Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Marine

The Color Red & Blue

Recommended Posts

In my initial stocking of bass fishing tackle I bought a bunch of red colored soft plastics... red shad, cherry seed, red bug, etc... etc... etc... The problem I'm having is that I've never been able to find out in what conditions you should use red soft plastics; i.e. water conditions...

Blue is another one that throws me for a loop. Not black & blue, I understand the use of black & blue jigs... I'm talking specifically about straight up blue soft plastic lures.

I know I'm asking a lot of questions but I'm trying to learn & become a better bass fisherman... plus a teacher of these skills to my son & wife.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, bluejig said:

Cherry seed on douglas any time 

+1, it also works on Cherokee at night as well.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

^^^ that. As for blue, not something I personally am fond of but I'd think it'd do well in low light or when the food is bluish

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I understand that Cherrie seed & Red Shad is extremely effective on Douglas but why do y'all think that the color red is so effective? Is red colored soft plastics a color that should only be used in clear lakes?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Bass have a hard time distinguishing a lot of color variations, plus its hard to say what a color looks like down in 20 ft of silty lake water, so its hard to say what a bass might consider red or blue or chartreuse to resemble. Also, lets not give a bass too much credit....most of the time, they aren't thinking a lure is anything.....they lack cognitive thought process. So, basically, its just triggering a feed response.

 Thing is, they like it on some lakes & on others they don't. Sometimes you can't ask why, you just accept it at face value & move on. Whatever they think it is, on lakes where it works, they sure do like it.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Andy is right on for about everything he said. I have a friend that has been a fish biologist for 25+ years and he has done 100's of experiments on this exact question. He told me many years ago that Bass react to only 3 colors about 90% of the time and that is in 3 feet of water or less. Red, White and Purple. He said in ultra clear water like Gin Clear they do have a little better reaction down to about 7 feet. He said basically after that depth red and purple become almost a dark shade of gray and white becomes a lighter shad of gray. He said anything below 10 feet is all related to their lateral line and not sight. They begin searching for what ever their lateral line is telling them is moving in the water. He said at that point the most important thing about a bait is how much or little action it has making it easier or harder for a bass to home in on. From that point on I decided that because of my style of fishing that my baits needed to produce as much action as possible 100% of the time. That is why I have said actions speak louder than colors to many anglers. Now with that said I asked him if glitters had any effect of Bass and bait colors. He said Bass react very much more to flashy baits. That is why when at all possible when I make my baits for myself I will use Red, Green, Purple or Hologram glitter in my baits.

So with that knowledge I made a list of the soft bait colors I would focus on for my fishing time on the water. Black, Red, White, Purple, Greens and clear smoke.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

BOOM!!!! Out of all of my reading & questioning folks on other sites throughout the year... I FINALLY understand the color red in soft plastic lures & have even more knowledge in regards to the color spectrum as it relates to bass!

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One thing about fishing and that's I don't think anyone will ever fully be able to explain em. We go out, and based on a lot of factors, temperature, wind, visibility, season, etc., we expect them to be doing a certain thing. And there are definitely times you can bank on it being exactly what you're predicting. But sometimes, they do things that make absolutely no sense. See em down way deep, and work depths all day long with all manner of baits....nothing, then finally outta frustration or just boredom you start playing around tossing topwaters or other "crazy" lures, and BOOM!!! Or they're shallow, when it's 90+ degrees and bathwater temps, bright sunlight, and you're like huh???, thinking they should be deep. Lure colors are another example. I swear you could go to Douglas and they be tearing up a certain color, pull the boat out and head to a different lake that same day and they won't even sniff it. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Donnie - recommend picking Knowing Bass:  The Scientific Approach to Catching More Fish by Keith Jones.  While parts of read like a college marine biology text book, it explains what bass can and cannot see.  Color is a big piece of that discussion.  Jones' discussion on the construct and capabilities of a bass' eye is revealing.  Essentially, it throws out conventional wisdom on secret colors and focuses the choice on contrast.  Think about that for a minute.  Nothing in nature looks like a black/blue jig yet that color pattern out-produces just about every other jig color.  According to Jones it's because bass have an easier time picking it up against background.

 

There's also a physics lesson in this - different colors of light have different energy levels.  The short story here is that after about 10' or so everything is black or shades of grey to a bass.  Here's where the secret color theory starts to fall apart according to Jones.  Rather than focusing on reds, blues, or greens he suggests we should focus on colors that offer the most contrast in the conditions we're fishing.

 

So, finally, to your question - for me, reds have been most effective in ~clear water.  Clear reds like cherry seed and plum have worked best for me in gin clear water.  Red shad has been best in stained or murky water.  I routinely use bright blue trailers and craws when fishing tidal waters because they come very close to matching the color patterns of blue crabs.  Some crawfish have a brilliant blue color to them in mid summer so a straight blue works well here, too.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On ‎11‎/‎9‎/‎2016 at 9:12 AM, 31Airborne said:

Donnie - recommend picking Knowing Bass:  The Scientific Approach to Catching More Fish by Keith Jones.  While parts of read like a college marine biology text book, it explains what bass can and cannot see.  Color is a big piece of that discussion.  Jones' discussion on the construct and capabilities of a bass' eye is revealing.  Essentially, it throws out conventional wisdom on secret colors and focuses the choice on contrast.  Think about that for a minute.  Nothing in nature looks like a black/blue jig yet that color pattern out-produces just about every other jig color.  According to Jones it's because bass have an easier time picking it up against background.

