Dwain’s radical crankbait color selection theory

Posted by Dwain Batey on Jan 24th 2020

Dwain’s radical crankbait color selection theory

How many times do you see a question on the internet about bass fishing, and everyone chimes in with the same advice? Do you ever wonder how many of these 

people are just “Parroting” what they’ve seen or read “should” be the answer? I very rarely see anything new anymore, maybe a lure that’s hot, or something being brought back that hasn’t been in the spotlight, but so very few new ideas come out. Then I think about some of the ideas that I have, and I think, oh, if you put out something new people are going to think you’re nuts. Oh well, let’s go…

I’m going to lay out a simple, yet proven idea about selecting colors for baits. This is mostly for hard baits like crankbaits, but I’ve started to test it on other baits like spinnerbaits and soft plastics as well. This will fly against everything you’ve probably ever read about how you should go about selecting a bait color. Just in case you’re not familiar with conventional wisdom it goes like this. The clearer the water the more you should use natural colors, even transparent or translucent colors, and the dirtier the water the brighter your offering should be. This isn’t completely false, but some of why it works is similar to how a broken clock is still right twice a day.

In the last two years, I’ve started to develop another method of choosing what crankbait color to throw, and it’s not based on how clear or dirty the water is like conventional wisdom dictates. I first started to develop this theory purely by accident, and then started to experiment with it until I had something viable that has been reproduced over and over now. Let’s get into what I’m talking about here.

Two years ago I was fishing a tournament on a very muddy lake, I’m talking water so muddy you couldn’t see what color topwater you were throwing. I selected a Skirmish Baits M9 Squarebill in a very bright color for the event and did ok, but two others outfished me also throwing our M9 but in much more subtle colors. This perplexed me, but at the time I had not connected the dots. Fast forward to the next Fall, now I’m fishing the M9 in the Crystal color pattern, which is basically clear with a little black on the nose and has red eyes. Why did I choose this color? This is my goto color when I see the fish chasing shad that are shorter than two inches long. Because I had seen bass feeding on shad about an inch in length I tied on the Crystal M9 and started catching fish right away, after having a brighter color tied on before with no success. At this point, I have a few instances of the color of the lure working isn’t that of conventional wisdom. Now I am starting to figure it out, and I begin to really delve into what I think is happening.

Fast forward through a lot of testing my theory, and here we are. I now believe that water color is NOT the most important factor in choosing your crankbait color. I firmly believe that a bass has no trouble finding subtle colors in dirty water, and no problem with eating bright colors in clear water. So what makes these bass prefer a certain color then? Well I’ve decided after much personal testing that it has much more to do with the mood of the fish, be this from Fishing Pressure, High Barometric Pressure, or anything that has them not wanting to feed is when I choose natural and even transparent colors, and this goes for muddy or clear water. On the other side of the spectrum if the fish are chasing bait, the fishing pressure is minimal, and/or the Barometric pressure is falling putting fish in a good mood i’ll choose brighter colors even in clear water. To even further simplify, active fish react better to bright color crankbaits, and inactive fish react better to natural or transparent crankbaits no matter what the water color is.

Some of you will dismiss this, but if you will do a little research and try this on your own it may help you catch more fish on a crankbait, especially on days when doing what you’ve always been taught might lead you to believe that “they aren’t eating a crankbait today”

Dwain Batey