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The Color of Money

By Mark Romanack with Darrell Wood

Darrell Wood of Sandusky, Ohio is pictured
here with one 
of his “custom creations”
aimed at helping anglers catch more
Lake Erie walleye.
In my family when someone’s hands smell like fish, we joke and say that’s the smell of money. I’ve
made a comfortable living communicating the outdoor lifestyle in magazines, on-line, in books, video and through outdoor TV. Promoting recreational fishing ranks at the top of my priority list and I’m never more happy than when my hands smell like fish!

Darrell Wood is one of the more popular and prolific National Team Pro Staffers for Off Shore Tackle Company’s. It’s hard to be on Facebook and not feel Darrell’s presence. His frequent posting of images, tips and fishing reports helps inspire others to get on the water and follow in Darrell’s wake.

Besides being a talented tournament angler, fishing educator, dedicated father and commensurate ambassador for the sport of walleye fishing Darrell owns Hi Tech Custom PaintedBaits, LLC. As an avid open water troller Darrell knows full well how important lure color can often be in fishing success. That goes double when the lures of choice are popular crankbaits and spinner blades used to target walleye.

“I started Hi Tech Custom Baits in September of 2012 soon after meeting Jay Couch at an MWC event,” recalls Wood. “After seeing a few of my custom painted crankbaits, Jay kept bugging me to turn my passion for painting fishing lures into a business.”

Custom painted baits have become wildly popular among big water trollers.
Darrell Wood 
of Hi Tech Custom Baits is one of the region’s most popular
custom lure painters. Anglers can have their own baits repainted or Darrell
has 26 stock 
colors to choose from in popular lures.
Currently Hi Tech Custom Baits has 26 stock color options, but Darrell will custom paint just about any fishing lure or trolling hardware any color combination a customer imagines. “Typically my customers provide me baits that aren’t producing because they have marginal paint finishes,” says Wood. “I repaint those baits according to the recommendations of my customer, effectively turning dud lures into productive fishing baits!”

Darrell will custom paint both opaque and clear body crankbaits. “A lot of guys are favoring the look of custom paint jobs produced on clear body styles like the Rapala Glass series or the Bare Naked series from Reef Runner,” explains Wood. “You get an unique look when clear lures are custom painted that is tough to find in a factory paint scheme.”

Hi Tech Custom Baits produces custom painted crankbaits, blades for spinner rigs and recently expanded to include custom painted Off Shore Tackle Tadpole Divers.

Factory finishes like the ones featured on these baits have come a long
ways in recent years, but many anglers still favor the “custom painted”
option guys like Darrell Wood with Hi Tech Custom Baits provides.
“Jay Couch and a growing number of other anglers believes that painting the Tadpole and making it more visible to the fish creates an illusion that a predator is chasing prey in the water,” explains Wood. “I find that the Tadpole is a more efficient means of getting spinners, spoons and even crankbaits to depth compared to traditional in-line trolling weights. Because the Tadpole dives deeper on shorter lead lengths I can set lines faster and get baits in the strike zone quicker compared to keel sinkers.”

Tadpole Divers come in four sizes including the No. 1, 2, 3 and the new Magnum. For targeting walleye suspended from five to 25 feet below the surface the No. 1 and No. 2 sizes are ideal. In the Central and Eastern Basins of Lake Erie where walleye frequently suspend deeper in the water column, the No. 3 and Magnum Tadpole come into play.

Because Darrell Wood spends most of his fishing time on Lake Erie his custom paint finishes feature a lot of pink, purple, white and chartreuse shades. “Some of my favorite colors include pearl white, pearl raspberry and pearl chartreuse,” adds Wood. “I also strongly recommend that anglers who fish on Erie have their baits painted with a bright orange belly strip. It’s amazing how well this little detail works especially during the fall fishing season.”

To learn more about Darrell’s lure painting passion visit or check out the Facebook site at Darrell is also a frequent visitor to the Facebook site Off Shore Tackle Tadpole Society which was created to share fishing information pertaining to these unique diving devices.

If you have lures that aren’t producing, maybe it’s time to give Darrell a call and put a custom spin on your walleye fishing efforts? For Darrell Wood and Hi Tech Custom Baits, the color of money is any color under the rainbow!