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JRammit

Match the hatch... Or off the wall

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Color selection is a huge topic here... Everyone has their favorites, and conditions narrow down the choices..... But as a general rule for each angler, do you try and match the hatch? Or do you go for off the wall colors??

Its always a battle for me... I like my bait to stand out, i figure the bass see bluegill and shad all day every day, when my bait swims by i want it to get their attention........ But on the flip side, i know they chase and eat those bluegill and shad too.. For the confidence factor, its difficult not to throw those colors

For this thread, we'll talk all types of baits....... Do you match the hatch? Or go off the wall?... Or both?

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I do both as far as color goes.

 

However I do try to throw the whatever the size of the baitfish in the water I am fishing is

usually smaller in spring, bigger in the fall

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In my very limited experience, it seems the bass in my favorite lakes have a few favorite colors.  I try others, but always return to the favorites.  However, I'm not convinced it is the color more than my confidence and attention with those colors.

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Match the hatch in my opinion should by natural inclination be more successful than NOT matching the hatch.

On some of my best fishing days matching the hatch is what puts the most fish in the boat and at the fastest rate too.

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I have found matching the size is much more important than matching a color. If the bass are feeding on small minnows, I just switch to a really small baitfish profile. I don't really worry too much about the color. 

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You don't need to match anything, I fish rainbow trout pattern, shad pattern and none of those live where I fish most of the time.

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In my experience:

1. Match the hatch

2. Change size

3. Change color

4. Something completely off the wall

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"Match the hatch" is a trout fishing term used when there is a hatch of a particular type of insect that is emerging on the river that the trout are feeding on. Fly fishermen try to match their fly to look like that insect. Of course there are times when bass a keying on a particular food type and you would be smart to try and copy that. But, most times, bass are opportunistic feeders that when hungry, will eat nearly anything.  I usually don't start out trying to match the hatch, but if I catch a few fish that are coughing up a lot of the same type food, I'll switch to something that resembles what they have been feeding on.

For you guys who rely on matching the hatch, explain why worms are one of the most successful baits of all time when worms are seldom found swimming around in lakes.

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Sometimes I use colors that have caught fish before under the same conditions . Sometimes I use whatever floats my boat .

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I've experienced times when color made absolutely no difference at all, I would switch colors to the opposite end of the color spectrum, and that color woukd be productive.

I've experienced times when I had to change colors constantly to continue  getting bit, catch 3-4, change colors, and catch 3-4 more. This pattern would continue all day or night.

I've experienced times when if ya wasn't throwing a particular color ya wasn't getting bit period!As for size of the lure, it depends on the body of water, some places I fish do not have a population of large bass (3 lbs +) so throwing large baits would be an exercise in futility!

But then again I've caught large bass (6-9 lbs) on small baits!

I make color and size selections based on previoys experience with a body of water and current conditions.

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When I am on the St. Johns river watching thousands of bass boiling up on bait fish in huge boils up and down the river- I match the hatch!

When I have tried to throw off the wall lures at them quite often they won't even touch it. If I even try and throw a 4 inch swimbait out there and they are feeding on 2 inch bait fish, my hits are much fewer if any at all. But as I dial down into the match the hatch range the hits jump way up.

Try the rubber worm in this situation and you might not even get a bite!

But under other circumstances it will do very well.

I'd say matching the hatch is a situational thing.

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I try to concentrate on what my lure is doing, location and depth would be first, second and third in no particular order and finally color selection would be the last thing I try and dial in.

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I'd have to say I go natural colors most of the time.  if I get discouraged I'll switch to what I call clown baits and sometimes they're useful but most times I'm just using it to justify having in my tackle box, lol.

Brown, green, black - on the bottom (jigs, T-rig, Drop Shot, etc)

White, silver, cream, blue - any swimbaits

one jig that blurs the lines between useful and clown, the Mizzou Craw from Strike King.  It's one of my favorite but honestly it doesn't produce like I think it should but d**n do I get confident when I tie it on

 

Strike King Tour Grade Finesse Football Jigs

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2 hours ago, Jigfishn10 said:

I try to concentrate on what my lure is doing, location and depth would be first, second and third in no particular order and finally color selection would be the last thing I try and dial in.

X2

I think depth is #1, bottom contact vs "moving lures" is #2.

 

:party-100:

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Getting locked into specific colors because you had success with those in the past can be counter productive. With that said we all tend to do things we are comfortable with, making changes can be difficult and sometimes needed.

If you fish with different partners or draw tournaments, you will experience bass being caught on lures and colors you never use, always an eye opener.

