Custom Bait Colors: Great Way to Fool Fish

Custom Bait Colors: Great Way to Fool Fish

Recently I wrote about the difference that color makes when choosing your baits. The argument was whether it was a deal breaker or just a way to catch the fisherman. There is a little expansion onto this that should be discussed and now would be a good time to do such.

We all have our favorite colors when it comes to choosing baits to tie on or plastics to rig up. Many are chosen to match the forage, or some are to create a reaction bite. The one topic that I didn’t really touch on was the relationship between the color of a bait and the actual bait itself.

Sounds a bit confusing, but let me expound. In our large array of tackle there are lures that often will outproduce others given the right circumstances, however when fishing changes these baits just don’t do it. This may not entirely be an issue with the lure, but maybe the color. Yes, the “C” word again!

Not every lure manufacturer makes the same colors as another one. This is where having skills with an airbrush or knowing someone who does, can play a huge part in the fishing game. There are lures that have the perfect wobble or profile, but they don’t produce that bait in a color that you would prefer to be using on the given conditions.

To solve this, I have moved over to getting my baits customized to what I want. Crankbaits for Walleye are known for having custom colors of all varieties painted, however often people tend to overlook bass and salmon baits.

Companies like Fishbones Custom Tackle out of Michigan have allowed me to up my game on the water. Matt and Kevin have been able to take my go-to lures and paint them in colors that the manufacture does not offer and that no other angler may have. This can make a break a day on the water or in a tournament.

Matt and Kevin were able to take my SPRO Rockcrawler blanks and turn them into some new colors that these baits are not offered in. They are typically crawfish patterns, however I know have Perch, Crappie, Shad, and some other colors that will hopefully fool some salmon into biting.
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I have baits in my box that you just can’t find on the shelves of the stores. They may not be crazy colors, but they are colors that those particular lures are not offered in, or in colors that have been discontinued in previous years.

Does this really make a difference? I like to think it does.

I have a particular SPRO Crankbait that has the right wobble and diving curve that smallmouth cannot resist, however there are particular lakes that the stock colors just don’t seem to work. In this case I have multiple baits custom painted to match the forage of these particular bodies of water so that I can be more productive on my outings.

Many of you may be wanting to tell me that it is too expensive to get lures custom painted and it is much easier to just buy off the shelf and deal with it. Well, that is your opinion. I will not discount that, but I will disagree. Having a lure that will produce on the water vs. one that doesn’t is certainly payback enough in my book.

Custom colors on a lure may not necessarily need to be done by some professional or skilled artist. Sometimes you can make these adjustments yourself with some good paint and a simple brush. I have also been known to sit down with a package of Sharpie markers and start coloring away at a lure to change the color pattern.

This has been proven time and time again on my boat to be the trick to get the fish to bite. The action of the lure is right, but the color just doesn’t make the cut. This is when it is time to adapt and pull out that color that makes the difference.

There are lures in my arsenal that have actions that I would really like to use for the early coho bite or the fall salmon bite, but they just aren’t offered by their makers in colors that are suited to salmon. This is another prime example of why I go to customization of such lures.

Don’t think that hard baits are your only option to custom colors. Soft plastics are not immune to this craze. There are smaller companies out there that will actually custom pour the colors that you want that may not be in the catalog.

Another way is as simple as commercially produced dyes that you can get to add color and scent to the plastics. Personally, I use a chartreuse dye that is infused with garlic to change the look of my plastics. This is an attention getter and will outproduce other anglers in the boat that may be throwing the same bait.

Custom colored lures are not for every angler, but if you really want to improve your catch ratio on the water it is something that you should really give a good thought too. Learn to use an airbrush, or just pick up a simple model paint set and let your imagination run wild.

Either way I am of the opinion that color matters, however the action of the lure is a major part of it and if you do not have the combination of the two you are going to be left disappointed and the one guy that isn’t catching fish that could put you on the leaderboard.

Cory Yarmuth
Legend Outdoors

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