by Bob Jensen
As we get closer to the 2015 open water-fishing season being in full gear, it’s fun and productive to think about and talk about some things that can affect our fishing success, and there are a good number of those things. Some of those considerations involve the lures we choose to use. Lure size, shape, speed at which it’s fished, are all considerations. The thing that creates the most interest it seems though, is lure color. There are times when lure color is not so important, and there are times when having the lure with the right color on your line can be the difference between catching a few and catching a lot. Keep these color considerations in mind next time you’re tying on a lure that you want the fish to eat.
There are so many lures available today that have such beautiful paint jobs: They’re almost like jewelry. Crank baits in particular have become works-of-art. I used to have a hard time putting these wonderful looking baits in the water where they might get snagged or a toothy fish might take them away from me. I got over that fear pretty quickly. The reality is that we need different looking baits to catch fish. Some baits look natural, others look anything but natural, and sometimes we wonder why a fish would eat something that doesn’t look natural, but they do.
We should always consider color, and we should always be experimenting with color. The best anglers I know and that I fish with change colors often. When the fish aren’t hitting the color they’re using, they try different colors to see if they can find a color the fish want to eat. And, when the fish are hitting the color being used pretty good, they change colors to see if they can dial in an exact color pattern that will trigger even more or bigger fish.
The general rule-of-thumb is to use natural or subtle colored baits in clear water, and brighter, gaudier colors in stained water, and that concept is usually a pretty good place to start. But don’t hesitate to put a bright chartreuse or orange bait in clear water for walleyes: There are times when bright baits in clear water are killers.
Perhaps the best time to switch colors is when you’re dealing with conditioned fish. If you’re fishing a specific spot for walleyes or crappies or whatever, say a small rock hump, and you’ve been catching the fish good on a black jig, but then the fishing slows, try a different color before you leave. The fish may have become conditioned to the black jig, but if you put a white jig out there, a few more will eat it. And, before you leave the spot, try an entirely different presentation, maybe a slip-bobber rig. You’ll often take a few more by doing so.
The same thing holds true for some bodies of water. On a good number of lakes in the recent past, a crankbait with a purple back has been like magic for walleyes. But lately that color hasn’t been so good. The fish got conditioned to it and now prefer a different color. That happens more than you might think.
Using different colors, if nothing else, makes us do different things, and that’s often what it takes to catch more fish. This open water fishing season, be willing to try colors you haven’t tried in the past. If you do, you’re going to catch more fish.