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It’s all about color! At least that’s what a lot of people will tell you. My question is there a definitive answer to what color bait/lure should be used in daylight/clear water and what should be use at dusk/murky water? Does it depend on the style/type of bait being used? I’m thinking what makes sense to me is a lighter/brighter color for dusk/murky water as it would be easier for the fish to see and a darker color for brighter/clear water conditions as again, it would stand out more than a lighter bait that would blend in. Maybe I’m all wrong about this, lord knows I’m no master fisherman and hence the question. It seems whenever I ask somebody else I’ll get a different answer each time so I figured I’d try my luck here :).

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19 minutes ago, Brett's_daddy said:

 It seems whenever I ask somebody else I’ll get a different answer each time so I figured I’d try my luck here :).

 

That's because there is no one correct answer, only common guidance passed along.

-T9

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I find that, for whatever reason, in murky water, black and darker colors seem to be best for soft baits, while lighter colors (especially firetiger and chartreuse) seem to work better for hardbaits. I actually found an all black crankbait, and threw it to no avail. That said, I keep my color selection system as follows:

Night Fishing: All black/ blue colors.

Murky Water: Black/ blue or black/ red, except for crankbaits, topwaters, and spinnerbaits, which I like a chartreuse color

Clear Water: Watermelon/ Pumpkin colors for plastics and jigs, natural baitfish/ forage colors for hardbaits

Real Clear Water: White/ baitfish colors for plastics and jigs, natural baitfish/ forage colors for hardbaits

This isn't be all, end all, and don't be afraid to experiment with different colors on various days. This is merely for simplicity, and frugality, as I've seen guys who carry 10 different sizes of the same lure in 10 different colors, who on earth has time, money, or space for that? The beauty is that, if you keep multiple rods rigged up and ready to go with different baits, you can have multiple different colors of lures on (ie a black worm, watermelon jig, bluegill crankbait, chartreuse spinnerbait, etc), and work them until you find out what the fish are looking for at a given time, and alter the rest of your arsenal to match this. 

Furthermore, another key aspect is technique and action of the lure, I believe that many times, this will be more important than color. Simply put, the guy who carries, for example, only black colored worms, but knows how to present and work them flawlessly, will catch more fish over time than the guy who carries an entire palette of colors of the same worm, but isn't as good at working it.  

 

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It is definitely NOT about color most of the time, but sometimes color can be critical and sometimes it can make good fishing better. I suggest changing colors and trying new lures when you are on a good bite. There is no way of really testing when the fish are shut down.

:fishing-026:

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I ran across a very comprehensive chart with water clarity up one side and sky conditions across. a while back. But if you Google it, you'll find charts with guidelines based on these conditions. With black plastics, when in doubt, whip black and blue out.

I can tell you in my neck of the woods where the water always keeps a stain, the naturals like watermelon and pumpkin do not work as well as darks and brights. Purple is very good soft plastic choice here. Black/blue as well.

 

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Problem is no bass has ever read a single color chart!

I throw it & let the bass tell me if they like it!

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color is not my most important factor, not by a long shot actually.

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Color Is a fishermans preference not the fishes. :)

I challenge you to take 3-4 different colors out(that YOU like) for several months and fish the fire out of them. Take careful notes on which worked best for you and go from there. :)

 

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Depends on the lake, but one lake in particular that I fish color is huge. The thread riverbasser linked to helped get me thinking to figure out why. 

The lake is a moderately clear water lake in N. WI with about 10 feet visibility. The prime prey in the areas I fish are gills. Flat sunny conditions seem to hit only smoke some kind of flake, purple is my go to. This makes sense when you think of the sun reflecting off a gills scales it probably looks something like that. Water red or green pumpkin are a no go.

sunny and choppy or just over cast, water red and green pumpkin are money and the smoke flakes get blanked. Under these conditions the gills green hues are going to stand out, because the sun won't be reflecting directly off them. 

So for clear water it is good old match the hatch, it just turns out that that might not be as straightforward as you would think.

dirty water, I am not sure color matters all that much. Fishing the Ned rig quite a bit with lots of different colors, white may have a slight edge, but only slight. There it just seems that the bait is moving too quickly and with the stained water they really only see the profile to decide to crush it or let it pass. 

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6 hours ago, Catt said:

Problem is no bass has ever read a single color chart!

I throw it & let the bass tell me if they like it!

Best said^

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I walk the aisles at Academy, Dick's, or wherever & see a color that appeals to me I buy it.

I don't consider sky color, water clarity, or anything else!

Last year was Zoom's Gooseberry, Watermelon Slice, & Sprayed Grass

Rage Tail's Falcon Lake Craw has been killer in every condition day or night.

This year I added California 420, & Watermelon Red Tomato.

This one has quickly climbed to Hawg status ;)

download (3).jpg

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11 hours ago, roadwarrior said:

It is definitely NOT about color most of the time, but sometimes color can be critical and sometimes it can make good fishing better. I suggest changing colors and trying new lures when you are on a good bite. There is no way of really testing when the fish are shut down.

:fishing-026:

Road warrior is right. Depending where I am and how much time I have, I switch colors and find what I am gettin action on. In my canal out back, doesn't matter what the water looks like...they will only bite white and green. Weirdest thing in the world. I can throw a buzz, top water frog, and a worm, and as long as they are those colors, I get hits. But here is a tip on that... The bright green matches the Lilly pads, and fish and bass in general are attracted to the white. That's why you always put light side down, and i always start with matching the surrounding environment in new spots. 

