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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Lately I have been paying a little more attention to lure colors and why some seem to work better than others. I realized that the people on this forum probably had already figured out some of the questions I have been asking myself. To let you know about where I am coming from let me start by saying that that there isn't any science behind my observations and some of them are probably far from fact. Following are some of the observations that I have made and following that are the questions resulting from them.
1. At a distance underwater you don't see color just shades or flashes.
2. Up closer colors begin to show up. They start to show up at different distances according to color.
3. Certain colors seem to catch more fish than others.They don't seem to be colors I'd Pick: but they work.
4. There seems to be a formula of how much color to add to a white lure for best results. The same goes for gold and silver colored chrome lures and to a lesser degree yellow lures.
5. Flourescent colors can be real producers when combined with white or chrome in gold or silver.
6. Those very realistic lures are best used in clear shallow water for sight casting. Even then I usually have better luck with un-natural looking lures.
Questions for you guys.
1. Normally I fish plugs, jigs, and spoons that have a large amount of silver or gold chrome or white as I feel they draw in distant fish. Are there any other colors that you have noticed that will do the same.
2. For soft plastics it seems the to me darker solid colors catch me more trout and reds in dirty water and low light conditions but light pink or green work better in full sun/clear water. What is your observations.
3. Any go to colors for flounder on jig and trailers besides white on white?
4. Those realistic looking lures: anybody have much luck on them?

I guess that's a fair start. Let's hear what everybody has to say on lure colors.
 

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Al-- This should be a good thread. I think we all develop favorite colors based on luck rather than reality. Lure manufacturers are aware of this and tend to promote what fishermen like and not necessarily what the fish likes. A lure with basic design and a huge advertising budget will do wonders in the American market place. Put enough of them out there and they will catch fish. When I see full page ads about lures, I see the master of all fishing at work. He's fishing for his share of a tremendous sucker market. Sometimes, I am right there in line.

I prefer shinny lures ,especially silver and gold.

Later, Forrest
 

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My Papaw always said, "It's better to be thought an idiot than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.":p But since you asked, I'll put forth my opions. Keep in mind that I and nobody else I know considers me an expert on the subject. Like you said it's personal observations.

Shiny Silver/Chrome/Gold - Works great as long as there is sunlight to reflect. If it's a cloudy or overcst day, I think you just end up cast a mirror that will reflect the colr of the water. I came up with this when nite fishing. I noticed that spoons and the like didn't do well unless there was full moon.

Colors at a distance - I know from diving that certain colors disappear at depth. Red is the first color to go usuallly around 12-15 feet. Most of the fishing I do is in 15 feet or less so other than that, I haven't given it much thought.

Flounder - White is King - If ain't broke don't fix it. White has always worked. I've never tried anything else that works as well.

Realistic soft plastics haven't produced much, but I do like paddle tail grubs

I agree that certain color combos are for the fisherman and not the fish. You all know my affinity for the Saltwater Assasin in Electric Chicken :rolleyes: (also happens to be a paddle tail). Since having a good amount of luck with that bait, I began to notice how many other baits were in very similar colors and most of them were decribed as "electric chicken". Nevertheless, I still think that's my favorite color combo - pink/chartruese. I usually use a red head. This bait (EC) is the only lure that has produced flounder bites that was not predominantly white. It also has worked well for drum and several other species.

Great Post, BTW!
 

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I agree whole heartily with Forrest, the lure makers reel us in (I'm usually at the front of the line)!

With that said I'd like to point out a couple of observations regarding underwater colors and light from my scuba experiences.

As you probably know, the appearance of colors are affected by the amount and type of light. This is true above water but is more extreme underwater. The less light available, the less color differentiation that is visible (the colors are of course still there). Water is denser than light so it filters light more readily. And of course the water often holds particles that further reduce the light. The reds, yellows and oranges reflect a shorter wave length of light and thus are the first to succumb to filtration. Blue/green is the last color to be filtered, so the deeper you go the more blue/green everything appears. In general, colors disappear more quickly vertically in the water column than they do horizontally.

Sorry for such a verbose explanation but that sets up my next point – I think color doesn't matter as much at depth or in dirty water becasue there is less color differential anyway. In dirty or deep water I have found reflective surfaces matter more – thus the use of silver, white and gold seem to work better. I'm also finding some of the new holographic stuff reflects light well (some of them cause a fleeting glint of light to be reflected, maybe like a fleeing baitfish).


