Favorite Crankbait Patterns – An Anglers Take

Favorite Crankbait Patterns – An Anglers Take

custom painted fishing crankbaits

There’s an old saying in fishing circles about crankbait colors and patterns. Are they actually painting for the fish or are they painting for the fisherman?

That’s a fact. The bright and flashy colors tend to sell the most. Not necessarily because they catch the most fish but because they’re just so darn sexy to look at.

Let’s look at the fundamentals or crankbait patterns and colors for fish…

custom lures

Standard Crankbait Patterns

Traditionally, most fishing lure companies have a decent selection of stock colors and patterns. If you’re like me, your tackle box is LOADED with old cranks. Some have seen water, and some, unfortunately, have not.

And what’s worse, is I always buy multiples of every color. So if you really decide not to use a certain crankbait, there are all his buddies that go with him…

So what are the crankbait stock colors you’ve come to expect?

Black/Gray Combo

silver crankbait color

Blue Gray Combo




Wonderbread Crankbait Pattern

Red Crawdad

Red Crawdad Crankbait

Am I missing some? It seems to me, these basic 6 are in every crankbait arsenal, or close to it. But what’s odd is as my crankbait collection grows, I tend to use the classic colors, less. But why? Did they ever stop working or are we blinded by the newer, sexier patterns?

New Crankbait Colors & Patterns

Have you been to a big box fishing store recently? The crankbait selection at some is getting HUGE. All of the companies are jumping on the “custom craze” by adding new stock colors AND special runs for various companies.

For example, Fleet Farm had a huge series of Berkley Flicker Minnows in a ton of cool colors the other year. They loaded the line with bright, flashy colors. I’m not going to lie, I own a full tray of them myself (they got me).

fleet farm flicker minnows
Flicker Minnows from Fleet Farm
Berkley Flicker Minnows Custom

Even the “old school” companies such as Rapala have started jumping on the bandwagon with many new color patterns in their Deep Husky Jerk series, to name one. Again, I may own a tray of these too…

What do all these companies and patterns have in common? They all look like various custom crankbaits that a painter would come up with. In fact, most companies that make crankbaits DO, in fact, contract with custom painters to come up with new designs.

My Personal Favorite Crankbait Patterns

Through the years, as I’ve amassed quite a collection of crankbaits, I’ve got a handful that just catch fish consistently. Call it what you want, but these are field-tested and PROVEN fish catchers…

Tony the Tiger

flicker minnow custom 09

Okay so I copied the popular breakfast cereal with this one, please don’t sue. 🙂 It’s a reddish, orangish color with black stripes. This is one of those crankbait patterns where I can’t explain why, it just catches fish!

Cheap Date

I already mentioned this one in another article, so I won’t go into detail here. But it’s got all the ingredients of a fish catcher.

Custom Painted Flicker Minnow

Custom Wonderbreads

As I mentioned previously, there are a lot more companies coming out with versions of Wonderbread as a stock pattern. But let’s give it up to the OG’s who painted various Wonderbreads that got us here today. Don’t think for a second there wasn’t copying going on all over…

Never-Ending Custom Bandits

Okay, so I’m not picking one pattern here in particular for deep-diving Bandits. Why? Because there are literally thousands of versions!

I do have a couple in particular that I like for Bandits in my area.

Lime Green – Nothing too fancy, but the color works well here.

Peach Perch – This is a name I made up, but it’s basically almost a perch pattern in a peach color.

Custom Bandits


The beauty of custom crankbait colors and patterns is that everyone has their own favorites. While one guy will swear by one color, the other guy will say the opposite with the same effect.

At the end of the day, color DOES matter but so does trolling speed, lure location (how far off the bottom), size, and so on. It’s all about combining all these ingredients to produce fish. That’s really trolling anyway, in a nutshell.

Tight Lines

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