Color Concepts

Daniel C. Nielsen   Wednesday, May 10, 2006 9:04 AM

Let me know if you have heard this before. "What color of lure did you catch those fish on?"

I hear that on a never ending basis when I am out talking to anglers across the state. You catch a fish and someone invariably asks you that question.

Color is over emphasized. While color plays a minor role in your ability to catch fish, its not the primary reason why fish bite the offering. The first question should be, how were you fishing the lure, or what depth did he hit it.

But lest I digress, the focus of this article is color and how its choice can affect your fishing success.

The best overall strategy for choosing lure colors is to match the available forage as best as you can. It is important to do this when close imitation is the key to getting fish to strike. More so in clear water than any other water type. In clear water, fish can get a really good view of your offering at a reasonable distance. If it doesn't look like its supposed too, chances are, they aren't going to strike at it. This is the main reason natural looking forage colors are your best bet in these situations.

In dingy water situations, the color match doesn't have to be so limiting. In these situations, you should try bolder colors. Fire-tiger patterns, yellow, chartreuse, even reds and whites excel. Usually in these situations, I opt for metallic tones, such as bronze, gold or silver, depending on the weather conditions. The brighter it is, the lighter I go for maximum flash. If it is overcast, you will usually have more success with bronze or gold. Countless days fishing spinnerbaits and cranks brought this important aspect into focus.

I am not one for mincing colors. I usually stick with natural patterns, but I have a few off colors I reserve for special occasions. One is a metallic blue vibratail jig that perfectly imitates the minnows available in the Missouri river during June and July for white bass fishing. While I never put my finger on why, I found out through trial and error that the natural colors available at the baitshop didn't produce, even though they mimicked size and color almost perfectly. Perhaps it was a visibility factor in the slightly tinged waters.Perhaps it is because white bass key primarily on small shad. To this day, I can go out to one of my favorite points and within a few casts with this color pattern, I can have one or two white bass caught and released.

Thus, the mystery of color continues.

Perhaps indeed, it related to the time of day and available light. Darker colors seem to predominate in the twilight hours and the evening hours while brighter colors seem to work better as the light increases.Perhaps. Perhaps not. Depends on the body of water you are fishing. An instinctive angler realizes that he has to let the fish basically 'tell him" what they want through their responses to his different offerings. That is the gist of it all.

For example, when crayfish molt, they typically have a blue shell for a few weeks. But not all crayfish molt at the same time. If you are using natural crayfish browns and reds and having some luck, odds are you are going to stick with those colors. But knowing that blue shelled crayfish are softer and more often the target of gamefish then their harder shelled brethren should make you sit up and take notice. Most anglers I have found or fished with don't realize they have to take those little hints mother nature offers and use them to their advantage.

Forage color should be more important that the hot "new color ' that is the current rage. Every year it is a different color. For example. If the primary forage of a body of water is shad, Bluish silver should be a primary choice. If it is Bluegill, then blues, oranges and lighter shades of red are a primary choice. If it is perch, then yellow and black and dark olive colors would be a good bet. Smelt and you know its going to be silver. See where I am going with this?

There are some pros out there that say even the time of year can make a difference, emphasizing that darker colors work better in cooler water periods such as spring and fall and that wilder hotter colors should be the norm for warm water periods. I can see their justification to that, although I have some serious disagreements with it, having had some of my best luck in cold/cooler water periods with such off colors as hot pink and pumpkin colored lures. (The reason I tried the hot pink was because every angler I watched was using chartreuse or yellow and I figured if I gave the fish something different, it might trigger them)

Which brings me to my next point. If everyone is using the same colored presentation to catch fish, sometimes an oddball colored lure can be your best bet. If you exhaust your options with natural colors, then there is no reason not to try a color the fish haven't seen, as long as you present it the most natural way possible. This depends on what type of bait/lure it is and combine your retrieve rate to match the water conditions.

Everyone has a "lucky" lure which brings me to my final point. If you have great success with one specific color, then stick with it, but don't beat it to death. There is familiarity factor that goes with such lures and usually, an angler who finds a specific color to stick with usually is fishing the lure in a correct fashion which result is more fish and greater confidence.

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3 Comments

re: Color Concepts
4/28/2012 9:19:46 AM  Tdziambi says,

The answer is when do you stop? I know it's cold but even in the wnetir you can get those 3 days of sun with a high of 50-60 the last day of warm weather is good i find myself getting shallow bass that come up to warm on cover or structure( rocks, fallen trees, docks etc..) that holds heat. If it is cold then go deep, you may need a fish finder to find them. When they suspend in cold water you can use spoon, jigs, drop shot rig or jerk bait. Fish slower too If fishing n the cold is not for you then like most people wait till it warms. You can catch bass in the cold and if you can bear the elements quality fish can be caught too.

re: Color Concepts
4/28/2012 9:20:22 AM  Tdziambi says,

The answer is when do you stop? I know it's cold but even in the wnetir you can get those 3 days of sun with a high of 50-60 the last day of warm weather is good i find myself getting shallow bass that come up to warm on cover or structure( rocks, fallen trees, docks etc..) that holds heat. If it is cold then go deep, you may need a fish finder to find them. When they suspend in cold water you can use spoon, jigs, drop shot rig or jerk bait. Fish slower too If fishing n the cold is not for you then like most people wait till it warms. You can catch bass in the cold and if you can bear the elements quality fish can be caught too.

re: DvLnIzvOhTjK
7/12/2013 6:04:37 AM  Marianna says,

Thank you Krishna sir,We really aapicetpre for your kind information regarding our beloved village. It has been always fantastic to hear news about our village in such a way,especially, in development sector. I am very much proud of you that you have been serving for our village for such a long prior of time.When I saw your face it remind me of my school age and all those stupid things that i used to do at that time. It just feels like yesterday, I feel young again like a boy. I do hope you also feel the same as me, don't you sir? I have no doubt you have a huge connection with the school and village both emotionally and physically. I know you love the place same as any other villagers. Only one thing is different with compare to other is that you have been contributing with your highly respected qualification, dedication and honestly almost whole of your life.My heartfelt thanks to you for your hard work and showing such an enthusiasm towards our village and as well as school.We are very lucky to have such a generous teacher and proud of you.Your sincerelyEx student Arjun badmas danda ghar.PS it would be better if you could publish your e mail add so we can contact you personally in future.

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