aquaholic23

Question About Lure Colors?

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So I'm new to this community but I'm not so new to the sport of fishing. I'm 18 and recently the last 2 years I've learned and continuing to learn all the techniques and ways to become a better fisherman. I've read the pinned topic on this main forum a few times but can't seem to find the answer to my question. One of the biggest problems I have is that I get too caught up in the color of my lures. In my bag I have about 7 SPs/Bombers, 2 poppers, 1 needle, and a bunch of bucktails/diamonds. But this really only pertains to the plastic and woods that have a color selection. So about colors, the only thing I really know is that darker colors are more commonly used at night and cloudy days and flashy lures are used for sunny days. One of the things that I lack knowledge of is the color of the bait striped bass typically eat during the seasons. And this can help me with selecting colors. So the real question I am looking to ask and hopefully you guys can help me and guide me in the right direction but it is, when picking colors for your lures, what helps you determine what color you pick? The time of day, weather conditions, water conditions, what the fish are feeding on, and any other things? Just some help would be very appreciated thank you. 

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So I'm new to this community but I'm not so new to the sport of fishing. I'm 18 and recently the last 2 years I've learned and continuing to learn all the techniques and ways to become a better fisherman. I've read the pinned topic on this main forum a few times but can't seem to find the answer to my question. One of the biggest problems I have is that I get too caught up in the color of my lures. In my bag I have about 7 SPs/Bombers, 2 poppers, 1 needle, and a bunch of bucktails/diamonds. But this really only pertains to the plastic and woods that have a color selection. So about colors, the only thing I really know is that darker colors are more commonly used at night and cloudy days and flashy lures are used for sunny days. One of the things that I lack knowledge of is the color of the bait striped bass typically eat during the seasons. And this can help me with selecting colors. So the real question I am looking to ask and hopefully you guys can help me and guide me in the right direction but it is, when picking colors for your lures, what helps you determine what color you pick? The time of day, weather conditions, water conditions, what the fish are feeding on, and any other things? Just some help would be very appreciated thank you. 

 

Don't over think color. White is always a solid choice, you can't go wrong with that. Yellow is a good color when Bunker is around, Blue is a good color when Herring and Mullet are around. I would focus a bit more on profile than color as far as plug selection is concerned.

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Don't sweat the color details too much.  Now and then it matters, more often it doesn't.

 

Trying to match the colors that striped bass see in their prey is not really possible. First, although I personally do think they see color, they DON'T see or respond to color the way the human eye does. Second, different colors fade at different rates, not just with depth (reds fade out first, blues and then blue and finally ultraviolet last) but with water clarity. Suspended sand in water has to affect color, first by reducing all colors, but also by affecting the way color appears. Second, many baitfish show different colors AND a range of colors, according to the angle at which you see them. Anchovies can appear to be tan, red, brown - and that's to the human eye. Scaled fish baits, bunker, mackerel, etc., all show flickers of color. Squid can be anything from off-white to purple.  Even eels can show different tones. 

 

The part of the spectrum to which bass eyes have the greatest response is that yellow-green called "Chartreuse". There are no baitfish that are chartreuse, and no two lure manufacturers whose version of chartreuse is quite the same. TheOtherOne's comments are dead on. The only thing I'd add is chartreuse for dirty daytime waters and black for darker nights.

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More important than color, is being in the right place at the right time, nevertheless;

 

If you cast a lure into a fish frenzy, or close to a predator when in the right mood, with the right lure size and action, in that case color is not detrimental to triggering the bite, in other cases, an outstanding lure with its color, can trigger a bite out of aggression or even curiosity, and in some cases, predators are focused on a particular target and that is when matching the hatch is very helpful in getting more bites. 

 

Some species are said to be more responsive to a certain color. But that certainly doesn't  rule out other colors.

 

When casting for a certain specie, I've noticed and verified on different occasions, that there are days where green fluoro/intumescent  is all they wanted, and on other days, it is the red that was more productive.

 

The only way to find out is trying both.

 

When it comes to color, the variety of existing choices in the aquatic bio mass where light is still available, surely indicates that it has a signaling function, and different fish weather in salt or sweet water have the ability to change their appearance based on actual conditions. This alone is the demonstration that color is an important factor, other wise nature wouldn't bother in providing these fish with a mechanism that enables them to change their appearance.

 

Bait fish generally tend to blend and not be that obvious in their actual environment. Shrimp, which is an excellent bait, will tend to even be transparent, other bait fish such as mullets, will have reflective scales of the surrounding light and can change from dark to clear. The purpose is obviously to morph into the habitat and fade in, the same applies to predators that want to be discreet for better ambush.

 

This is why a transparent hard or soft lure made of plastic with perhaps only some glitter will be quite effective at moments.

 

What I do is try to blend or on the other hand, completely stand out.

