Choosing the best crankbait colors is a matter of recognizing the enviornment in which you’re fishing and tailoring your selection to meet those requirements. In this article, we’re going to talk a little bit about how to choose the right crankbait color for the job and why those colors work in those situations. Let’s start with where you’ll be using a crank bait.
In most cases, you’ll be bouncing a crank bait off the bottom around stumps or rocks. You’re generally looking to fish a depth of 15 feet or less with these lures, and they tend to shine in summer when the bass have more energy to chase bait. Knowing this, we can conclude that the best colors for these baits are:
A lot of Pros really tear it up using red crayfish style crank baits. If you’ve read our other lure articles, like “best senko colors for bass“, then you’ll know that red and green are the colors that bass see the best! Their vision is limited in regards to other colors, and that’s why a lot of bass lures contain red or green sparkle flakes.
However, a straight red crankbait is an excellent choice for bass fishing, especially in murky waters. The bright color really helps the bait to stand out, and you can get some nice strikes out of it. Plus, out of every crankbait color, fishermen have reported the most success using red. So, if you add any colors of crankbait to your tackle box, make it this one!
The second color anglers said worked best for them in our surveys was orange! Which is not really surprising. It’s very similar to red and bass probably see it the same way. While orange may seem like an odd pick, it does appear on many things which Bass like to eat, like crawdads and even in the scales of some panfish.
Anglers say they favor using something like the orange tiger crankbait in the summer time to nab bass. Though there are lots of other solid orange color lures or orange mixed lures as well. Orange and black is another great color combination which you may wish to try, as black can work really well in darker waters.
White is an excellent color to use in murky waters, and any crankbait that resembles a shad tends to do very well. While this is often because the fish are used to hunting down shad, many fishermen claim this color works well even in waters where no shad are living!
Though if you don’t want to go with a straight white lure then there are plenty options available. Silver or pearl versions work well here as well and will fit the task. However, if you can get something with some sparkle thrown in there it’s even better! White is one of the best lure colors for muddy water.
Chartreuse/Purple (or Black)
Another wacky color which works well is this little mix. It’s obnoxious, but many anglers claim it’s one of the best crankbaits in their tackle box! Chartreuse is a color that works really well in dark waters, so it’s likely you’ll be using it for something like night fishing or when the water is very muddy.
While on sunny days this lure may be a bit bright, there are definitely occasions on which it shines. There are a ton of different chartreuse mixes out there too. Other popular combinations include Chartreuse/black, Chartreuse/blue, and Chartreuse/white. Some of these combinations may perform better than others based on the conditions you’re fishing and what the bass are eating.
If you’re fishing in super clear water, then going for a bright colored lure is probably a mistake. It’s very likely that the fish will be put off by an obnoxious color like chartreuse when they can see well (though a natural looking shad lure can still work). However, if you’re looking for something that will work particularly well in this situation, get a bluegill imitator!
Or, something else that looks really natural. Some other ideas include perch pattern crankbaits, or baby bass! This is especially true if you plan to be using a crankbait when in shallower water. Though at 15 feet or so you can probably toss out the brighter colored lures.
This eye catching crankbait features green, orange/yellow, and black hues. It works very well in stained water or on cloudy days if you’re going after large mouth bass. However, it also works really well on small mouth bass who seem to aggressively hit a lot of brightly colored lures like this one.
We’ve already talked about how bass see red really well, but the other color they see well is green! While the use of the firetiger crankbait is more situational, many anglers say they catch a ton of bass on this lure. The trick is knowing when the right time to use this color is.
PS. If you’d like to know more about lure selection and when to use each color make sure to download our free lure color selection chart! It gives you a quick reference for choosing a color based on water clarity, fishing depth, forage, bottom color, weather, etc. which is very helpful.