I have heard of barracuda biting people in dirty water that were wearing shiny jewelry and even once the rim of a scuba mask that was made of shiny metal. They must mistake the glint of reflected light for the scales of a baitfish. (Note to self: get rid of all shiny objects on dive gear :eek:).

So in deeper or dirty water I use flashy, shiny stuff or baits with white on them. In clear or shallow water I try to match whatever baits is around or use something with red/pink but still like some shiny stuff. When that doesn’t work, I try everything else in that tackle box, often with better luck (I more often than not, out think myself anyway :D ).
 

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ParrotHead said:
You all know my affinity for the Saltwater Assasin in Electric Chicken :rolleyes: (also happens to be a paddle tail). Since having a good amount of luck with that bait, I began to notice how many other baits were in very similar colors and most of them were decribed as "electric chicken".
Have you seen the newest Gulp! jerk baits - they included a paddle tail in Nuclear Chicken color (same colors as your electric chicken)!

We caught a slew of drum on them this week-end. Now you are really in trouble PH :p
 

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Trouble? Sounds like the best off both worlds! They say imitation is the truest form of flattery. Did you notice the gulp folks made an electric chicken and not the other way around?:eek: I think, you're helping me prove my point. I'll go pick up some cans to take to the aluminium guy so I can afford a pack of your nuke chickens next time I pass the Neuse Sports Shop.:D

Thanks for the tip, Mike!
 

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You make a very good point PH! But with the way Gulp! is already flying off the shelves, I'd say the Bass Assasin folks (and other soft bait makers) would prefer some other form of flattery...:) In fact Tex's Tackle just doubled their display & shelf space for Gulp! products.
 

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Just to let you know, I bought more gulp at wally-world the other day. It was the freshwater variety this time. This was an earthworm imitation. And once again, neither it or anything else worked for us this weekend on the Neuse. I post more in another thread later about that trip. We'll be trying it in a couple weeks at the cub scout fishing derby at Jordan Lake. Bought some crappie powerbaits too. We'll see.:)

You keep the chickens, one of those days when you've thrown everything else in tackle box, you'll come around.;)
 

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BRB---Got to put on fishing hat and waders before making any more post on this thread.:D

Later, Forrest
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
There have been plenty of times when I have watched 6 or more trout under lights totally ignore live shrimp and minnows while fishing under lights at night. I think they are a whole lot smarter than we give them credit for. At those times I go for finess and try to bring out a reaction strike. stealth is often the key. AL
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Parrothead, while we are on the topic of lure colors I have you a couple of shrimp to try out. I was going to make them jumbos but I decided to keep the size down to something more like what the fish are more used to seeing. I'll send one natural white shrimp and one high voltage parrot. That way you can test realistic vs real loud. PM me an address to mail them to and I'll drop them in the mail. AL
 

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PM'd the info. Now I'm in your debt and may even have to speak up in your defense when the rest of the yahoos start giving you a hard time.....wait a minute.....I'm one of those yahoos :p. We'll have to think of something else. Maybe I can just send cash$$$ :D. Thanks Al, I appreciate it!
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Not counting the hooks they probably set me back a quarter each. They are made from fleamarket craft supplies and hot glue. Mono legs and antennae, hairbrush bristles for eyes a wooden toothpick for the tail and a little time. Now as what you can do for me....put them in front of some fish and see if they run from them or eat them. Just let me know if they work. I don't plan on making many unless we hit on a winner. I'll leave the mass production to those who are set up to do it. If we hit a winner I guess I'll have to break down and buy that camera I keep puting off "till the technology is cheaper". I don't do cameras too well but occasionally I would like to be able to share a picture or two if for no other reason than to show the next guy how to do something. AL
 

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I can manage that price :). As soon as I can I'll post pictures of 'em for you. I think I'm gonna start another public thread on didgital cameras now that you brought it up. I'm going to be in the market for a new one.

Thanks,
Gary
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
You should have them tommorow. I mailed them out at about 11:30 this morning. I was thinking of a how to if they prove to catch fish. I used mono to get the tail color on the high voltage parrot and it proved to be a little difficult to work with in a spot that thin. The rest of the colors were easier but they don't pop like I had hoped. None the less I think that it will either catch fish or it won't. AL
 

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I'll bite on this one as well.

I mainly fish offshore, so I try to find lures that imitate (resemble), vibrate (get attention), and tantilate (ie. flash).

