Custom Paint Lures – Does it really make a Difference?

To paint or not to paint? That is the question.

With apologies to Shakespeare (The playwright not the rod and reel folks) this is one of those questions that divides anglers into two camps.

Camp 1 – The custom paint guys: It won’t work without out it. Period. These guys get it down to the finest detail even counting the number of legs a crawdad paint job has on a crankbait, exactly where one color transitions to another on a stickbait, and so on. Most will spend more on the paint job than the bait and are convinced it will put more fish in the boat than any stock, off the peg design the manufacturer has.

Camp 2 – The regular paint guys: To this crew custom paint guys are, well, idiots. The thought of spending $15 – $50 on paint on a lure is inconceivable to them. They feel it’s not only not worth the money but, the increase cost of the lure takes cash out of their pocket they can use for something else.

Who’s right?  Time for a Point – Counter Point debate just like they used to have on 60 minutes, but it will likely become more like Dan Aykroyd and Jane Curtain on SNL……

do custom bait make a difference

Pro Custom Paint (Dave): Custom paint jobs are worth every penny. By having my lures custom painted I get to throw color combinations that exactly match what the fish are feeding on and it allows me to have an edge on other competitors. I can put together colors and details from one lure and transfer it to another that has a different action or reaches a different depth. Bass fishing lures and bass tackle. to custom paint or not

Con Custom Paint (Steve): For decades we’ve caught fish on standard colors straight out of the package. A shad, is  a shad is a shad and having 14 green scales on it’s back isn’t going to make a difference to a fish when it’s blowing by him during  my retrieve. He’s gonna see something that looks like a shad and eat it because that is what he does, not see it coming and count the green scales and think …”nope, it only has 10 green scales on it’s back, I ain’t eating that it’s a trap….” I’ve caught thousands of fish on standard colors right out of the box.

Pro: It’s not about the number of scales or the tiny details it’s about matching the forage the fish are feeding on and having an edge. I’ll grant you that on a fast moving bait like a lipless crankbait the details are not that important but the over all color is huge. If bass are feeding on bluegill and I have a bait painted like a bluegill and you don’t, I win. Stickbaits are another story; when you are letting a stickbait sit for 15 seconds and a fish is slowly rising to it, do you think that matching the forage isn’t important? I catch 10 times more stickbait fish now that I throw custom baits than I did before.

to custom paint or not

Con: I’ll give you some credit, matching the forage is important especially on slow retrieve baits like a stickbait but that doesn’t mean a bait fresh out of the package won’t work as well. You’re giving fish too much credit, if it looks like something they’ll eat, then they’ll eat it. As far as you catching more stickbait fish now that you’re throwing custom colors, could it be you’re throwing a stickbait more than you used to? You’ve got a bunch of money wrapped up in those baits so you feel like you’ve got to throw them. The more you throw it the better chance it will get bit.

to custom paint lures or not Pro: I’ll concede your point, I do throw a stickbait more now that I have some that are custom painted. But, it’s because I have more confidence in the bait now. One of the biggest rules of fishing is to have confidence in your bait and presentation, if you don’t have confidence your not going to fish well and you’re wasting time. That is one of the biggest reasons I have lures painted, I have a lot more confidence when I know I’m matching the forage and I’m throwing a bait that no one else is. custom paint or not Con: I ya hear about confidence, it’s a key to success. But your confidence comes at a price I’m not willing to pay. $15 – $50 tacked onto the price of each lure is pretty steep in my world. Plus even with that confidence are you willing to put that bait where it needs to go? I’m willing to throw my bait into the nastiest cover there is to find the fish, if I lose it, I’m out $5 – $10 , lose one of your custom painted ones that’s $20 – $80. I’d rather have that cash for other baits, line or fuel to get me where I need to go to catch ’em.

Custom Painted Lures

As expected, nothing settled here. Custom paint guys and anti custom paint guys are still in two distinct camps. A few good points brought up though, the biggest being confidence, whatever you have confidence in is what you should throw regardless if it comes off the peg that way or if it’s a custom paint job.

What are your thoughts, are you a custom paint guy or not?

Let us know what you think below.