Thoughts from the Top on Crankbait Color

Category: article

 Jul 17th, 2008 by OutdoorsFIRST 

Modified Jul 17th, 2008 at 12:00 AM

Fave Crank Colors

There are so many crankbait colors for an angler to choose from; you can become easily confused as to which one to use. They're all effective under the right conditions. However, to help whittle down your color selection, three crankbait specialists, former pro Mike Auten, FLW Tour pro and former All-American champ Joe Thomas and former FLW Tour Champ Brent Ehrler chime in with their choices for the best options.

Water Clarity

Mike Auten believe clarity determines color choice (FLW Outdoors photo)

When Mike Auten decides what color to choose, the first thing he looks at is water clarity.

"I have my favorite colors like everybody else," he said. "There are some I've always done better with. When I'm on a new lake or even a body of water, I know I check out the water clarity before making a color choice.

"My system is pretty basic," he said. "If the water is clear, I'll go with more natural colors like a ghost minnow or a chartreuse shad. If the water is stained, then I prefer brilliant colors. Black back chartreuse and green apple are two that work really well under these conditions.

Smallmouth bass throw the color charts off balance in clear water.

"Now when I target smallies, the whole natural color choice seems to be thrown out," he said. "You can catch them on the natural colors, but the brilliant colors seem to provoke more strikes in clear water when you're after smallies."

Take Four

Less is more for Joe Thomas (FLW Outdoors photo)

Joe Thomas has taken the concept of less is more when it comes top his color choices.

"I stick with four basic color schemes," he said. "I'll use a crawfish, firetiger, Tennessee shad and chrome. I use variations of those basic color schemes everywhere I use crankbaits."

His color selections changes as the seasons change.

"In the spring, I use crawdad," he said. "I'm a big believer that everyone should use that color scheme in the spring.

"Firetiger is what I call my bridge color," he said. "It fills a lot of gaps and works in a variety of situations.

"In the summer and fall, I prefer to use Tennessee shad and chrome," he said. "These are the primary shad colors I like. The Tennessee shad works best on cloudy days or in muddier water where the chrome is best on sunny days or in clear water."

Seasonal Choice

Brett Ehrler: Go crawdad and shad in the spring (FLW Outdoors photo)

Brent Ehrler prefers to leave the chartreuse cranks in the box and stick with crawdad and shad patterns.

"From February through May for pre-spawn fish, I'll use crawdad colors," he said. "Of course, the specific color can change from lake to lake, but the crawdad color is the way to go early in the year.

"From post-spawn to the fall, I stick with shad patterns," he said. "In clearer water, I'll use ghost minnow and chartreuse shad. Darker water calls for the aurora black and the Tennessee shad.

"I've never had much luck using the standard chartreuse colors in darker water," he said. "I've had some success with Table Rock shad. That color has a lot of chartreuse in it. My advice, always try and figure out what color pattern is best on each lake and try not to come in with preconceived notions of what colors will work."

More like this