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What color crankbaits are best on sunny days?

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Crankbaits are one of the most popular and effective lures for bass fishing. They mimic wounded baitfish swimming through the water with an erratic wobbling motion that drives predatory fish crazy. When bass see a crankbait, their instincts tell them to strike.

However, not all crankbaits are equally effective on sunny days. Bass are very sensitive to colors and rely heavily on their vision when hunting in sunny conditions. Choosing the right crankbait color for the clarity of the water and light conditions can make all the difference in your fishing success.

In this article, we’ll breakdown the best crankbait colors for sunny days and explain why they work so well. Whether you’re fishing clear water or muddy water, we’ll cover the top lure colors you should have tied on when the sun is high in the sky.

How Sunny Conditions Affect Bass Behavior

To understand what crankbait colors work best on sunny days, it’s important to first look at how sunny conditions impact bass behavior and feeding patterns. Here are a few key effects the sun has:

– Bass become more reliant on their vision for hunting prey, since visibility is increased. This makes colors and flash important.

– Bass move tighter to cover like vegetation, docks, wood, and shade. The brightness causes them to seek out shelter.

– Lower-light areas become prime spots, as bass will use shade to ambush prey. Crankbaits fished along shaded banks can be very effective.

– Shallow water warms up the fastest, drawing baitfish and bass to the shallows. The best areas are often the shaded pockets and corners in shallow flats.

– Increased metabolism from warmer water makes bass more active. However, the sunny conditions make them wary, so they favor a subtle presentation.

As you can see, sunlight clearly has a major impact on bass habits. Now let’s take a look at what specific crankbait colors you’ll want to select to match these conditions and behaviors.

Best Colors for Clear Water

When the water has high visibility on sunny days, natural translucent colors tend to work best. Here are top clear water crankbait colors for sunny conditions:

Color Description
White Imitates baitfish bellies and provides maximum contrast
Clear/Translucent Looks most realistic like actual baitfish in clear water
Pearl Has a bright shine to reflect light and flash
Chrome/Silver Flashes like scales and reflects sunlight well
Chartreuse Glows brightly in the water and attracts strikes

– White is one of the go-to clear water colors, especially a white belly, because it offers excellent contrast against the bottom and maximum visibility. The brightness really stands out.

– Clear or translucent plastic crankbaits realistically emulate the see-thru bodies of shad and baitfish. This natural appearance works wonders on finicky bass.

– Pearl finishes shine brightly underwater and reflect ample sunlight. Good flash helps trigger reaction bites.

– Chrome and silver finishes also reflect light well and imitate the shiny scales of baitfish. The flickering flash calls bass from a distance.

– Chartreuse is a popular clear water choice because it fluoresces and almost glows in the water. The vibrant hue attracts bass even in heavy sun.

When fishing these colors, focus on baitfish-imitating models like shad or minnow cranks. Long, slender profile baits are ideal for mimicking clear water forage.

Best Colors for Stained Water

As water clarity decreases, brighter colors and bold contrasts become more effective. Here are the best stained water crankbait colors for sunny days:

Color Description
Chartreuse Fluorescent hue stands out in dingy water
Orange High visibility color that contrasts well
Red Shows up distinctly in off-color water
Blue Dark shade creates good silhouette
White The brightness draws strikes and contrasts nicely

– Chartreuse has enough glow and fluorescence to be visible even in fairly dirty water on sunny days, making it a consistent producer.

– Orange contrasts with the watercolor and provides a distinct target for bass to home in on. An easy shade for their eyes to key in on.

– Red is also easy for bass to see in low-visibility water. The bold hue stands out well among the dingy backdrop.

– Darker but still visible colors like blue create a nice silhouette, even in stained water. Gives bass an outline to target.

– White still shines brightly enough to provide some contrast and flash for bass to detect. A reliable option across all water clarities.

Baitfish profile cranks can work well in stained water, but crawfish imitating models are also effective. Play around with a mix of baitfish and craw profile baits in bright colors.

Best Colors for Murky Water

In the muddiest water during sunny conditions, the most vibrant and contrasting colors work best. Here are top murky water crankbait choices:

Color Description
Chartreuse The brightest, most visible color for dirty water
Orange High contrast color that Bass can detect
Pink Unique hue that stands out in muddy water
Red Bolds well against brown and muddy backdrop
Blue Good dark shade for silhouette appeal

– Chartreuse is hands down the best dirty water color. The bright fluorescent hue cuts through the gloom and gives bass a visible target.

