Painting Lures

Color Selection Simplified

Bass Fishing For Beginners
Matching the hatch and fishing situation is easy with lipless crankbaits, which are sold in a variety of colors and sizes. (Photo by Pete M. Anderson)

How many of you anglers who walk into tackle shops, Bass Pro Shops, Dick's, Wal-Marts, etc., go straight to the sporting goods department, look for the fishing rods sticking up in the air to zero in on the fishing lures and plastic baits section? Then you start looking over the enormous selections of all the different baits and colors offered by the many bait companies. You're not sure of precisely what is needed. So "The Big Question" comes to mind; "What colors do I need?" especially when looking over all the plastic baits.

Let me tell you a little secret that most anglers don't know! That is, you don't need a multitude of colors in your arsenal. That's right! And let me repeat it..... you don't need every color you see!

Now, some anglers may say, "Well, my partner and I use this certain color on this certain body of water, and it catches a lot of bass." Or others may say, "I saw this magazine article from one of the top Pros, and he said to use this yellow, spotted, half-stripped, 7-inch, curly tail, floating, thing-a-ma-jig plastic made by so-and-so. And I saw a picture in the magazine of the 14 lb. bass he caught off of this certain plastic bait, and now I've got to have some of these."

Now before we get started, let me explain something to you. The bass industry is a multi-billion dollar industry and growing more and more every day. Most of the Pros that give these bass seminars have an obligation to their sponsors to demonstrate, promote, and advertise their sponsored product (Nobody gives anything for free anymore!). For example, attend one of their fishing seminars and see if they don't try to sell you on a particular product or the technique they may use with this bait.

There are more outdoor TV fishing shows, outdoor magazines related to freshwater fishing, bass tournament organizations, bass fishing websites, bass fishing clubs, bait and tackle manufacturers, bass boat manufacturers, rod and reel companies, and it goes on and on and on, as there ever was before. That's probably why bass fishing is considered America's #1 freshwater sport! And ALL of these companies are in the market to make money.

Let's go a step further. What sells all of these products? Hmm, let's see now, advertisement (Marketing) and promotion are about the two best ways of selling a product that I'm aware of, and I'm sure that there are more, but first let's concentrate on these two for just one moment. Let's talk about fishing shows to give you an example.

I've co-hosted several TV fishing shows in the past, and let me tell you that on that show, most fish that you saw were caught before the actual filming of a show. Now, you might ask yourself, "Well, I saw the guy set his hook and then reel in the bass." All I can say to you is, don't believe everything that you see! Anything is possible with today's editing equipment, professional camera personnel, and the right camera shots.

This is how we did it:

  1. You cast out the sponsored bait product (whatever bait or baits the show is sponsored by, even though the fish were caught before the show on totally different baits, which is mostly the case).
  2. While you start your retrieve, you are back with your rod like you just got a strike and pretend to set the hook! (On actually nothing at all). Then the camera will stop filming.
  3. You reel your sponsored bait back into the boat, grab a bass out of the livewell and place the hook of the "sponsored product" in the fish's mouth.
  4. Next, you place the fish back into the water (with ease, and always keeping the slack out of your line), then you let the fish swim away from the boat.
  5. At this time, the camera starts rolling again and starts filming you fighting the fish back to the boat!...(Really quite simple!)

That's how most of the filming was done. It's not so much the bait, color, or technique used to catch the bass during the filming; they want to show you how many bass all these certain baits can catch! But do they? That's called Marketing!

However, I admit this wasn't the norm back then and isn't how most shows are produced now.  I don't know of any TV shows that do this now. With the prolific growth of live fishing shows, YouTube, and live streaming, it's impossible to get away with that now. Instead, "marketing" has shifted online to "influencers" instead of traditional TV shows.

Now take a look at the packages of most of the baits today. They have to look appealing on the shelves to the consumer. Just keep this in mind! Most baits on the market today are made and packaged to catch anglers and not so much the fish. I'm telling you this because of the different products, especially COLORS. You decide on which ones to buy.

First of all, I want you to understand that I am not saying that a specific color of a plastic bait will or will not work under many different circumstances. But I will say that you don't need more than approximately two dozen colors of plastics to catch bass on any body of water throughout the United States.

Now stop and think a minute. There are, without exaggeration, thousands of colors and combinations of plastic bait colors on today's market. Remember what I just said! Only two dozen colors, and not hundreds of different colors! Whew! What a money saver, right?

If you usually fish deeper than 20-foot depths, you don't even need to have that many colors. The deeper a bait is in the water, the less of its color can be seen by the bass. That's right, the deeper it goes down into the water, the color spectrum starts to diminish. In other words, if you had a multi-colored plastic worm and you cast it out, letting it drop to a 25-foot depth, the colors of that multi-colored plastic worm would be shades of grays and blacks. Just like scuba diving, everything looks black and white when you get down to a certain depth.

The same goes for colored plastics. How many colors does an angler need when fishing these depths? It doesn't matter what color you throw into 20-foot plus depths because all colors will look the same on the bottom. The only difference now will be is your shade variations. So, why buy hundreds of different colors of plastic baits when they will all lose their color at deeper depths? Makes no sense to me.

So there is a lesson to be learned. The most crucial factor to keep in mind when fishing with plastics is that the presentation of the bait is what counts! And not so much the color.

Until next time.....Take Care & God Bless!