The only lures I use that match the hatch are swimbaits, everything else tends to color contrasting with darker backs lighter bellies in something like the prey bass are eating at the moment. My favorite jig color is a combination of black/brown/purple and soft plastics with purple high lites tend to get used a lot for the past 45 years or so.

Tom

 

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Yeah, as a specific example I just placed an order with Siebert Outfoors for a dozen 1 oz football jigs, brown with a few strands of blue after watching a video featuring Mark Zona. This is a color and a presentation I would NEVER choose on my own!

 

:party-100:

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Depends on the situation. I feel that when you're fishing a body of water that has tons and tons of a certain kind of baitfish, or a certain size, matching the hatch could be counter productive. You need something that sticks out from the crowd a little bit in my opinion. 

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If you use a shad crankbait or spinnerbait ... in a lake full of shad its not going to match the hatch very well . The action of those lures are going to make it stand out .

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5 hours ago, mbtharp1 said:

Depends on the situation. I feel that when you're fishing a body of water that has tons and tons of a certain kind of baitfish, or a certain size, matching the hatch could be counter productive. You need something that sticks out from the crowd a little bit in my opinion. 

5 hours ago, mbtharp1 said:

Depends on the situation. I feel that when you're fishing a body of water that has tons and tons of a certain kind of baitfish, or a certain size, matching the hatch could be counter productive. You need something that sticks out from the crowd a little bit in my opinion. 

My thoughts exactly!

The little lake i fish is teaming with baby bass and bluegill.. Ive tried matching those colors with little success.... The colors that work best there dont resemble a bass or bluegill in any way

 

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8 hours ago, Jake the Cake said:

I'd have to say I go natural colors most of the time.  if I get discouraged I'll switch to what I call clown baits and sometimes they're useful but most times I'm just using it to justify having in my tackle box, lol.

Brown, green, black - on the bottom (jigs, T-rig, Drop Shot, etc)

White, silver, cream, blue - any swimbaits

one jig that blurs the lines between useful and clown, the Mizzou Craw from Strike King.  It's one of my favorite but honestly it doesn't produce like I think it should but d**n do I get confident when I tie it on

 

Strike King Tour Grade Finesse Football Jigs

I can see why you like this...it should have an "R" rating!

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I worry more about the action of my bait and what color to use with the water condition.  I start off using natural colors.  If those don't work I switch to the colors are different, or have high contrast.  

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Regardless of color choice, confidence is key. Sometimes you need to develop that confidence. Just like everything in bass fishing, nothing is ever certain.

Can color matter? Yes

Will it always matter? no

In this case I like to keep it simple. For cranks I like natural shad, natural bluegill, orange/red craw, and a non-natural color like bright chartreuse/black or fire-tiger. This color choice doesn't change regardless of if the lake has that specific forage, I will always have that selection.

Bass are known to both follow specific feeding patterns AND being very opportunistic. I like to believe when bass approach your bait, they ask themselves two questions: Is it alive? and will it fit in my mouth? And there are plenty of instances when they ignore those questions lol.

I will also argue that there are plenty of instances when bass are conditioned to react certain colors/shapes so it can be beneficial to mimic these.

I know this was a very vague answer, but utilize your instincts and pay attention to your surroundings.

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Depth and water clarity control color.

All colors, other than for blue, fade to black or gray in deeper or stained water.

If the bass in the area are aggressive they will hit your lure no matter what color it is.

If the bass in the area are not aggressive they will not hit your bait no matter what colors you present.

 

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Lure size and presentation tend to be much more important to me than color most of the time.  The closer your bait comes to mimicking forage or (when appropriate) just p*ssing them off, the closer you are to being consistent, I believe.  Matching things like sound and color to conditions is also important, but only if presentation is on point first.  

 

As for for mimicking shad/alewifes in lakes full of them... Unlike when tossing flies for trout, I don't typically want my lure to look just like all of the forage around it.  I want a jerkbait that looks injured/dieing/struggling in current or cold temperatures.  I want a crank bait that's fleeing a predator and swimming confused/clumsily and making a racket.  I want my jig bumping into cover and kicking up dirt like a terrified crayfish.  Yes, there are some incredibly realistic looking lures out there, but most of them are out performed by a spinnerbait (essentially a jig head built on a safety pin with metal blades).   If I ever see a live spinnerbait just swimming in a lake, I'm checking myself into rehab.  

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I have more confidence in natural colors, therefore use them more often, and seem to catch better quality fish on them.  Is it probably a coincidence?...yes.  

I turn to hot colors when what I usually do isn't working or the water clarity is poor.  However I reach for black in those situations first...just seems to work for me.

I used to know a guy who would fish nothing but small fire tiger cranks with great success so maybe color is more about catching fishermen than fish?  

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