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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I thought we had a post on this topic, however couldn't locate it and must have been back on the BassInsider board. This months March 2007 Bassmaster magazine has an article "It's Black and White" by Brian Sak. This article goes into the contrast factor as the key to successful bass lure selection.
The fact is we really don't know for sure if bass can see the color spectrum we see. Bass have evolved to catch prey with their mouths and must be able to see under water in poor light conditions. Contrast is very important for a predator to distinguish the prey from the background. My belief, right or wrong ,if bass see in color it's similar to ultra violet spectrum. Contrast is the key that bass react to, along with size and profile. If the lure acts like prey and the bass detects the movement, the becomes something of interest to the bass reacts by striking it.
Tom
 

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It's always been my understanding that due to the fact that bass's eyes have a good deal of cones within them that they should see colors pretty well. I havent read this months article but it sounds like I should check it out.
 

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Wasnt there some studies that determained that bass do see colors ? And the same person developed the ' color c lector ' or something like that ??

I know if you watch the info commercial errrr I mean Roland Martin's show he always uses that thing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Fish4FunInFl said:
Wasnt there some studies that determained that bass do see colors ? And the same person developed the ' color c lector ' or something like that ??

I know if you watch the info commercial errrr I mean Roland Martin's show he always uses that thing.
Yes there has been several studies. The you are tinking of is Dr. Loren Hill, bass fisherman and prof at OK U. Hill invented the Color-Clector, now updated to be digital. Hill's studies were independent of the university, performed at home to determine what colors bass preferred under different lighting conditions. Hills findings are generally excepted by bass fisherman but have not been accepted scientifically. The Bill fishing ( marlin, sailfish and swordfish) community has spent millions studying game fish color preference and came up with conclusive evidence that bill fish and tuna are color blind as we know color vision.
There is no doubt with bill fish and tuna fisherman that these predators have very specific lure color preference and argue that the science community is wrong. Bass fisherman feel just as strongly about basses color preference. I both agree and disagree, believing the science that predator fish may not see color as we know it and that they can see color more acutely in a different spectrum. There is no question in my mind that contrast is more important than a natural color that blends into the background in the underwater world of fish. The black/purple/brown hair jig is a perfect example if contrast. The black back/silver/white original Rapala is a great example of opposite color spectrum lure that triggers strikes from all game fish world wide. Can bass see color? only the bass know for sure!
Tom
 

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Some folks say a bass has a pea-sized brain and is incapable of doing more than mating and swallowing food. That's a basis for their belief that even if their eyes can process color, their brain can't. If that's true, then why are we struggling so much every year to find sneakier ways to fool them? Some obviously learn not to bite artificial lures. We have a brain equal to maybe 1/2 gallon of peas in volume, and use no more than 10% of it. We're letting one pea cause so much trouble? :-\

In Fisheries I read a study that used different color lines with identical hooks that were baited selectively. Anybody could do this experiment, but it isn't necessary now. I think the first color that was always baited was yellow, a color many anglers believe is invisible to bass. Gradually the hooks are stopped being baited. When they stopped baiting the yellow line bass chose and followed that line only anyway until a new color was favored. I doubt contrast could be a significant factor since if line had high contrast you would think that would prevent bites.

Bass eyes have rods and cones. Cones are for color, rods for black and shades of gray. I doubt bass have cones for no reason. Nature doesn't waste on body parts very often. Their lens shape is unique too, allowing enhanced low-light viewing far greater than a human. My belief about color with animals is they would have to live many years to learn the meaning of particular colors, feeding mostly on forage like shad which often are black on top, white belly, very little mid range color. Take Bubblegum for a color. What bass sees that in nature? I think they see it but the color doesn't always relate to something they eat, so sometimes you can't buy a bite on that color. Sometimes it's the best color in stained or clear water.

Crawfish tend to take on bottom or cover colors, requiring movement or pincher clicking to be detected. Since so much of their forage is camouflaged it seems to me they would go very hungry if not for some color differentiation.