 

There's also a physics lesson in this - different colors of light have different energy levels.  The short story here is that after about 10' or so everything is black or shades of grey to a bass.  Here's where the secret color theory starts to fall apart according to Jones.  Rather than focusing on reds, blues, or greens he suggests we should focus on colors that offer the most contrast in the conditions we're fishing.

 

So, finally, to your question - for me, reds have been most effective in ~clear water.  Clear reds like cherry seed and plum have worked best for me in gin clear water.  Red shad has been best in stained or murky water.  I routinely use bright blue trailers and craws when fishing tidal waters because they come very close to matching the color patterns of blue crabs.  Some crawfish have a brilliant blue color to them in mid summer so a straight blue works well here, too.

Outstanding info... THANKS! Also thanks to EVERYONE who's given me info & guidance; it is most appreciated!

That book is WAY OUT of my price range!!! I've seen it's price ranged anywhere from right around $105 to over $200 on Amazon.com

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Whew, cost of that book buys a decent supply of dynamite, though I'm sure the game warden would probably have less to say about the book. I've often wondered if it's less about color and more about opaque vs transparent. Like on Douglas, I've had some days transparent red was the ticket, and other days solid red seemed to work better. Who knows. Glitter flash could also be a factor. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just FYI - this book originally sold for $25.  It's been out of print for a while so it's become a cult classic (if you will) among bass fishermen.  Have seen it go for more than $200 on eBay and other auctions.  A friend of mine paid a really stoopid amount of money for a copy that had been hi-lited and had notes written in it.  Came from one of the pros. 

 

Keith Jones is one of the bait gurus for Berkeley and was instrumental in the development of the Gulp! line.  Some of his stuff has been pretty controversial (like the piece on colors bass can and cannot see).  Some fresh water marine biologists have been pretty vocal in their disagreement w/ his ideas, conclusions.  I'm no scientist (history major) and I have  very little aptitude for science and math (ol' Airborne's a bit of a dummazz) but I do know one thing - my catching ratio went up dramatically after studying and putting Dr Jones' ideas into practice.  My little corner of the bass fishing world has been turned upside down (in a good way).  I had to read the book a couple times before I fully understood and appreciated what he was trying to explain.  Had to call on some friends who are fresh water marine biologists to help w/ some of the interpretations.  In every case they'd ask, "You reading the Jones book, too?"

 

We sometimes pay $15-25 for one bait.  Would you consider paying a bit more to help you better use that bait (and all the others in your tackle box)?

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, 31Airborne said:

Really???   Happy to lend you mine if you promise to return it.

Ole Airborne is a great guy and don't let him fool you, he's a smart cookie when it comes to bass fishing. I tried for 2 years to catch fish on a dropshot. Posted on here asking for help and he mailed me a DVD that centered completely around dropshotting and I've done great with it ever since. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Airborne, I agree with ya bud. Just cracking bout the dynamite. Definitely worth sacrificing a few lures or rods to have much better knowledge how to use what you have. Most of us (er, me anyways), have far too much crap we never use and wouldn't really even know how to use to its max anyways. That said, dynamite is idiot proof......

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Funny that you mention it... one of my thoughts has been about how spending the $$$ on the book would be a better investment than some lures & such. LOL

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Marine said:

Funny that you mention it... one of my thoughts has been about how spending the $$$ on the book would be a better investment than some lures & such. LOL

In all seriousness, it's worth it. I don't have the spare money to spend that I once did, and looking back I wish I'd invested more in videos and books, and less in toys. Were it not for Encyclopedia TNBF (lots of great guys willing to share what they've learned), I'd really be in the dark on these upland reservoirs, and honestly I've learned a lot that has applied to improving what I already know. One thing about fishing is you can never know enough. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 Dr. Loren Hill developed the color collector back in the 1980's which is based on what colors fish can see all thru the water column in stained clear and muddy water.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, snj60 said:

 Dr. Loren Hill developed the color collector back in the 1980's which is based on what colors fish can see all thru the water column in stained clear and muddy water.

Yea and I had one along with the PH meter he designed. It may have just been me not being smart enough to follow the instructions but I tried each of them several times with little to zero success. Not sure if they ever really worked for anyone of not but I heard a lot of people complaining they could not catch fish according to following the instructions either.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have that one with the PH gauge on it I found out years later that you need to have balanced PH water to keep that PH sensor moist. As for the color collector I still use   that I stick it down to the depth I think I will be fishing at and work with those colors and pretty much winging it from there.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I tend to find that green pumpkin is a hard to beat color on clear water lakes. Watermelon/red flake runs a close 2nd with plum or plum apple. Those 3 colors are all you need. Throw in a black & blue jig for night or dirty water & you are set.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

  • Who's Online   0 Members, 0 Anonymous, 1 Guest (See full list)

    There are no registered users currently online

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×