Bass Fishing Tip: Swindle Says You Need Only Three Crankbait Colors

Crankbaits come in a vast array of impressive color options that can confuse some anglers when it's time to choose. But veteran professional angler Gerald Swindle believes you need only three basic colors.

Bass Fishing Tip: Swindle Says You Need Only Three Crankbait Colors

Pro angler Gerald Swindle of Alabama sticks with three basic colors for his crankbaits, which helps keep things simple and allows him to fish more efficiently. (Photo: Alan McGuckin)

Modern day crankbaits come in a vast array of impressive color options that can cause a heap of mental perplexity and a badly overstuffed tackle tray. But veteran professional angler Gerald Swindle of Alabama offers a comforting dose of simple advice, stating that you really only need three basic colors: red craw, shad and firetiger.

“We all make it harder than it has to be, but choosing crankbait colors should really just be a seasonal-based deal," says the 2-time Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year. "You’re not trying to collect every color they make. There’s no need to go broke trying to buy every shade they stock on a retail peg, but make sure you can afford these three."

Red Craw 

In the Southeast and Southwest early in the year, look at anglers' rods and you'll probably find this color tied on at least one.

“This is your early winter through early spring color," Swindle said. "Anytime the water temp is 42 to 56, I’m generally throwing a shade of red craw. You can be sure this color will put you in the ballpark of success anytime the water’s cold."

Alan McGuckin is Director of PR for Dynamic Sponsorships, a Tulsa-based company with clients including Toyota, Carhartt, Quantum Fishing and others.

Heavily stained water is when you should tie on a firetiger color crankbait. (Photo: Alan McGuckin)
Heavily stained water is when you should tie on a firetiger color crankbait. (Photo: Alan McGuckin)

Shad 

“When the water temps hit 58 or 59, that’s when I generally see bass get off the red craw pattern and dial in on shad colors," Swindle said. "It makes sense, because once the water warms, shad get shallower. But even in the heat of summer, if you’re fishing out deep, shad are probably the primary food for bass."

Firetiger

Heavy stain in the lake? Water color that looks like chocolate milk or mud?

“Firetiger is my bullpen pitcher," Swindle says, "I put him in the game anytime the water is heavily stained, and he stands a chance to play just about any month of the year. He’s kind of the wildcard among the three colors, but he can also be the most consistent if the water is off colored or dirty no matter the season." 

Cranking Tackle

Aside from ultra deep cranking, most of the time Swindle cranks with a Quantum 7-foot medium action rod, and a Quantum Smoke S3 6.1:1 gear ratio reel spooled with 10-pound Sunline Shooter fluorocarbon line.

Subscribe to Swindle’s simple theory on crankbait colors, and you’re sure to save a little money on tackle, spare yourself some mental angst, and catch a few more bass through a confidently refined approach to your crankbait game. 



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