Gerald "GMAN" Swindle shares his favorite old school bass crankbait modification during cold water periods. Hand sanding a crankbait is a fast way to reduce factory paint finish luster.
Why? you might ask. Baitfish often appear more drab in cold water; perhaps reduced sunlight and water clarity are causes, but whatever the case, a little 100 grit sandpaper quickly takes baits down a notch or two in luster. This has given generations of skilled anglers confidence that they can squeak out an extra bite or two.
Swindle stresses that the Shad Rap's inherent action is the main driver of its fish-catching ability. The subtle balsa wiggle is an excellent shad imitator, but color is a way that appeals to our visual and confidence centers. Take it for what it's worth, but this might be a modification worth trying during cold water periods on your home waters.
Check out Walker's article on sanding crankbaits for details on how to sand your crankbaits plus a biologist's perspective on this tweak. Our Tackle Tips section has loads of other practical tackle-related tips.