Hook I

Unnatural colors

15 posts in this topic

I like to fish a lot of different ways of fly & spin fresh and salt . There are many similar presentations and matching the hatch has not always been my thing . Going out of the box is more my speed . A lot of people will tell you color below the water color has a different  “ hue “ in color .my favorite unnatural color is pink . Not just all In  pink but some , they had worked well with SM . I never kept a log so going back with water clarity,barometric pressure , am / pm ....just know it works , I’m sure guys have their favorite.

 

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Pink has always worked very well for me for rainbow trout. In saltwater I have caught weakfish up to 15 pounds on pink Fin S Fish.  Another unnatural color I like to use is chartreuse for largemouth bass. My surfbag is also filled with chartreuse metal lipped swimmers for stripers.

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Hook, Good topic! I can't disagree with your approach, because it's also worked well for me sometimes. I'll try just about anything. The trick to that is always to be open minded as I believe some people become their own worse enemy when it comes to what they'll try.

 

I'll usually start with some color schemes that might mimic the natural color of the forage where I'm fishing, then adjust and try something else if that doesn't seem to be producing. However, I choose lures or flies too in size & shape, etc., based on what the fish might be eating. 

 

Of course, fish, regardless of what species may be targeted, have to be present or all of the lures, or flies & colors used are a moot point. So, that's the first thing, is find them. Can't catch what's not there!  

 

In the years I've been fishing, white, black, and chartreuse have likely been what I've had the most success with, but color alone is not the only reason to choose what's tied to the line. Since you mentioned it, I've caught many fish on pink colored lures & flies, and most other colors, so time & place for them all. It's actually been a favorite color for Crappies, especially when using fly gear. 

 

Volume's have been written about all this, and there's no way to learn it all. Time, and place, the lure or fly, and all the aspects of a lure or fly that's tied on can have some impact on whether or not any fish we seek will be interested. Then there's the human factor, how we actually go about using the fly or lure and what we do with them as far as getting them to the fish and imparting movement. 

 

I'm sure you've read many times where folks claim that they're fishing with a buddy, both doing exactly the same thing, with the same fly or lure, and one is catching but the other isn't. To me, with how my thinking process goes, there's no way any two people can possibly be doing exactly the same thing, so something is different. The trick is figuring it out. 

 

I was fishing with a friend one time down in FL for bass, where he lived. We were drifting down a spring fed river, skipping wacky rigged, senko type plastics under the overhanging tree's. He was catching one after another, and I was practicing my casting. What I was doing wrong, is not letting the bait free fall. I was pulling on it too much. When I just let it fall & drift, without getting hung on the bottom, I was catching the bass. We both were using the same size, type & color plastic, on similar spinning gear & same size hooks. I wasn't doing what he was doing. When I did, I caught them. 

 

Fishing is such a simple process, but most success is due to paying attention to the details and it's not always the same thing over & over. .  

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Edited by Jim H

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I don’t fish worms a ton anymore, but when the bite was tough, say post front and blue bird skies, i ALWAYS reached for an electric blue Culprit worm. A killer!

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I used to use Culprit worms a lot! My go to worm was a Purple Culprit with a fire tail. I caught so many bass on that worm! I stopped using it when all that "new" stuff became popular. That Culprit worm brings back fond memories!

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Electric Blue Culprit.  Used many bags over the years when I was younger.  I picked up my first bag at a mom and pop gas station/kitchen outside of Conyers GA back when I was young.

 

Pink is one of my favorite for Trout, Crappie, and inshore. Chartreuse is another favorite.

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Pink & orange power float worm works great for trout when they are feeding on top, Purple plastic worm always produced lmb for me. Chartreuse has produced huge crappies & some nice strippers in the salt. 

 

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My dads favorite trout lure by far was a fish shaped spoon which had a white pearl back that had a pink sheen to it.

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Well when it's Inch worm time a Chautruse imitation works quite well.

Then again when I'm staying over in the morning a Flo.Blue worm isn't exactly a bad choice .P5230139.JPG.4034df8360bce84912415e09adee9411.JPGP3160116.JPG.960b1a227d934f646a8159e1e9e4b101.JPG

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I tend to avoid the unnatural colors mostly.  Not to say that i never throw chartreuse for lmb or pink once in a while.

 

Brown black green or white is what i use 90% of the time in fresh water.

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Bright reds and greens work on trout because caddis fly larva are often bright green, midge larva are a bright red, and the pink/orange colors are a variation of an egg colors. 

