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 three 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. Dan Saelinger
The Clear-Water Spinnerbait 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. Dan Saelinger
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 ¿¿-ounce lure, replace the standard 3¿¿ and 4¿¿ willowleaf blades with sizes 2 and 3¿¿. Dan Saelinger
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. Dan Saelinger
The Subtle Popper
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. Dan Saelinger
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. Dan Saelinger
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. Dan Saelinger
The Deep-Diving Crankbait
My friends and I fish these baits down to 18 feet or more on Lake Fork. When a swimming lure runs that deep, all its flaws are amplified. These tweaks will keep it working right. Detail the Hooks
Replace your lure’s standard hooks with size 4 or 6 trebles to increase hooking power. Scrape all paint off the hook hanger eyelets, which will allow freer movement during the retrieve. Field & Stream Online Editors
Change the Line-Tie Ring
Swap the standard round split ring for an oblong version. This will ensure that the split in the ring doesn’t snag your line and cause the lure to run to one side. Dan Saelinger