3 Key Patterns to Have on Hand

With dozens of flashy and innovative lures coming onto the market each year, it easy for new anglers (as well as seasoned veterans) to be overwhelmed by the amount of options available to them. While new and creative patterns can help give you a leg up in certain scenarios, here are three tried and true patterns that each and every angler should have on them at all times:

Shad (White)

All white is perhaps the most commonly used pattern by fisherman across the country.  The reason for this lies in the presence of shad throughout most waterways in the United States.  These fish serve as a forage base not only for Largemouth and Smallmouth bass, but also many other predatory species including Northern Pike and Muskellunge.  Although there are slight morphological variations based on species and region, all shad found in North America display the same predominant opaque white coloration.  Because of this, a generic all white pattern is often the most effective means of matching your lure to the various shad species.  When fishing an unfamiliar waterway, this is a great color to start with.

Recommended NCB Patterns:

  • Shad
  • Chartreuse (This adds a bit of color to the shad pattern to help standout in slightly stained water).

Crawfish (Brown)

Like Shad, crawfish are also found abundantly throughout North America. Where present, these crustaceans make up a large portion of the diet for both Largemouth and Smallmouth bass (less so for larger predatory species such as the Northern Pike. Walleye etc..). To best match the crawfish look, a brown base pattern is critical. This alone will suffice for most applications. If you wish to refine your lure pattern, flip over rocks and examine the crawfish native to your lake or river. Though they remain predominantly olive to brown, nutrient levels in an ecosystem will often cause slight color changes to the native crawfish. During the springtime prior to the bass spawn, crawfish will take on a reddish hue as part of their molting process.

Recommended NCB Patterns:

  • Bold Craw (solid brown)
  • Fire Craw (brown with an accent)
  • Molting Craw (strong red craw)


When the water takes on a heavy stain (relative to normal levels), grabbing the attention of your target fish should take precedent over matching your lure color to the native prey species. This is most effectively accomplished by focusing on patterns that contrast strongly with the watercolor. Black & Blue has become the most commonly used pattern for muddy water conditions. While there are several more patterns that will get the job done, the key factor is selecting a pattern with a black base. This helps to create a strong silhouette against the stained water. Various accent colors can help add extra visibility to the lure.

Recommended NCB Patterns:

  • Black & Blue
  • Midnight Gold
  • Tarantula (pictured)

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