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Colors do make a big difference, but you just have to figure it out for yourself.  I think the clearer the water the more likely that color will be a significant factor.  And there is a lot of evidence that dark colors are more visible in murkier water.  I recently experienced clear water smallmouths preferring one of two drop shot baits that were identical exc one had purple and green flecks, the other did not.

I think fish tend to use motion first, then color most of the time.  I think it's whatever triggers their specific "instincts" that day. Keep in mind their brain is said to be "pea sized."    When you consider what some lures look like, yet work effectively, you have a hard time arguing that details of shape and appearance have a lot to do with it.  What natural prey is shaped like a tube?   Or a jig skirt? Or a spinnerbait?  All of these lures suggest it's more about having the right cues with motion and color.  If you think about it by visualizing what the lures look like to fish, look at them with your eyes out of focus, I think you have what fish see.  And it's not very detailed.

We have all encountered the day when slow works great, other days it does not.  And the day when fast works great, other days when it does not.  Why?  I don't know.  But the bass's instincts do.

Even bonefish, which are in crystal clear water, take flies that hardly resemble their natural prey, but they have to move right to get most bones to bite.  And sometimes, be the right color.  

Both with bass and bones, somewhat matching the color of the environment is often the best place to start, as stated in the previous post.  Natural prey tends to take on the color of the environment.  

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

 

 

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I've seen times when color made absolutely no difference at all.

I've seen times when color made all the difference in world.

I've seen times when I had to change color often to keep getting bit.

In my experience this tell me color charts are meaningless!

How were these charts made?

Some picked a color, throw it, got bit, & decided, ya need to throw this color in these conditions!

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I think that color makes a difference, so that is why I have lots of different colors in many different shapes of soft plastics.  I base my color choices on what has worked in the past in similar situations OR I open up the worm bag ( or the craw bag, or the senko bag or the semko imitator bag or the brush hog bag or the lizard bag ) and which ever color screams out to me "PUT ME IN!!" = then that is the color I go with.

As you can tell,this is a very well thought out and reasoned plan.

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A lot of people are saying color is secondary, or even tertiary to the whole equation. But it's not when you know there are bass and you know what type bait to use. Then color is the difference between bites and no bites.

Fish in a particular reservoir I go to won't bite certain colors. I can stubbornly throw them while my buddy in front of the boat throws other colors and catches fish. Well, if he offers me a color he's catching on and I don't have it, I'm taking it until I can get some. I have a big plastic container full of natural color soft plastics they don't eat where I fish. I keep them for other places, but I don't carry them in my bag unless I go to a new place.

But that doesn't mean I change colors with the sun or water conditions. Once I have a good idea what they eat at a place, I stick with it. If I go elsewhere, all bets are off. I know people don't like the neon colored worms like limetreuse or bubble gum. I haven't found the place they won't get bites.

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I've never seen or heard of any creature in any body of water that is "methiolate" in color, or anything that crawls or swims that is "bubble gum pink". 

For me it comes down to this... If the fish are there and it works, it works..If it doesn't try something else... I'll never know why anyway.

 

 

Mike 

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Walk into any fishing tackle store and look at lure or bait colors and every color is on the shelf.

Doesn't matter if you are a bass angler or trout, walleye, musky, pike or salt water game fish color selection is limitless. Anglers want to catch fish and color isn't important if you have the color that is working.

2 colors seem to be predominate on this site; green pumpkin and black/blue for bottom bumping lures or sexy Shad for crankbaits. 10 years ago what was the predominate color for bass anglers or 10 years from now what colors will everyone be using? The answer is unknown because anglers change their preference based on what is popular at that time.

Black/blue is very popular for jigs and lures fished at night. You can't buy a strike using black/blue  where I fish during the day at night and mid winter it's good.

Green pumpkin came on the scene about 15 years ago, before then it was called green weenie a laminate of green and brown or light green and cinnamon, before those it was motor oil.

Multiple flake colors in soft plastics today are called candy or whatever sets them apart.

Sexy Shad was coined by KVD, Shad color with chartruese lateral line. Shad color crankbaits have been popular for decades.

Color....all you need is the one that works.

Tom

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Picking color is like color picking which worm to throw, straight tail, hook tail, or ribbion tail...ya pick one & throw it.

If it works ya put a little asterisk next to it & file in your brain for future reference!

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35 minutes ago, Catt said:

Picking color is like color picking which worm to throw, straight tail, hook tail, or ribbion tail...ya pick one & throw it.

If it works ya put a little asterisk next to it & file in your brain for future reference!

I keep track of the baits/colors used for the last 5 years on the example I gave above and how many fish were caught on each and it is pretty clear what colors work. There are a few oddball colors that got bit, but had very low numbers of fish, so they weren't what they really wanted.

It is interesting to look at the list, which was started to keep me from carrying to many baits, you can guess how that worked out for me lol.

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Color does matter. On days I can not get bit. After 2 or 3 hours of changing colors. I but the Color-C-Lector in the water then the bite is on.  I have colors that I would have never used if not for the Color-C-Lector. Works every time.

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This is a great subject and I agree with others that the exact color of the lure might or might not matter on a particular day. I have had days where lure color made no difference at all, the bass would bite anything presented well to them on those days. I have had days where I present them every lure color I have on me, yet the bass would only bite 1 specific color with a specific technique. Bass are a fascinating species of fish, and are much more intelligent than most people give them credit for!

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