Swindle Says You Only Need Three Colors of Crankbaits

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 bass fishing’s funniest man, Gerald Swindle, 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. 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,” says Swindle.

Red Craw

“This is your early winter through early spring color. 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,” says the 2-time Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year.


“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. 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,” he says.


“Firetiger is my bullpen pitcher. 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,” concludes Swindle.

Swindle’s rod, reel, line for most cranking situations: 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.