 

Bright colors work on bass when they are feeding on pan fish like sunfish or perch, or when they are aggressive and territorial like when they are staking out spawning areas. For some odd reason smallmouths seem to like bright colors in the fall and some forage fish have red or pink accents when they are in spawning dress and that is when a splash of color seems to help with finish schemes.

 

That being said natural finishes and reflective finishes are my normal got to.

 

Pink has always been a good saltwater color for reasons unknown. Weakfish seem to be especially found of pink and some species that eat crustaceans like bone fish and permit also seem to like pink.

 

Water clarity depth and color all seems to be factors in how fish see and react to colors, but how to weight those factors comes down to experience and what you have confidence in.

 

Like most fisherman I have my favorite search baits and finishes for various species and once you are on biting fish you can refine your fishing pattern by trying different finishes and presentations to catch more fish.  It is even better when you have a good fishing buddy that can help you sift through the lure and presentation options faster to find what works. My buddies and I have been doing that on rivers, streams, reservoirs, and lakes for years and once we develop some effective fishing patterns we work together to refine them.

 

It is a complicated puzzle and only the fish can tell you what they want. Color, shading, flashy finishes, or subtle finishes, bait size and lure profile all seem to be factors. After many year of fishing you develop a feel or instinct for it based on the fishing conditions.

 

I am an analytical style that loves fishing details and patterns, but in the earlier days I often suffered from analysis paralysis when it came to new fishing situations. It was not until I started listening to my gut that I was able to take my fishing to the next level. My personal opinion is when to comes to hunter gatherer activities it can be a real advantage to tap into our hunter gatherer instincts. Humans were all hunter gatherers until about 2,000 years ago and logic and rational thought has alienated us from those helpful instincts and intuitions.  What made this obvious to me were a few of my early fishing buddies. They had little knowledge of fishing tackle, techniques, and current trends, but they had a natural instinct for it, and it made them excellent fisherman. If you can combine knowledge, experience and instinct you have one deadly combination.

 

We are not all gifted with great natural fishing abilities, but with time, practice ,experience, knowledge, and developing the ability to listen to our natural hunter gatherer intuitions we can develop those same abilities. 

 

Finding great productive fisheries also helps. It is hard to figure out what works when you are not getting many if any bites. If you want quality fishing you have to find quality fisheries. Fishery resources wax and wane according to natural conditions, man made condition, fisheries management activities, and fishing pressure. 

 

I have spent my entire fishing career searching for the hot bite whether it was in Saltwater or Freshwater. A hot new reservoir, a particular population upswing in saltwater, a remote un-pressured fishery, an established quality fishery, or some new emerging fishery is what I am after. To do that you have to be willing to travel and explore and over the years I have had my share of successes and epic fails, but it is those successes that have kept me going.

 

If you want big fish and lots of fish you need a fishery that supports that type of quality fishing. Some fisheries produce numbers, some produce size and some not much of either and it is your choice. If you chose to fish less productive fisheries hoping for the fish of a lifetime, you will be waiting a long time.

 

If you want to fish locally because it is easy relaxing and fun then that has its place too. You just have to adjust your expectations or maybe ask some local private pond owner, or owner of a section of river if it would be OK to respectfully fish their beautiful property. Private ponds can be gold mines, but you need to rest them if you want to be consistently successful. Small streams and rivers of are the same and I try to rest them and use different lures and techniques when I return. I mostly fish my local waters in the Winter Season when their is little to no fishing pressure. Historically it tends to get me better quality fish and it give me a chance to play around with new tackle.

 

Even larger bodies of water are susceptible to fishing pressure and that is when novel colors, lures, and fishing techniques have a role to play.

 

Edited by Jay Blair

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2 mins ago, Jay Blair said:

Bright reds and greens work on trout because caddis fly larva are green, midge larva are a bright red, and the pink/orange colors are a variation of an egg colors. 

 

Bright colors work on bass when they are feeding on pan fish, or are aggressive and territorial like when they are staking out spawning areas. For some odd reason smallmouths seem to like bright colors in the fall and some forage fish have red or pink accents when they are in spawning dress and that is when a splash of color seems to help with finishes schemes.

 

That being said natural finishes and reflective finishes are my normal got to.

 

Pink has always been a good saltwater color for reasons unknown. Weakfish seem to be especially found of pink and some species that eat crustaceans also seem to like pink.

 

Water clarity depth and color all seems to be factors in how fish see and react to colors, but how to weight those factors comes down to experience and what you have confidence in.

