Fall Bass Fishing: Choosing Crankbait Colors

bass jumping out of water on fishing line

Among the many options available to anglers, fishing crankbaits during the fall is almost always a good choice. Bass begin feeding on shad and small baitfish and crankbaits are excellent at imitating baitfish. However, there are countless colors to choose from (overwhelmingly so), and not all colors are equal for all fishing conditions. In fact, choosing the right crankbait color can make or break your fishing experience.

Understanding the Role of Color

There are several factors to consider when choosing the crankbait color:

  1. Pay attention to what bass have available to feed on. Shad, perch and bluegill are common baitfish. There could also be crawfish in abundance. When throwing crankbaits on clear days, consider matching what bass are feeding on. Match the hatch as they say. Colors that mimic what bass are feeding on are often the best choice to start with.
  2. Be sure to consider the clarity of the water you’re fishing. In clear water, subtle or more natural colors often work better; in murkier water, vibrant and high-contrast colors make your presentation stand out, enticing bass to strike.
  3. The angle and intensity of light can impact how colors appear underwater. On particularly bright days, colors that create a flash like shad or a bluegill can trigger a strike. On overcast days, darker colors are likely to excel.
  4. Finally, take note of the wind speed/direction as well. With minimal wind speeds, it may be more effective to use a more natural color, but adjust to a more aggressive color pattern when fishing higher wind conditions.

Our Favorite Fall Crankbait Colors

Here are some excellent options to get started with:

Natural Shad

Bass Pro Shops Tourney Special Crankbait in a shad pattern is a high quality, valued price crankbait that works in many depths and visibility conditions and is great at covering water.

Natural Crawfish

Another good option is the Strike King KVD Rattling Square Bill Crankbait in Natural Red Craw. This is an excellent choice for when fishing conditions call for a natural crawfish color.


When conditions call for a bright, flashy color, consider throwing out the ever-popular Rapala DT Series Crankbait in Rasta.

Test, Test, Test

Always remember that what colors might cause a bass to strike in your favorite fishing spot may differ from what we recommend. Bass can be finicky at best, and downright frustrating at their worst. Their preferences may change for a variety of different factors. In some bodies of water, fish might gravitate towards shad colors, crawdad colors, or even bright color like Chartreuse if water visibility is limited. If a specific color isn’t getting bit, swap it out and try something else until you find what’s working best!