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.

Recommended for You

Walleye

Spring Walleye Fishing Tackle Choices

Steve Ryan - October 19, 2017

Spring walleye fishing often means large numbers of fish concentrated in small areas.

Bass

Buzzbaits for Bass

Dan Johnson - February 02, 2015

To help you get a handle on it all, we offer the following rundown of top choices on the...

Bass

Deep Cranking Confessions from the Pro's

John Neporadny Jr - December 18, 2017

Here's some important crankbait lessons from the big leagues.

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

New Abu Garcia Baitcasting Reels

In the booth of one of fishing's all-time great reel makers, Outdoor Sportsman Group writer Lynn Burkhead and Andrew Wheeler of Pure Fishing discuss one of the brand new baitcasting reels from Abu Garcia being released at ICAST 2019.

Mustad Skatter Shad Bladed Jig

As Mustad continues to expand into an all-around tackle company, Reid McKinstry shows off some innovative features that make the Mustad Skatter Shad bladed jig a winner in big bass waters.

Bug-Repellent Clothing from L.L. Bean

L.L. Bean No Fly Zone and Insect Shield apparel won't let bugs ruin a fishing trip. With Jeff Miller of L.L. Bean and Game & Fish Editorial Director Adam Heggenstaller at ICAST 2019 in Orlando.

See more Popular Videos

Trending Stories

Walleye

Understanding Spring Walleye Migrations

Gord Pyzer - June 02, 2018

'Walleyes spawn in spring and understanding spring walleye migrations, whether you live north...

Pike & Muskie

How To Catch Pike In Spring

Dan Johnson - April 26, 2016

Spring is prime time for pike. The Prespawn and Postspawn periods offer excellent odds at...

Catfish

Catfish Pole Rigs

Richard Peterson with In-Fisherman - April 28, 2016

Pole lines illustrate the paradox of catfishing. At a time when excellent rods, reels, and...

See More Stories

More Baits

Baits

New Bandit Rack-It Deflects and Makes Noise

In-Fisherman Online Staff - July 13, 2018

The new Bandit Rack-It combines deflection, action and sound for a fully well-rounded square...

Baits

2018 ICAST Hardbaits

Cory Schmidt - June 26, 2018

Jerkbaits, Spybaits. Squarebills. Lipless lures. Deep, shallow and medium divers. Topwater,...

Baits

Best Trout Lures And Baits

Dan Johnson - November 13, 2017

Trout are opportunistic predators that feed on a wide variety of forage and hit a broad...

See More Baits

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Temporary Price Reduction

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

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

×