Tackle Tips

Change Fishing Lure Colors on the Fly

Jason Sealock
You can turn that chartreuse crankbait into a red craw crankbait in a pinch with these simple tips.
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Lots of options

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Jason Sealock
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I have used markers to change and accentuate fishing lures for years. We've shared some pieces on coloring your soft plastic fishing lures and modifying swimbait colors before. But here is a quick tip on changing crankbait color on the fly when you might not have another in the boat.

You can buy Sharpie Marker packs for like $6. And with just a few colored markers you can completely change the colorway of a lure to something unique and better suited to the water or forage you might be trying to mimic. 

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Stick with colors you know work

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Jason Sealock
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I generally have blue, green, yellow, orange, red, brown and black markers around to change up lures. I think yellow, orange, brown and black can make some amazing craw patterns while your blue, purple and greens often can mimic accents on baitfish.

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Sharpies will mark on bait

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Jason Sealock
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Ott Defoe shared how he turned an orange lipless Arashi Vibe crankbait into more of a red craw pattern during the 2019 Bassmaster Classic in a recent video. A trick that helped him win the event.

Check Ott out discussing this very topic here.

All he did was take a Sharpie marker and add a bunch more red to the bait on the fly. But I've turned white crankbaits into chartreuse crankbaits. I've turned chartreuse crankbaits into red crankbaits and more. You can do a lot more without being a master lure painter to get you through in a pinch.

Make sure the bait is dry. Water makes it much harder for the marker to adhere to the surface. You might also experiment with sanding the bait a bit to take some of the gloss off of it. 

For this example, I just markered up a few Arashi Vibe lipless baits right out of the package.

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Trick to keep ink going

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Jason Sealock
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Sometimes the marker might stop painting on the bait. I think the tips dry up or water gets in them. I will take and color over a spot on a piece of cardboard that I usually have under the baits so I don't mark up a table or boat carpet. That will usually get the ink flowing in the tip of the marker again so that you can continue to paint the bait. 

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Blend colors

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Jason Sealock
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I hardly ever just use one marker. I will add red and orange to the sides and belly, then maybe black on the back and add black lines on the bait too. I sometimes like to leave a little spot of the original bait showing because a lot of things in nature have contrasty tails or tips of pinchers. 

Sometimes I will just add to the markings on a bait. Add a little more red to the gills. Make brown next to a black or in between other colors like orange between a brown and red to make more natural transitions on a fishing lure.

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Add back accents

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Jason Sealock
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You don't have to be perfect. I will sometimes leave specs and spots or add back lines and spots because most things I see in nature have imperfections. I think that actually is something that fish trigger on at times. 

Have a lure in your box that has the paint chewed off it? Is it always the one you reach for first? I figure the bass are the same way. Pick out the one that looks different. 

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Same crankbait looks like 3 different lures

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Jason Sealock
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I am not artistic. My stick figures are laughable. But I think with a few markers you can make an ordinary bait unique. And if I run out of a color like a red craw lipless crankbait (happened recently), I can make one real quick on the fly from another bait. I can also try to mimic some of my favorite patterns on other baits. 

While it won't be as pretty as some custom painted baits, remember a bass reacts to color and contrast through the flicker effect. So it's getting just glimpses of things and making impulse judgements based off of those. 

For $6, you can make some pretty special lures. Classic winning lures, even.