Consider Color for more Fishing Success


It’s at about this time every year when many anglers take a look into their tackle containers to do an inventory of baits and see what’s needed to start the open-water season. We make a note of baits from previous years that are running low in our inventory, and we also think about new ones to add.

One topic frequently asked about is color. Lure makers are always introducing new colors, and anglers ask themselves and their fishing friends if lure color really matters to the fish. Beginning and expert anglers are always trying to figure out how much impact color has on success.

In the minds of many of the best anglers, lure color can be simple: Sometimes color matters; sometimes it doesn’t. When the fish are biting, they’ll often hit any color you put out there. When they don’t want to eat, color becomes one of several very important considerations. There are times when having the right color of bait will result in more fish being caught.

There are ways to increase the odds. Let’s say we’re after walleyes, and we’re using jigs with a plastic trailer. If there are two anglers in the boat, one should try, for example, an orange jig head with a chartreuse tail—that’s a great walleye color combination almost anywhere. The other angler should try maybe a blue head, purple body. By doing so, we’re showing the walleyes four different colors. We’re increasing the odds by showing them more color options they may want on that particular day.

Now let’s say the angler using the orange/chartreuse combo is catching more fish. If you really want to fine-tune your color option, one angler should try an orange head/orange tail jig; the other should tie on a chartreuse head/chartreuse tail jig. By doing so, we’re going to see if there really is a dominant color on that particular day.

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Conditioning is also another consideration. Sometimes fish become conditioned to a particular color. That orange/chartreuse combination we just talked about gets used so much that the fish become a little reluctant to hit it. If you’ve been catching them on a particular color or pattern, but that pattern suddenly dies off, try a different color. You’ll probably catch a few more.

Some anglers aren’t sure of the importance color, and these are the same anglers that have boxes full of baits of different colors or a bunch of marking pens so they can change the color or appearance of their bait quickly.

If you experiment with color you’ll probably decide that, at times, if you’re using the right one, you’ll catch more fish. And, if you’re not using the right color, you’re catching may be limited. This year, experiment with different lure colors and see what you find out.

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