Granted some of these bleeding baits are a little overdone, but the adding of red coloring and bleeding spots is a trend that is not going away anytime soon. In general I am a big fan of sprucing up my baits with touches of red.
For instance, I do not throw a crankbait or a topwater plug with out changing out the front hook for a red hook. In my experience I believe it gets me more bites and I land more fish that bite. Now granted fish are not biting it just because there is a red hook, if you are in the wrong place or throwing a plug at the wrong depth, the red hook is not going to save your tournament day. I think the red hook gives the fish a target, so if you have a red hook on the front, you hook more fish on the front hook, which means you get better hookups. I think it also helps to trigger strikes from bass that are only following or are turning away at the last instant.
Red can be applied to a lot more that crankbaits and topwaters. When fishing spinnerbaits and buzzbaits, I like to add red trailer hooks and a few strands of red into the skirts. Gill markings can be added to frog baits and your favorite soft jerk baits and shad imitations. When fishing jigs I like to slide a chunk of red plastic up on the shank of the hook or are add red rattles, that way when the skirt opens up the fish catches glimpses of red witch can trigger some great reaction strikes when fishing heavy vertical baits in thick cover.
Bleeding baits are no mirage, and they are more then just a trend as well. All in all, the color red is not going to make you an instant pro, but it can turn a good day into a great day and get you those extra bites that will help you cash more checks. No need to go out and buy all the fancy bleeding baits, just upgrade your existing favorites and experiment with your own combinations and start getting the best of your bassin’ buddies next time you are in the boat.