With so many designs and color combinations of artificial baits in the market today, it’s no wonder anglers feel quite overwhelmed. There are different things to consider when choosing the right lure but for this article, we will focus on color selection.
Do fish really see colors? According to the SG Institute, the retina of a fish have two types of cells namely cones and rods. The cones which are responsible for detecting color are utilized for day vision while rods which cannot decipher colors but can pick up light are used for night vision. Thus, fish have the ability to see colors but some are more sensitive in discerning chromatic combinations than others.
Tuna, for instance, is considered as a game species with excellent vision. Based on a study made by a team of Japanese scientists, they learned that Bluefin Tunas have superior eyesight that allow them to efficiently spot their prey by sight and then hunt them down in the open ocean. The scientists also discovered that the Pacific Bluefins are genetically sensitive to green color which enable them to easily detect their prey and other things in the bluish-green ocean environment. Bluefin Tunas are also remarkable at gauging the distance of their targeted prey, making them efficient ocean hunters.
Things to consider when choosing lure color
Lure color selection relies on the ability to stand out visually under different weather and water conditions such as the following.
One of the first things to consider is the clarity of the water, especially when using plastics. In murky water conditions, it’s recommended to use dark colors like black, blue, black neon, “junebug”, chartreuse, and bubblegum. These dark hues provide the ideal contrast in stained or muddy waters which can drive swimmers to strike. Metallic gold lures are also effective in tea-stained water because their reflective qualities help fish detect them despite cloudy water conditions. Black is generally the most visible color of all and black lures create amazing contrast in low visibility. You can also create your own contrast when angling in murky waters or low-light situations by using dark colors next to light ones. However, in clear waters, you don’t need the benefit of contrast because dark-colored plastics in clear conditions may appear unnatural and discourage species from striking. In clear waters, it’s best to go for natural colors that closely resemble the forage in the surroundings such as white, silver, and gray.
Weather is also vital when picking the ideal colors for your artificial baits. During a sunny day and the water is clear, pick lures that are light in color to mimic natural patterns. A silver lure would also do the trick on a cloudless day since it gives off a flash that enables the fish to see your bait from quite a distance. When the fish sees the flashing lures from far away, their interest is triggered which can prompt them to get close and take a bite. During an overcast weather, it’s better to use darker lures and preferably those that produce noise or create vibrations as they move through the water. Metallic lures are not recommended during an overcast because they almost become invisible in such conditions. UV rays happen to be strong during a cloudy day which makes a fluorescent lure appear brighter and more visible in the water.
The physical properties of the region also play an important part in lure color selection. It’s advisable to do some research to learn what forage species are present and what your target is feeding on. You can do this by researching online, getting in touch with locals, or calling a tackle shop in the area. By doing so, you can have an idea of the hues that are likely to work best in the location. For example, red happens to be an effective color in Texas because it is the color of crawfish which is abundant in the waters during the spring. In the waters of Cabo, cedar plugs in natural colors which resemble baitfish make excellent bait for schooling tuna.
For better angling results, add depth to your list of considerations. Keep in mind that colors of light have varying wavelengths and the total intensity of light diminishes as you go deeper. If you’re using warm-colored lures like red, orange, or yellow, the color fades out and gradually look darker or black as the lure travels down deeper. Red is the first color to disappear and they are gone within 15 or 20 feet of the surface. Next in line that disappears are yellow, green, and purple. If you’re going bottom fishing, go for blue, dark grey or black lures since they penetrate deep up to 40 or 50 feet below for fish to see. Aside from vertical depth, you should also take into consideration the effect of colors in terms of horizontal or diagonal distance. For example, a red lure may look black at a depth of 40 feet but it also appears black, brown or dark grey when viewed at a horizontal distance of 40 feet. On a cloudy day, the colors of light do not penetrate deeply compared on a sunny day.
Choosing your colors wisely when you go fishing can help increase your striking odds. Sometimes you need to try different colors at different water conditions, weather, and depths to find out what lure is most effective in your location.