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Does Color of Fishing Lures Matter

Does the Color of Your Fishing Lure Really Matter?


I caught this bass at Lake Demopolis while fishing with Boyd Duckett

I caught this bass at Lake Demopolis while fishing with Boyd Duckett

2009 Ronnie Garrison,licensed to About.com
When tying on a chartreuse crankbait or dipping the tail of your lizard in chartreuse dye, have you ever wondered just why in the world a bass would eat something that color? Do lure colors really make a difference in catching bass, or do they mostly just catch fishermen in the store?

Bass can see colors and they seem to see red and yellow better than blue and green. But is chartreuse a color they are ever likely to see in nature? If so, what has that color and why would bass try to eat it?

I accidentally discovered the answer a few years ago while feeding bluegill in my pond. The sun was bright and the water clear. As the bream came up to hit the food the tips of their tail fins glowed chartreuse. Those rippling fins looked just like a lizard tail dyed chartreuse.

That convinced me to use dye for the tails of my worms more, especially when fishing cover where bass feed on bluegill. And we all know there are times when bass bite worms with chartreuse tails better then those with plain tails.

When I first started bass fishing you could buy plastic worms in red and black. Those Crème Worms came three to the pack with no hook or one to the card. The ones on a card had a harness with two or three hooks and small beads and a spinner in front of it. We put a weedless hook with a wire guard in the hookless worms and fished them around cover. The spinner worms got hung up easily and were fished more in open water.

Tom Mann changed the world of worm color for me around 1970. Not only did his Jelly Worms come in lots of colors, they smelled nice. Although Mann sold millions of colored worms he is famous for saying "I will fish any color worm, as long as it is black." And Bill Dance, in his book "There He Is" says "Any color will work as long as it is blue."

So does color matter? Maybe it matters more to the fisherman than to the fish. If you have confidence in a color and use it a lot you are likely to catch bass on it. That is something of a self fulfilling prophecy.

But at times color does matter to the fish. In the 1987 Georgia Bass Chapter Federation Top Six at West Point I caught three bass weighing just over 12 pounds the first day. All hit a spinnerbait the first hour of daylight. I never caught another 16 inch keeper the rest of the day.

That night one of my team members handed me three plastic baits his first-day partner had given him. They were Zoom lizards and were still stuck together from the mold. He said bass were really hitting this new color and it was the first time I ever saw or heard of the color "pumpkinseed."

The next morning I got a seven pound bass on my spinnerbait the first hour but then experienced four hours of casting practice, catching only short fish. I remembered the three lizards from the night before and rigged one up. In the next two hours I landed three keepers, one on each of the three lizards, and my weight for the day was just over 16 pounds, enough to put me in third place overall in the tournament with 28 pounds.

After the tournament I heard a fisheries biologist that competed in the tournament say he had never seen bass so focused on one color as the bass at West Point were on pumpkinseed that week.

So does color matter? Maybe. So carry all the colors of the rainbow and some never seen in nature. Or stick with your favorite color. And if you don't catch bass you can always blame it on not having the right color bait!

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