For some reason gamefish will hit stuff that's pink. Everything from Spanish macs, blues, mahi, kings, cuda's, tuna, wahoo, and sails and all in between will attack a pink lure or lure that has pink in it. The only thing I know in the ocean that resembles anything close to that color would be a pink porgy... other than that, I'm clueless.

I know sometime trolling dark color'd lures (purples, blacks, blues) allow the fish to spot the lure from looking up at it against the sky, this is more a visual cue for the fish.

What I've found is scent can play a factor, but isnt as critical when trolling. Action of the bait is probably the reason for most hook-ups (i.e. imitated flying fish or bird rig skipping across the water, large bonita baits shakin at 9 knots like a big rattle trap, sub surface squids darting erratically at slower speeds).

Once fish are found, like mahi, blues, spanish... flash seem's to be the ticket. Clark Spoons, diamond jigs, mylar film inside rubber lures or on the outside of smaller bait type lures to immitate glass minnows.. etc..

I'm sure there's a science to it, but it's probably too much work for me to figure out. I just throw a little of everything out there to cover depth, action, surface, speed and etc.. then when I get a hook up on a certain type lure, it gives me an idea to run similar plugs as that's what the fish are bitin at that time.

I will admit, I get sucked in too when it comes to the next flashy thing on the shelf. Like when I got the Mann's 50+ gigantus.... thought it was an end all cure all depth type lure, but found it only worked maybe 9% of the time... not very effective. Sometimes trolling weights and planers (old school) with smaller baits will out perform the "newest" and greatest.

Now I will say, I've had luck with them berkly gulps. The rock colored shrimp and crab are great for hard bottom fishin, and the white grubs and peeler crabs work great on fish like snapper/porgies and trigger fish.

But when it comes to offshore lures, anything with a bit of green, pink, blue or purple seem to work for me, and you always see some kind of "flash" in offshore lures to "catch the attention" of the fish visually.

Fresh water color's on this that day and all that..... I have no clue. Stink bait for cats, minnows for bass and crappie is about all I know. To me, freshwater and lure selection are hard to understand and for some reason I just cannot grasp the concept.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Dave, while my offshore experience is limited I've been reading and absorbing all I could about it since I was a teenager. To me you sound like the condensed version of everything I have read or seen personally. I couldn't agree with you more. I really hope that Doctor Dave up in Woods Hole sees this thread and decides to share a little science with us. I know that a lure just fools one fish out of many but given the choice between ten of the same lures in different colors one color will generally outfish all the rest. AL
 

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I'm looking forward to the package, thanks Al.

For a short while I did some very heavy offshore stuff. Used ballyhoo mostly, but when I switched to artificial, I had the best luck with a pink squid, with a blue pork rind tail. The squid was similar to the ones Dave just posted, but solid pink, no spots and the pork rinds were a deep royal blue about 4"-6", hooked up "jig & pig" style. Now, I don't know of anything in the ocean that looks like that, but it worked, on Mahi especially. It was great for vertical jigging or trolling. I would also split the pig 3/4 up the length for more action.

Imitation works, but sometimes the weirdest stuff works better.

And....Great! another gulper. Or is that gulpie?:rolleyes: I must be the only guy to have NEVER caught ANYTHING on Gulp. Did I miss the "marinate in menhaden oil" step or something?:confused: I swear I can hear the fish laughing as Mr. Neuse Sport Shop heads to the bank. I'm starting to think conspiracy!

PH
Just 'cause I'm paranoid, doesn't mean they're not after me!
 

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hampsteadfishing said:
Hey PH - you do have to put those Gulp! baits in the water to work......;) just in case you were wondering... :rolleyes:

haha hah ah aha... lmho.. now that's funny, dont care who ya are! ha ha ha.....:D

Think I heard it said one time to take a fishermans wife to the tackle store and let her pick out a lure color because it would probably work better than anything in his tackle box....

Al, I would think a silver rattle trap would be the all in one "silver bullet" for lure color. It's a lure that has it all, flash, vibration, sound. It's the only lure I can think of off the top of my head that if I had to have only one lure to fish with for everything,, it would be the rattle trap. Any thoughts on that???

Here's the one I've tried to figure out -- looks absolutely like nothing in the sea, has no scent (other than cedar) and a plain ol lead head, yet catches almost every game fish. I look at this lure like that commercial where the lady sets a sink faucet on the table in front of a building engineer and says can you build a house around this? and that look the engineer has..... Whoever came up with the cedar plug was either lucky it worked or a genious.
 
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