Tweak Your Bass Lures to Create Effective Custom baits

Most Ordinary bass lures will catch fish straight out of the box. But only a few minutes of tweaking can make a bait much more effective for specific situations. Here are the two modifications my buddies and I use most often on our home water of Lake Fork, Texas. Since I've tried them, my catch rate has gone up considerably. For deep-water crankbait modifications, go to fieldandstream.com/crankbaitfix.

HOW IT'S DONE

The Clear-Water Spinnerbait

[1] SNIP THE SKIRT Use scissors to thin and shorten it to just cover the hook. The smaller profile will be more effective in clear water.

[2] SWITCH THE BLADES All spinnerbait blades create lift, and changing to smaller ones means you can use a fast retrieve but still keep the lure running deep--essential in clear water. On a ½-ounce lure, replace the standard 3½ and 4½ willowleaf blades with sizes 2 and 3½.

[3] ADD A TRAILER You should do this to all your spinnerbaits. Slide a 2/0 or 3/0 trailer hook over the barb of the main hook. Use a piece of surgical tubing to keep it in place, but make sure the trailer can swing freely.

The Subtle Popper

[1] LOSE SOME LIP Sand or cut the bottom lip of the concave face. The lure will still "pop," but it will also "walk" better. Experiment with the amount removed until it performs to your satisfaction.

[2] ADD FEATHERS If there are no feathers or tinsel on the rear treble, replace the hook with one that has some. This adds flash and makes the lure more lifelike when you pause it.

[3] CHANGE THE HOOKS Switching to trebles one size larger (on most poppers that will be size 4 or 6) won't affect the popper's action but will make it easier to hook fish.

WHAT YOU NEED

• SIZES 2 AND 3½ SPINNERBAIT BLADES

• 2/0 OR 3/0 TRAILER HOOKS

• SANDPAPER

• FEATHERED TREBLE HOOKS

• SIZE 4 OR 6 TREBLE HOOKS

COST $10

DIFFICULTY Easy