Set of fishing lures

The Ultimate Guide to Choosing Colors for Crank Baits

Anglers invest a lot of money into catching fish. Approximately $16 billion out of the $45 billion fishing industry goes toward bass fishing.

If you’re among the 79% of fishermen who rely on artificial lures and bait, you know the monetary importance of choosing the right types of bait.

But, how do you decide from the hundreds of color and pattern options available for crank bait?

Use this guide to help you choose the right colors for your crank baits so you can spend less time at the bait and tackle store and more time on the water.

Clear Water

When water is clear, you want to choose a bait that looks realistic and matches the prey species for that area.

This means choosing crank baits that are natural colors such as silver, brown, and translucent.

Here are some of the best natural-looking options for clear water:

Minnow or Shad

Minnows or shads featuring their natural silver-color and transparency are ideal for clear water. The shininess reflects light and catches the attention of the predator.

Shad crank baits are famous for winning bass tournaments. They feature various natural colors, typically silvers or browns, with a realistic black dot to match a live shad.


Choose a realistic bait that looks like bluegill for times and locations where bass and larger fish feed on these little guys.

Specifically, bluegill crank bait works well in lakes in northern U.S.


Crawfish, or “crawdads”, are a regular treat among bass. When in clear water, it never hurts to give a crawfish-looking crank bait a try.

These are especially successful when fishing near rocks.

Dirty or Milky Water

You can probably guess it. When the water is less clear due to rain, cloudiness, or dirty water itself, use brighter bait colors.

Less visibility means the fish may need some help finding your bait. Colors like bright yellow, white, shiny blues, and stripes work best.

Here are some no-fail patterns to choose from:

Citrus Shad

Citrus shads are naturally bright and add catching. This makes them the perfect bass catcher for darker waters.

Citrus shad lures are mostly bright white with bright chartreuse and blue backs.

Our versions are called blue steel and come in different sizes and bills.

Chartreuse and Homer

These bright yellow styles have stuck around for decades because they work.

Chartreuse is usually found in combination with a blue or black back and mimics a shad. Homer is similar but more old-school looking, featuring a blue top, red eyes, and a long bill.

Why do they work so well? The bright yellow color is flashy and draws bites, while the designs keep the bait looking like it belongs.

Yellow and Stripes

Cranks that have yellow bodies with black or dark colored stripes are ideal for very dirty waters.

Large fish just can’t resist the contrasting colors.

Fill Your Tackle Box with Quality Crank Baits

With our wide selection of baits and lures, you’ll be sure to find the perfect bait for your fishing conditions.

Our crank baits are precision crafted and trophy catching. Check out our products online.

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