Have you ever bought a bait and thought, “Man this lure would be perfect if it had…” I know I have. There are a number of ways that you can improve your baits before you even use them. Sometimes it’s the little things that make the difference between catching fish and going home with an empty livewell. Many companies are selling things to help you improve or customize your baits. Let’s discuss a few of these ideas and then let your brain run wild as you think up new ways to make your favorite baits even better.
Let’s start off with crankbaits. There are a number of things you can do to a crankbait to make it better for a specific technique or fishing location. Many hook companies are making the blood red treble hooks. Replacing the forward hook on your crankbait with one of these will give the flared gills or blood trail look that a wounded baitfish might give off. They are also making feathered treble hooks. If you replace the back hook with a feathered treble it gives it the look of a swimming tail; this is also effective on Zara Spooks and other walking topwater baits. Another adjustment you can make is filing the lips on crankbaits to give it a drastically different action and depth. If you are an artistic type person, you could try giving your crankbaits a custom bait job. Just by having something different, you can often catch fish that have seen every other lure on heavily pressured waters. These are only a few of the changes you can make. Here are other ideas: changing the weight of a bait is one that a lot of pros do; adding suspend dots to floating cranks gives them added appeal. Try some of these with your cranks and you will have a lure that no one else can buy.
Spinnerbaits have a number of changeable variables. Blade styles, sizes, skirt colors, head colors, and adding rattles are just a few suggestions. By changing the blades, you are changing the vibration, size, and flash of the bait. Different blades are better for different water clarity and water depth. You can also paint your blades. There was a B.A.S.S. tournament not too long ago where the amateur was catching bass from the back of the boat because he had custom painted the small Colorado blade on his spinnerbait red. The pro didn’t have anything like it and ended up borrowing one from him and proceeded to catch fish and finish in the top 10. Small changes like that can make a big difference. Changing skirts has become easier with the Terminator quick skirt system. It gives you a number of options, and you can custom color your own skirt with a magic marker. One last suggestion is taking your average ordinary jig rattle and attaching it to your favorite spinnerbait. As the blades thump they will cause the rattles to make some noise, this different sound will attract bass and cause a strike.
Worms, lizards, and other soft plastics are the easiest to alter. Many companies make various scent, die, rattles, insert weights, and other items to help you make your soft plastics perfect for any occasion. One thing you may want to try is making your own. Nobody can tell you just how big of a smile you will have the first time you catch a bass on a soft plastic creature that you invented. Barlows Tackle, along with many other tackle stores, sells soft plastic molding kits. The molds themselves are going to range from $5.00-$15.00. If you purchase the soft plastic molds, they can be altered. For example, try adding an extra leg to a lizard or altering the length or width of a worms tail. They have a lot to choose from, which means that you have a lot of options when it comes to making small changes for big fish catches on your one of a kind lure.
There are many different ways to alter many different baits. These are just a few of the better ways to make your favorite baits even better. Who knows, you may even invent the next Bassmaster Classic winning lure. Good luck, tight lines, and remember “Always follow your heart and never give up on a dream.”