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We all know size matters but, how much does color choice play a role? Good Article

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By: Scott Smith

B.A.S.S. Open Series Pro

Smith's article on color selection in bass fishing is half analysis of factors that lead to successful angling, and half tribute to one of the sport's greatest anglers. Whether you fish for bass, walleye, trout, saltwater fish or anything else that is targeted with artifiical lures or flies, this breakdown helps put things in perspective.

I've spent the last 15 years of my life trying to figure out how a skinny, sometimes nerdy looking, and definitely funny talking yankee boy from Michigan could absolutely dominate the sport that we all know can't be consistently dominated. He's just lucky, A blind hog'll find a nut every now'n then. These, and many more bitter assessments were made as I tried desperately not to like a guy that didn't fit the mold of our beloved Southern Sportsman! The facts are you don't accomplish what Kevin Vandam has without more than luck on your side. Unless he and Robert Johnson made the same deal at the crossroads, KVD knows something that most don't. Maybe I should say he understands something that most don't. It wasn't until recently that I figured out what that was.

I was lucky enough to grow up learning from some of the greatest fishermen I've ever been around. Between my uncle, my dad, and the grand old man himself Daddy Frank, I was given a first class fishing education that taught me so much about what is and what isn't important when it comes to being a consistently successful fisherman.

Fast forward to 2005. After winning his 2nd Bassmasters Classic and his 3rd Major B.A.S.S. event in a row, I finally decided to put my ignorance and prejudice aside and learn what it was about KVD that made him so special. By now it was obvious even to me that luck alone wasn't his secret. But what was it? Was it some new secret lure? Some KVD Signature Series rod or reel? Of course not. Ask any good fisherman (especially an old timer) and he'll tell you without any hesitation that success absolutely cannot be bought in a shiny new $25.00 crankbait or $600.00 rod and reel set up.

It only took a few minutes of listening to KVD talk to realize that he fully understands the same simple lessons that I've been taught since I was a little kid learning to walk with the aid of my dad's old Lamiglass rod and Ambassadeur 5000C. It was so wonderful to hear a Pro that really sounded like a Pro for a change. Of course he's got to sell his sponsors products, and therefore the obligatory Use red hooks cause they catch more fish nonsense comes out, but if you are able to look past all that marketing, you'll hear a man that is full of real fishing knowledge. As Daddy Frank always said, Knowledge is the key to fishing success.

Sit down and put together a list of factors that are most important to you when it comes to fishing. List them in order of importance from 1-10, ten being the least important and 1 being the most important. If you're like a lot fishermen and even a good majority of the Pros out there your list might look something like this.

Price of Bait

Bait Color

Hook Color

Blade Color

Skirt Color

Color again





If your list looked something similar to this don't feel bad. This is what we as fishermen have been conditioned for years to believe is the key to catching more fish. Don't fault the pro's, heck they're just trying to make a living, and pushing their sponsors products is a necessary evil. Don't blame the tackle manufacturers; they're just trying to run a business. But also don't believe everything you read in a Bass Fishing Magazine, or see on a television show, the reality is that best case scenario its biased information.

It quickly became clear to me why KVD is the monster fisherman he is. Just listen to him; instead of talking about his purple creek chub with a pink hiney, he talks about things like Depth of Presentation. Instead of going on and on about red eyes on blades, he talks about Speed of Presentation. Instead of the latest version of AXE scent for Fish, guaranteed to drive all the girl bass crazy, he talks about Size of Presentation. Instead of rambling on regurgitating the same old Pro-Speak that a vast majority of fishermen do, he talks about Light Penetration. Then he follows that up with things like, time of year, weather, and water conditions. He doesn't just speak about these things as being on the top of his list of priorities; it is obvious that he truly understands what he's saying. This is what we, as fishermen should strive to achieve. A complete understanding of the basics of bass. How, where, and when to find them. It's not until way down the list does he even touch on color. So why then do fishermen put so much emphasis on it?

I'm not saying that color is not a factor that should be considered. I am saying that too much emphasis on color will hinder you from learning the really important things that will make you a better fisherman. Keep it simple when it comes to color. Some sort of Natural/Clear color, some sort of Dark color, and some sort of bright color i.e. Chartreuse, etc. are really all you'll need for any fishing situation. Don't let yourself get caught up in that Magic Color syndrome. Spend your time learning how to properly read a map. Learn where to find fish based on time of year, water conditions, etc. These are the things that create consistent success. I've put together my top ten list, my mental checklist that I go through any time I'm about to begin a trip.

Time of Year

Weather Conditions

Water Conditions

Light Conditions

Depth of Presentation

Speed of Presentation

Size of Presentation


Is there plenty of toilet paper in the boat (?)

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