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Differing Opinions on Water Clarity and Lure Color

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I fish a small lake with extremely low visibility (<1 ft.) and have heard differing opinions on lure color choice.  Some say using dark colors are effective because of the reflective factors of the stained water which make the bait more visible.  On the other hand, some say using bright contrasting colors are the most effective because THEY provide more visibility.  I'd love to hear any opinions from the well seasoned.  Thanks!  :)

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personally...and I am sure there are those that will disagree...but it kinda depends on the body of water. I fish two places that always seem to be dirty and stirred up..

The Calumet River

The Kankakee River

On the Calumet I will almost always toos a solid black bandit or a dark bait.

On the Kankakee...which usually has the same "hot chocolate" clarity...a dark color never seems to avail much success at all. I almost always will throw a bright colored bait.

...so I guess my point is...try both.

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There 's a small lake about an hour and a half drive from my homeplace, in the 20 years or so I 've fished it never ever have I seen it with more than half a foot of visibility, the place is a mudhole and white spinnerbaits are the No 1 bait in that lake followed closely by firetiger lipless cranks.

One can rationalize that fire tiger is a good option since it 's a very bright color, but white spinnerbaits in really muddy water ?

What you think is more important ?

1.- Vibration

2.- Flash

3.- Sound

4.- Color

To me, that 's the order, I don 't care much about color as much as I care about vibration and flash.

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Depth of light can be decieving and my guess is your water clarity is better than you think. Take a white spinnerbait and lower down until you can't see it at all, should deeper that 12".

Contrast can be more important than color in low light or muddy water. The greatest contrast of "color" is black & white, the extremes. When you start to add color spectrums using the prime colors, then try to stay as far apart with two or more colors as possible; black and chartruese for example. Black or dark colors create a dark profile that contrast with both the waters surface and bottom, so bass find the profile of the lure first be using thier sight, however they locate the lure with the lateral line sense of feeling vibrations before seeing the lure in poor light conditions. Using lures that move at a steady pace and move a lot of water to create vibrations, plus have a profile that the bass sees as prey is what you are trying to do with lure selection.

WRB

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excellent info, thanks very much!  I was out today and as usual the bass weren't chasing anything, since July I've had to lay it on their noses to get a strike, and the aggressiveness of the strikes have been weak and "half-assed" (even with my bigger fish).  The vast majority of my fish have come on the first 20% of the retrieve.  The reason I bring this is up is the previous mention of important factors in murky water; most notably vibration, flash and sound.  Unfortunately, lures with these properties don't constitute finesse fishing (I don't think).  Does anyone have any lure/bait ideas to prove me wrong? Because of the bass' behavior I've been forced to use soft plastics.

I'll be out tomorrow afternoon and I definitely will experiment with contrasting colors and some light colored selections.  Up to this point, the lightest color I've used all summer has been a darkish blue.    

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What you think is more important?

1. - Vibration

2. - Flash

3. - Sound

4. - Color

I simplify it farther by grouping flash with color and vibration with sound with the latter being of most important. With extremely low visibility I would opt for lures containing chartreuses, fluorescent oranges & fluorescent reds.

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Flash IMO is only a factor when trying to create a reaction bite. Vibrations that bass hear with the lateral line is low frequency so they can detect a bait fish swimming from a long distance. The bass also has ears that can determine higher frequencies and used for close encounters with crayfsih etc. The bottom line is bass can hear a plastic worm with a tail that waves going through the water. We call this pushing water and lots of lures do this and make slient sounds to us, but bass pick up the low vibrations of moving water. So a paddle tail, or curl tail worm works better in low light conditions than a straight tail worm for example. Adding rattles will help the bass when the worm is close. black grap with blue neon stripe is an excellent choice of color for your water clarity conditions.

Glass 'N brass, a bead between the weight and worm is a good finesse rig, same set up, except a slip shot rig. Sworming Hornets jig with a Tiny fluke, or their Swingblade hook with a soft jerk bait are few finesse presentations to try.

WRB

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I fish Lake Neely Henry in Gadsden, Al and it is always a murkey green color at best. At worst it is a brownish color. I have caught numerous Bass with a dark colored jig and a yellow spinner bait. Well, a friend of mine and I were on a boat one day and after numerous hours of fishing without any results he managed to pull in a very nice Bass while using a white jig with a white trailer [no rattles] in about 10' of water! Go figure.

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I fish Lake Neely Henry in Gadsden, Al and it is always a murkey green color at best. At worst it is a brownish color. I have caught numerous Bass with a dark colored jig and a yellow spinner bait. Well, a friend of mine and I were on a boat one day and after numerous hours of fishing without any results he managed to pull in a very nice Bass while using a white jig with a white trailer [no rattles] in about 10' of water! Go figure.

White is a high contrast color agianst a dark bottom where jigs are fished.

Jigs also make a click sound everytime they fall and hit a rock. Jig trailers push water and when a jig abruptly stops, the trailer raises up giving the elusion of life to a bass watching it, like a dying baitfish. White jigs can be very effective, just like black, white is a high contrast color and a good choice for night fishing at times.

WRB

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When water clarity is zero, I like baits that displaces alot of water which is vibration for them to zone in on.      That could be a jig that is double skirted with rattles.    I like lots of noise with heavy surface chop, that can be from lots of boat traffic, rain, or wind.

Less wind means I like quiter baits with less rattle but still like bulky baits to displace water.

Colors are not as important when in muddy water, hence they aren't feeding from sight.

Matt

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I just a article about this and they said basically it is

1. - Vibration  

2. - Flash  

3. - Sound  

4. - Color

Color is mainly only the case if it is clear and shallow depth, as in only a couple of feet below the surface.  Because once a lure goes down so far it loses it's color and you only see shades of gray. black, and a little white.  So even if it is a pink, yellow, etc... it will look balck or light gray not the actually color.  I wouldn't look at color at much.  Mainly vibration because the fish can hear it and focus in on it even they can't see it.  You also need to remember that fish can hear better in the water then we can.  It doesn't have to be a rattle making a vibration, but it can be something like the tail on a worm or a wobble.  Fish can sense and hear the motion as it goes through the water.

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thats assuming bass see in the same way we do. i'm guessing they don't. granted, color may be #4 on the importance list. anyone have any knowledge on bass vision by chance?

--Go CUBS :D

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I vary dark water like you're asking about, I would try white and chartreuse and black and chartreuse conditions.  If it's sunny, a great color is June bug.  I'm talking soft plastic colors.  And green pumpkin is always great that's why its so popular.

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Agreed.Junebug has got to be the number one along with red shad for soft plastics that is.For the faster moving "action lure"spinners,buzzers,cranks,nice bright and loud colors seem to out produce in the tanic and murky waters I fish a lot here in florida.

  If you can, try the 6.5 inch yamamoto kut tail worm.This lure puts off a lot more vibration than you may think when rigged weightless,and seems to work a little better in the dark water at times when it seems like you gotta smack one on the forehead to get a bite.Just do nothing,dont twitch too much,just kinda wind it in a little or raise it every now and then.

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Both seem to work with my although I have had more success in a local pond that has very low visablity with darker baits. I have had some success with brighter baits also. Just try both and see what the fish like.

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