– Orange offers excellent visibility and contrast in dingy conditions. The unique color registers well.

– Pink is an underutilized murky water color that can be deadly for heavily pressured waters. The uncommon shade attracts bites.

– Red is a classic muddy water producer, creating good separation from all the brown in the water. Easy for bass to pick out.

– Blue casts a nice dark profile that bass can detect even in super dirty water. The outline gives them something to hone in on.

In extremely muddy water, vibration and noise also helps draw fish to the bait. Rattle chambers, wide vibrating lips, and other sound factors should be considered along with bright colors.

Crankbait Colors Based on Conditions

Beyond just water clarity, there are a few other variables to factor into crankbait color selection on sunny days:

Foraging Conditions – Match the hatch with colors that imitate the specific forage in the lake. If shad are prevalent, use silver, white, or pearl. If crayfish dominate, pick reds, oranges, or browns.

Sky Conditions – Brighter, more reflective colors work well on very sunny bluebird days. On partly cloudy days, tones may need to be slightly toned down.

Depth – In shallow water, brighter colors stand out. As you get deeper than 10 feet, switch to more natural or translucent colors.

Time of Day – Low light periods in early morning or evening may call for less vibrant colors. Brighter colors work better in peak sun hours.

Paying attention to these factors and fine tuning your colors is key. Having a wide variety of crankbait colors on hand gives you the ability to adjust and adapt all day long.

Top Crankbait Brands

Now that you know which colors work best, let’s look at some of the top crankbait brands on the market that offer quality lures in all these productive colors:

Brand Crankbait Models
Rapala DT Series, X-Rap, Shad Rap
Strike King XD Series, Red Eye Shad
Lucky Craft Fat CB Square, Pointer, LC Pointer
Storm Wiggle Wart, Thunder Cricket
Bagley BB3, Diving B3, Balsa B

– Rapala makes some of the most popular and consistent catching crankbaits like the DT (Dives-To) series. Great action and hookups.

– Strike King is best known for their Red Eye Shad, a beer bait that catches fish everywhere. Their XD cranks also excel.

– Lucky Craft makes coveted hand carved baits with precision actions. The Fat CB Square and LC Pointer are proven fish catchers.

– Old school Storm Wiggle Warts have been staples for decades thanks to their reliability and excellent wiggle. Also check out the Thunder Cricket.

– Bagley hit it big with balsa crankbaits and still produces the deadly BB3, DB3 and Balsa B lures with lifelike actions.

The brands listed above provide a wide range of quality crankbait models that offer different actions, profiles and of course great color options. Having a mix of these in your tackle box is a recipe for sunny day success.

Best Retrieve Methods

While color is critical for getting crankbaits in front of sunny day bass, making them act lifelike with good technique is equally important. Here are some retrieve tips for maximizing your hookups:

– Vary your retrieve speeds, mixing fast and slow. Mimic erratic injured baitfish.

– Use occasional pauses to float the bait up and flutter down. Resembles dying baitfish.

– Pop your rod tip occasionally during the retrieve to vary action. Imitates a scared baitfish kicking.

– Bounce cranks off bottom structure like rocks and wood. Natural reaction and also creates sound.

– After hitting structure, pause retrieve to float the bait up. Looks like it’s trying to escape the area.

– Deep diving cranks require steadier, slower retrieves for proper action at depth.

– Shallow runners can be burned back to the boat on super fast retrieves to trigger reaction strikes.

Take advantage of a crankbait’s ability to effectively mimic wounded baitfish. Practice these action-inducing retrieves to maximize your potential.


When the sun is high in the sky, choosing the right crankbait color for the water clarity is one of the most important decisions an angler can make. Understanding which colors stand out best in clear, stained, and dirty water is the first step.

Brands like Rapala, Strike King, Lucky Craft, Storm and Bagley all provide quality crankbaits covering the full color spectrum. With the right lure colors tied on, focus on lifelike retrieves to draw savage strikes from sun-loving bass.

Paying close attention to light conditions and water clarity while experimenting with different colors and retrieves will ultimately lead you to maximum success. So grab your favorite crankbait colors and hit the water for some exciting sunny day action. The bass are waiting!