Spray Paint vs. Airbrush

Over the years people have been slightly changing their crankbaits, but these subtle changes can only do so much. In recent years airbrushing baits, reels, and rods has been come more common place in the industry, for good reason. When using spray paint it will more often than not spit out too much and you will have runs, but with an airbrush you can control the flow which translates into more precise and accurate lines on your baits.

The art of painting hardbaits has grown considerably in recent years; many people have even turned it into a source of income. While there is ways to do it yourself at home I will say that those who do it professionally will more than likely produce results that you cannot reproduce. If you wish to try however I have included a poor-man’s guide to painting baits, enjoy.

Poor-Man’s Guide: Painting Your Own Baits

Like many of you I decided to use old bait that has been sitting in my dad’s tacklebox for years, a Bill Norman Rat-L-Trap. When we pulled the bait out of the box it has some kind of strange residue that needed to be cleaned off using rubbing alcohol. The alcohol removed residue and oils left by the angler handling the bait, this isn’t just suggested, it’s mandatory.

Step 1: Cleaning

It is vital that you clean the bait and even sand it lightly so that the fresh paint has something to grab onto. I used a generic dollar store rubbing alcohol to clean the bait and lightly scuffed it with a piece of sand paper I had laying around. Might be a good idea to quickly wipe it down again with the alcohol to ensure the leftover paint is all off the bait.

Step 2: Mounting

Once the bait has been cleaned and scuffed you can start to setup your stand. The way I did this was I used a piece of cardboard that I bent into a “U” shape so that my toothpick could hold the bait on there. You may need to sand down the toothpick to make it fit through the eyelets.

Step 3: Painting Base Coat

It is advised that you put down a nice primer so that the paint adheres properly. The main objective here is to cover the bait, ensuring none of the under color shows through, this may take a 2-3 coats. If you want the original pattern to show you can do a quick light spray over the paint to preserve the original pattern.

Step 4: Final Coat

Some people may do several colors, but for the sake of ease I did just 2 colors. Also to make it easy on the wallet I used the netting from a bag of onions to create my pattern. While the end result isn’t great, it is an end result. I am sure if you use clear coat it will help the bait a little bit with the smoothness. I call this paint design “Lava Rock.”

The issue I have with these spray painted baits is the fit and finish. My buddy Barry Weaver Jr. over at http://thecrankincracker.com supplied me with a few images of his work. Let’s do a quick comparison.

Spray Paint


The choice is ultimately yours, but personally I will stick with my custom airbrushed baits.

Pick up your baits to get customized at

Rippnlips Tackle

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