 

Blending means that on a sunset with clear sky and reddish water I will put a lure with some red touch in it.

 

On a sunny and shiny day I will use chrome/silver-yellow.

 

On a night without moon will use purple/black or all white.

 

If the bottom of water where I am fishing on a clear day is mixed rocks-sand- seaweed, corals, I will use a spotted/mackerel striped type.

 

If the water is murky/agitated, will use something standing out not so discreet.

 

It is handy to have different colors to propose because what works one day may not be as effective as another.

 

 

If you are new at this discipline don't put too much emphasis on the color, but rather on the size, action / speed and depth. If these are adequate then you are likely to get the strike.

 

 

After some practice, looking at the color of the water plan, will enable you to figure out what might attract the strike best, its a matter of feel/intuition-trial and error.

 

It actually sounds more complicated than it is.

 

What ever color you are using, it must appeal to you first, and when you are using it expect the strike on every cast, and if nothing happens after a while change color and cast again, sooner or later you will get the bite.

 

Tight lines!  

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More important than color, is being in the right place at the right time, nevertheless;

 

If you cast a lure into a fish frenzy, or close to a predator when in the right mood, with the right lure size and action, in that case color is not detrimental to triggering the bite, in other cases, an outstanding lure with its color, can trigger a bite out of aggression or even curiosity, and in some cases, predators are focused on a particular target and that is when matching the hatch is very helpful in getting more bites. 

 

Some species are said to be more responsive to a certain color. But that certainly doesn't  rule out other colors.

 

When casting for a certain specie, I've noticed and verified on different occasions, that there are days where green fluoro/intumescent  is all they wanted, and on other days, it is the red that was more productive.

 

The only way to find out is trying both.

 

When it comes to color, the variety of existing choices in the aquatic bio mass where light is still available, surely indicates that it has a signaling function, and different fish weather in salt or sweet water have the ability to change their appearance based on actual conditions. This alone is the demonstration that color is an important factor, other wise nature wouldn't bother in providing these fish with a mechanism that enables them to change their appearance.

 

Bait fish generally tend to blend and not be that obvious in their actual environment. Shrimp, which is an excellent bait, will tend to even be transparent, other bait fish such as mullets, will have reflective scales of the surrounding light and can change from dark to clear. The purpose is obviously to morph into the habitat and fade in, the same applies to predators that want to be discreet for better ambush.

 

This is why a transparent hard or soft lure made of plastic with perhaps only some glitter will be quite effective at moments.

 

What I do is try to blend or on the other hand, completely stand out.

 

Blending means that on a sunset with clear sky and reddish water I will put a lure with some red touch in it.

 

On a sunny and shiny day I will use chrome/silver-yellow.

 

On a night without moon will use purple/black or all white.

 

If the bottom of water where I am fishing on a clear day is mixed rocks-sand- seaweed, corals, I will use a spotted/mackerel striped type.

 

If the water is murky/agitated, will use something standing out not so discreet.

 

It is handy to have different colors to propose because what works one day may not be as effective as another.

 

 

If you are new at this discipline don't put too much emphasis on the color, but rather on the size, action / speed and depth. If these are adequate then you are likely to get the strike.

 

 

After some practice, looking at the color of the water plan, will enable you to figure out what might attract the strike best, its a matter of feel/intuition-trial and error.

 

It actually sounds more complicated than it is.

 

What ever color you are using, it must appeal to you first, and when you are using it expect the strike on every cast, and if nothing happens after a while change color and cast again, sooner or later you will get the bite.

 

Tight lines!

This was a really good well written post.......

 

If I could sort of add something here, I would say when you stock a plug bag, if you keep your selection of lure types to a minimum, color selection within that becomes a lot less daunting.

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If you want to focus on color, stick with basics.

Light and dark. Now when you choose within those two categories it will be your choice.

Everyone can attest to the fact that there are days / nights when one color will work best, and then others when they don't.

 

I would focus more on what lure you plan on using. Poppers, swim baits, metal spoons or jigs?

Then decide the size and weight that you can handle with the gear you will be using.

If you overload your rod, reel or line you will discover just how far you can throw a lure with nothing attached to it.

 

THEN decide what colors you want to throw.

 

Me, I use primarily plastics. Slug-gos, Storms, Fin-s and a homemade squid jig.

Colors? Brown, blue and white. Some with foil flaking mixed in the plastic, others without.

The squid is pink and white.

 

The key is to only carry as much tackle as you feel you need.

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Don't sweat the color details too much.  Now and then it matters, more often it doesn't.

 

Trying to match the colors that striped bass see in their prey is not really possible. First, although I personally do think they see color, they DON'T see or respond to color the way the human eye does. Second, different colors fade at different rates, not just with depth (reds fade out first, blues and then blue and finally ultraviolet last) but with water clarity. Suspended sand in water has to affect color, first by reducing all colors, but also by affecting the way color appears. Second, many baitfish show different colors AND a range of colors, according to the angle at which you see them. Anchovies can appear to be tan, red, brown - and that's to the human eye. Scaled fish baits, bunker, mackerel, etc., all show flickers of color. Squid can be anything from off-white to purple.  Even eels can show different tones. 

