Everything you need to know about popular catfish species and how to catch them on proven...

You're going to love this Beer-Battered Fish Fingers Recipe! These deep-fried walleye strips are tasty and dress up nicely when served in a basket or on a plate with fresh fruit such as grapes and strawberries.Beer-Battered Fish Fingers Recipe Fish Recipes

Beer-Battered Fish Fingers Recipe

In-Fisherman

You're going to love this Beer-Battered Fish Fingers Recipe! These deep-fried walleye strips...

Check out this Largemouth Bass Length To Weight Conversion Chart, a simple and accurate explanation from the In-Fisherman biologists. Largemouth Bass Length To Weight Conversion Chart Bass

Largemouth Bass Length To Weight Conversion Chart

Dr. Rob Neumann - January 22, 2017

Check out this Largemouth Bass Length To Weight Conversion Chart, a simple and accurate...

See More Trending Articles

More Baits

While tackle fads come and go, spinnerbaits have remained a staple of the bassin' trade forSpinnerbaits: Top Picks for Fishing Variety Baits

Spinnerbaits: Top Picks for Fishing Variety

Dan Johnson - March 22, 2015

While tackle fads come and go, spinnerbaits have remained a staple of the bassin' trade for

This new buzz bait is going to catch some bigguns.New BOOYAH Squelcher Buzz Bait Baits

New BOOYAH Squelcher Buzz Bait

In-Fisherman Online Staff - July 12, 2018

This new buzz bait is going to catch some bigguns.

 In-Fisherman friend Scott Bonnema factors flavors and pheromones into many bassMaking Sense of Scented Softbaits Baits

Making Sense of Scented Softbaits

Dan Johnson - August 14, 2015

In-Fisherman friend Scott Bonnema factors flavors and pheromones into many bass

Minn Kota,'has earned top honors at the fishing industry's most prestigious trade show, theMinn Kota Wins "Best Boating Accessory" with MEGA Down Imaging Baits

Minn Kota Wins "Best Boating Accessory" with MEGA Down Imaging

In-Fisherman Online Staff - July 13, 2018

Minn Kota,'has earned top honors at the fishing industry's most prestigious trade show, the

See More Baits

Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE Arrow

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All In-Fisherman subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now