Hot colors and plastic minnows

We all spend a lot of time thinking and talking about the color of our lures. In most cases it seems like we like colors that are natural or close to natural. Colors like green pumpkin and peanut butter and jelly are all the rage, and for good reason. They catch bass. 

But, I’m here to tell you that there’s another class of colors that should be in your tackle box, too. I call them shock colors. This group includes hues like bubblegum, true pink, fluorescent green, fluorescent orange, swamp gas and black violet fog. Some of them might — if you use your imagination enough — look a little like something alive, others not so much.

But, make no mistake about it. They will catch bass. 

About three or four weeks ago I was doing some filming for a Tackle Warehouse promotion. I was throwing a pink HAVOC The Jerk made by Berkley. I caught a 9-pound, 3-ounce bass on the darn thing, and I assure you that Berkley’s Pinky doesn’t look like anything that swims in freshwater. 

I think the big thing about shock colors is that a bass can see them and that they look so different that a bass just can’t resist checking them out.

I don’t fish these shock colors much different from the way I would fish a natural looking plastic minnow. Like always, I fish them on spinning tackle. I know we can handle them with casting equipment, but I think you get better action with a lighter rod and lighter line.

My rod choice is a 7-foot, 6-inch medium action model. I want a soft, parabolic action so that I can twitch and pull my bait naturally. I mount a 30 size open-face spinning reel to it. That might sound a little big to some of you, but it helps make long casts and it helps fight big bass. I spool up with braid and then add a 12-20 inch fluorocarbon leader. My hook choice is a 4/0 or a 5/0 offset worm hook. 

That’s the basics, but there’s one more thing you need to know about. Between the braid and the fluorocarbon you need to add a saltwater size barrel swivel. The swivel has nothing to do with avoiding line twist. It makes the rig look real by creating the image of a big baitfish chasing a tiny baitfish. 

Let the fish tell you how to present this setup. I like to start by twitching it along with a kind of walk-the-dog action and then letting it fall out of sight occasionally. If you’re careful when you put the hook in it and keep everything straight, it’ll wobble back and forth as it falls.

Don’t be afraid to do something radical this spring. Pick up a couple of packages of shock colored plastic minnows and a bag of saltwater size barrels swivels. You just might catch a giant. 

Mike Iaconelli's column appears weekly on You can also find him on Facebook and Twitter or visit his website,