 

The part of the spectrum to which bass eyes have the greatest response is that yellow-green called "Chartreuse". There are no baitfish that are chartreuse, and no two lure manufacturers whose version of chartreuse is quite the same. TheOtherOne's comments are dead on. The only thing I'd add is chartreuse for dirty daytime waters and black for darker nights.

Good points by Brian here. I would add two things to what he said. Stripers see reflected light and they key on light that is reflected, off a biatfish, by available light sources such as the sun or the moon. They pick up this reflected light and that is why yellow works. Not because bait is yellow, but because they see react to yellows that bounce back to them. The other thing is that Stripers see 10 times better than humans. They pick up color in clear water from quite a distance.

 

With color, contrast is really most critical because most bait has a darker dorsal line and lighter sides or belly areas. Paying attention to this contrast, constantly, will up your odds. Stripers hit solid colors too, like is being discussed. But Contrast is what they really notice. Try, for example, a solid white Super Strike Sinking Little Neck and a Hunter Express (dark dorsal color, white belly). They both work very well, but why not give them the contrast that drives them bananas? When guys talk about old school baits like the Cotton Cordell Red Fin Shad, they talk about Smokey Joe. Dark on the back, light on the belly, for a reason. It really works well. 

 

The other thing is, as you are hearing, there are MANY other, more important things to think about. Stripers key on eyes, the yellow color spectrum, contrast, size, shape, tail kick, proper swimming motion for the bait that is in being imitated, scent and noise. Each item mentioned is important. They all have their value. Stripers will either ambush drifting prey that is caught in current or falling, stunned, from above or they will patrol and hunt. At different times, different things matter but two things are certain. Combine as many of the things I'm talking about as you can and also, present the bait how the Stripers want it in the conditions you are fishing in. 

 

Can a Chartreuse lateral line hurt your pattern? Nope. Not really. It may help at times too, because you get the contrast from it. Stripers often either attack from below or follow and ambush. As they zero in, they are getting a very good look at what your bait looks like. If they see something they don't like, they may veer away. Is it the bait? Is it you?

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My advice, use a color that mimics what they are eating. Granted you have to catch one first, but I look at stomach contents to help me determine color, pattern, and lure, etc.. I see sardines I look for something shiny, silver, sardine like. I see Mackerel, etc. You get the point. If stomach contents or seeing what they are feeding on isn't an option, then I like to stick with natural forage colors as close as I can, as these are usually most consistent. Agree with Aray that said 90% of the time color will not play as big a role in the fishes preference as much as action. profile and how the lure is being worked, much more important, but there is that 10% of the time when if you don't have that color, you just are flat out not producing. It has happened to me once, when I didn't have a white buck tail with me and the guy next to me was killing them on a blitz. No matter what else I offered, white swim bait, SP minnow, chartreus buck tail, I got a few bumps but no hook-ups. I finally asked the guy if he had an extra to sell me, he was gracious enough to loan me one and had instant gratification and did return the lure after got my limit and released several until the bite died down.   

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Posted (edited)

My foolproof method is pretty easy to follow. Work your way through the steps until you find the fish.

Step one: try yellow.

Step two: try black.

Step three: try white.

Step four: open a beer and wait for the fish to show up. (Or soda, whatever works for you)

Start again at step one.

Edited by Kima

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My foolproof method is pretty easy to follow. Work your way through the steps until you find the fish.

Step one: try yellow.

Step two: try black.

Step three: try white.

Step four: open a beer and wait for the fish to show up. (Or soda, whatever works for you)

Start again at step one.

BAM! Love it!!

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BAM! Love it!!

I keep it simple.

If you're in a spot that doesn't allow beer and/or forgot your beverage, I like to lay down and wait for people with more energy to start catching them.

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my experience -

 

based on one 12 hour fishing session in crystal clear waters of rainbow springs Florida

 

exact same lure - small beetle spin grub

 

different colors

 

only the black with yellow stripe produced any strikes

 

based on 4 hours of fishing surf one day - semi-clear salt water. Mild to flat conditions. 

 

Pinfish semi clear swimming minnow soft plastic triggered a strike but no hook up

Chrome Spoon - nothing

Herring color SS Darter - nothing

SP minnow - laser shiner - nothing

White / green bucktail with white curl tail trailer - nothing

back to soft plastic minnow on 1/4oz jighead - strike and hook up with small blue fish

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I cannot be convinced color isn't part of the overall equation to consistently catch striped bass , in specific spot's, and at specific times of the season; I've tried to prove this wrong but cannot.

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