How To Choose Lure Colors To Catch More Fish!

How-To Fishing Videos
Lure Color Mastery: Whether you're casting soft plastics or hard baits, understanding the relationship between water clarity, sunlight, and forage can significantly impact your fishing success.

This comprehensive video simplifies the daunting task of choosing lure colors.

Join us as we unlock the secrets to selecting lure colors that will not only match the conditions but will also entice even the most elusive bass. Whether you're a seasoned pro or a novice eager to fill your livewell, this video is your ticket to becoming a more versatile and successful angler. Let "Lure Color Mastery" guide you to your next great catch!

So here's how you choose lure colors for different water clarities. Let's start with soft plastic baits, you know, worms, creature baits, tube baits, things like that. If you were going to pick one color, go with green pumpkin, right? Green pumpkin works everywhere. It's universal. I have fished all over the country, and green pumpkin has always worked for me. So if you're going to have one color in your tackle box, make sure you have green pumpkin. Every manufacturer knows this, so every soft plastic manufacturer always has green pumpkin in their arsenal for this reason.

But let's dig a little bit deeper. If you have really muddy water, dingy water, real dark water, you'd be surprised how well dark color soft plastic works. I'm talking black, Junebug, right? Real dark color baits. Why? Because in this dingy dark water, all the colors kind of go away and it turns into shades of gray. And you want something that really stands out, high contrast. So a dark color bait, like black, really stands out. It's an underrated color. Because it works really, really well in these conditions. You can also throw a solid white, too. That can work as well. I find, personally, the dark colors, that's why I'm recommending it. But I have caught them on solid white, too. But those solid, opaque colors, that's what you want to use in those dark colors.

Now, dark colored water. Now, if you're fishing really clear water, it's the opposite. Now, you want those natural colors. Green pumpkin, again, but any kind of translucent color, the browns, the green hues, that sort of thing. The clear with salt and pepper or clear with gold pepper. That kind of stuff works really well in clear water lakes. I've also found that any shade of purple works well, anywhere from your Junebug up to your electric blue, those kind of shades of blue/purple work really well. I don't know why, but I had a group of fishermen that I grew up with who was one of the best on the West Coast. And that was his trick. He said, "Fish any color you want as long as it's a shade of purple." And I said, "Okay." But he was right, it works really well, because in the West Coast they have a lot of clear water so it worked really well. So that's a quick little tip if you're fishing clear water.

All right, let's talk about hard baits. Now, typically, you know, we're talking about crankbaits, topwaters, jerkbaits, that kinda thing. For those, in addition to water clarity, you're also looking at brightness of the sun and the type of forage base you have. That's gonna determine what color to choose. Let's talk about topwaters first, like, walking bait such as Zara Spooks, and poppers, and Sammy's. I can go on and on with the list. Those colors, typically, what you want to do is, if you've got stained water, if you've got a white belly to them, or a bone color bait, or a white bait, that works really, really well.

Now, I kind of went overboard when I first started buying baits and I got like...I like the frog pattern. So I got brown frog, and I got green frog, and natural frog and all these other, but what they all have in common is a white belly. And that's really all the bass care about because they're looking up and that's all they see. So pick white or white belly for that stained water condition and that's going to serve you really well. Now, if you've got really clear water, you want to go something a little more translucent. They make lots of baits like this and lots of different colors, but it's got some transparency to it. And that works really well for wary bass. It does a good job of concealing the actual bait, but making that commotion where the bass are attracted to it. And it elicits a lot of strikes, a lot better than those solid colors.

Now, in sunny days and that stained water to muddy water that's when you want to use metallic colors, colors that reflect that sunlight, things like chrome, and chrome and black, and you know, any like a clown color, but it's got a metallic finish to it. That adds a little flash to it that shows up really well in those stained conditions and attracts a lot of bites. And in particular, that's when you want to pay attention to the type of forage you have. If you've got shad in your lake, then that chrome with black back is perfect. If you have perch, then you want that green-yellow, chartreuse kind of color. Again, that metallic flash, that's what you want to get in trout and that sort of stuff. Just make sure you know what your main forage base is. Match that color to metallic finish and that's what you throw when it's bright and sunny out.

Now, for crankbaits and jerkbaits, really what you want to pay attention to is that water clarity is going to make a big difference as well as the forage. So in the spring, you hear a lot of guys are throwing red, red, red, red, and that's for a good reason. Red, first of all, that color works best in the shallowest part of the spectrum of the water column. That's because red shows up first and then it also disappears first as the water clarity and the light penetration starts to diminish. Right? So the fish are up shallow in the spring. And so what shows up best but red? And so red works really, really well. It's a good color to use in that pre-spawn, spawn period time of year. Red doesn't work as much throughout the rest of the year. I find in the fall it picks back up again. Why? Because the fish are back up shallow again. So red suddenly becomes the new color to use, right? Everything's old, there's new again. So red, spring, and fall.

The rest of the time you want to look at the forage base, right? And so that kind of goes into the next piece which is matching the hatch. You really want your crankbaits to match the color of the main forage that the bass are keying in on. So shad is easy. Again, those silver, those whites, the blackbacks, the bluebacks, the shad colors, Tennessee Shad, what have you. Those work really, really well. But if your lake or river doesn't have a lot of that and has other species, make sure you match that. Perch and bluegill color work exceptionally well. Crawdad patterns work really well. Those reds and browns, again, the red crawdad pattern in the spring and fall, and then the browns later on in the middle of the year and in winter as well. So summer and winter. But make sure you match the forage base of the lake or the body of water that you're fishing and you're going to have a lot more success with crankbaits.

Now, as with any rules, of course you're going to have exceptions. And it's no different with choosing lure colors. Sometimes the exceptions can be dynamite. A good example would be when you're fishing for smallmouth bass. They like bright, flashy colors for some odd reason. So chartreuse with red, fire tiger, that type of thing tends to work really well for smallmouth even in really clear conditions. Remember, I just told you to throw natural colors in clear water. But if you're fishing for smallmouth and they don't want to whack that color, go to a bright, flashy one instead. I've even found like purple, purple crankbaits which are hard to find. I wish they made more of them. But smallmouth just chaw on them. They love that purple color.

So sometimes those oddball colors can work really, really well, particularly for smallmouth. But I've also found that in stained water, if the bass just aren't hitting the tried and proven colors that occasionally you go outside of the norm and you throw something that maybe they just aren't used to seeing, and that's all it takes to start getting bites again. So don't get totally locked in on these first rules. Always be ready to experiment if the bass aren't willing to cooperate and you can have yourself a really good day. Key thing about this though is it can get really confusing in choosing lure colors. And all you got to do is follow these simple rules and it's going to really narrow down your choices and make it easy for you. And find the right lure color to catch yourself a lot of bass. Go out there and have a lot of fun.