 

Like most fisherman I have my favorite search baits and finishes for various species and once you are on biting fish you can refine your fishing pattern by trying different finishes and presentations to catch a few more fish.  It is even better when you have a good fishing buddy that can help you sift through the lure and presentation options faster to find what works. My buddies and I have been doing that on rivers, streams, reservoirs, lakes for years and once we develop a some effective fishing patterns we work together to refine them.

 

“caddis fly larva are green, midge larva are a bright red, and the pink/orange colors are a variation of an egg colors”

 

You have mentioned this before and did take note , Don’t think I bypass your words . Thanks for sharing 

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Sometimes I wonder whether we overthink things like this.

 

Yes, sometimes fish are focused on a certain size/color/action of bait, and won't look at anything that doesn't look like the dominant food item (think of trout focused on one species of mayfly and ignoring others when a hatch of more than one species is coming off) but when you start thinking about what's found in fish's stomachs, most are generalists when it comes to food.

 

And certainly water clarity plays a role, as well as depth, both of which can alter a fish's color perception.  As can the fish's ability to perceive color.  I read something a while ago--don't know whather it was accurate or not--that said that a largemouth's eyes perceive four basic ranges of color--I think it was light, red, black and one other.  But the point was that making fine distinctions between a black skirt and a black and blue skirt is probably a waste of time.

 

Fish don't know about lures as opposed to natural forage.  They can't conceive of something being "artificial."  If something is moving under its own power, it is "alive"; if large enough, it is a potential threat, if small enough, it is potential food, regardless of what color it happens to be, although I suppose that under the right circumstances, particularly garish colors could be viewed as a threat.  At the same time, if you ever trolled for trout on the Great Lakes, garish colors such as those in the photo seem to be in regular use, and do well.

 

Thus, I think that the "right" color depends less on matching a natural bait, and more on something that attracts a fish's attention under the given conditions.  More subdued colors often work in clear water because they're not shockingly out of place given the good visibility, certain brigjht colors work in murky conditions, and one tournament bass fisherman once told me that you can't go wrong with soft baits that match the color of the bottom, because that's what the fish are used to seeing, and they don't get such a good look at the lure.  At times, "unnatural" colors give fish just the look that's needed to trigger a bite.

 

 

 

 

 

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There's a lot of great insight in this thread, and it goes beyond the topic of unnatural colors. 

 

Jay Blair, Awesome post! I may have said this before, but you & I think much alike. I can really relate to your "gut" comment. More times than not, even with all of the "knowledge" I believe I have acquired over the years, a gut instinct was what allowed me to have fishing success. Sometimes, it made no logical sense, and I very much try to apply logic & reason into my thinking process when it come to fishing. And yes, I do over think sometimes too as I'm sure most of us do. 

 

The fact is, in all of this, the only thing that changes is us. There are environmental changes that affect the fish, any fish that we may be targeting, but mostly they're still doing what they've always done since they first existed. They don't think, they can learn from experiences, what they call conditioning, but they can't analysis, ponder or reason. They act on instinct, while we spend a great deal of time & effort, and often cash, trying to figure out why they do what they do.  Once we think we have, they contradict our efforts. 

 

There has been scientific study into what fish see, and not all fish see the same. But that's always based on how their physiology compares to ours. What we see because of our eye structure compared to theirs, doesn't necessarily guarantee that what they see is the same as what we see. We make assumptions & presumptions.

 

I've started to think in terms of concluding that it doesn't matter to me what they see when I toss a fly or lure. It only matters that they react in a positive manner. Even with all the experience & "knowledge" I've gained over the years, there are times I still go back to doing the same things, and choosing colors & types of flies in the same manner in which I did when I was a kid. I guess! Which goes to what Jay said about gut feelings. 

 

He also mentioned using our experiences, but I believe we may also be using that of the fish too. CWitek, hit on that in his comments about "alive". Color has no bearing on movement, and none on whether an organism is alive or not. It does become part of the form, and fish may recognize the form of things that they eat, even if it's an odd color. So, toss a pink plastic that looks like a frog in form, it may still get eaten, but not because it's pink. I also agree with his comment about what gets attention, and that may not necessarily be something of natural color.  

 

Interesting topic & discussion! :th: 

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I have caught countless lmb using black plastics at night pegged to the bottom.  I highly doubt that see anything but the outline and feel the movment or hear my hook or bullet weight scraping.  They eat it with authority however.

 

 

Like what was posted above you need to fish where the fish are feeding.  Eveything else is a wild guess

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