Jim
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
The color questions boils down to how bass see color verses if they color. To see color you must have light and water defuses light rays quickly. A good example is deep water ocean fish that are very colorful, have rods/cones in their eyes and live where no light penetrates. Same thing for bass at night. We use black or white for night fishing, however color can make a difference at night. Tequila sunrise and purple for example can be very good at night out producing black worms. Bass definitely have color and contrast preferences.
My favorite story concerning color is the color red. The Eppinger company that makes Daredevil spoons best selling color forever is the red chrome spoon with a white stripe. Eppinger changed paint suppliers and the follow few years their sales of red/white stripe spoons fell off dramatically, world wide. The original red/white spoons were still catching bass and walleyes but not the newly painted spoons. The problem under ultra violet spectrum analysis was the red dye was different. Eppinger corrected the color spectrum and sales came back. Story be Jason Lucas in his book Lucas on Bass Fishing. Yes we have rods/cones and so does a bass, however I believe bass and other game fish have developed color vision for under water very low light conditions and color contrast is a factor locating prey.
Tom
 

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Thanks guys! This has always been an interesting topic for me...
 
G

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I believe Bass do see color. I know that certain colors produce better then others. Some colors are similar contrasting also if it where reduced to black and white scale. Their are many colors and sometimes it makes the difference between a bite or none.

Just my 2 cents
 
G

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imonembad said:
And just what would your favorite color be Keith?
Whichever color catches fish ;) Seriousely, I really don't have a favorite color, bait, presentation etc. If it takes tossing rattle traps all day to catch fish I will do it. If I can catch better and more fish on Senko types then I will do that. If flipping is the deal then I do that.

I am getting wore out from the lipless action. My thumb hurts from casting, my shoulder hurts at days end. So I will be switching to other presentations next time out. Not that I am going to stop throwing lipless but I am going to do some worm fishing and slow down. I need a break haha.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Lets see if I can get you guys back on tract. We have match the hatch and use colors that blend in with nature, use high contrat shaded lures and bass can't see red line, but love red lipless lures. Tell me how does a bass see this invisible red lure, that doesn't look like any baitfish in nature, then run it down and strike it? A crawdad you say, only if you boiled first. By the way you guys are soft if cranking all day bothers you. Try casting and cranking heavy swim baits all day, or even deep diving crank baits, then you will know what worn out is.The jig bite peaks before the reaction bait bite starts. Maybe confidence is the real key to color choice, feed them what you like the most and the bass will eat it.
Tom
 
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For every 1 cast you make with that swimbait I make 2 or 3 with my lipless. I reel these in quite fast so therefore make allot more casts in a day then a typical fishermen will using slower presentations. Sort of like my golf game. I swing twice as many times as golf pros haha.

Oh I have purchased non boiled live crawdads in Texas and they where beat bright red. I used them as bait. In the Spring they turn this color. Just an observation I have seen. Grocery stores used to sell live crawdads for folks who like to eat them. They where not already boiled. I have also seen blue looking crawfish. So who knows why red is such a productive color. Unlike Rick Clunn and his Quantum Physics I use what works from trial and error. I can tell you with confidence that in late winter through spring red will outfish other lipless crankbait colors. Why? Don't know for sure. All I do know is that it works.
 

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The biggest seller for me for bass seeing colors has been experience on the water. I could put down many cases in point, but will limit it here to one. I was fishing a watermelon floating worm and occasionally catching small bass. It was the only thing I could find to get a bite that day. I met a boat with two anglers coming out of a long creek, each one getting nearly constant bites, both using a watermelon floating worm, as was probably everyone else once word got out. I didn't have to ask, as they could see I wasn't happy. "Got one of these?" One held up his worm. I replied "Yeah, here it is, tied on, but something's different." I had Megastike rubbed all over it. "Haw, no red flake!" one said. I had a bag somewhere, but they tossed me a few, and made my day. "We've limited out, going in. Have fun." I immediately began catching nice bass. I used those up, tied on one with blue flake. No good. It took a while but I found the bag of needed worms.

Jim
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Western bass fisherman are anal about plastic worms and specific color combinations including flakes. If you read my post on "what is you favorite worm", my first choice was a custom hand poured smoke with translucent purple blood line with silver/gold/black micro flake, thats is a typical western answer. The question is, is it really color that the bass are keying on or a specific light reflected hue they see as the targeted prey that day on that lake? Does it matter, you bet it does if you want to catch the bass that are keying on a specific "color". The other factor to consider is different types of bass rely on sight more than northern LMB, however in clear water all bass can be selective sight feeders. Live bait fisherman can tell you that a molting crawdad that has "soft shell" color is preferred over the hardened shell color or too visable of line will turn off a bass eating a live shad. Bass can be selective at times and not at other times, bass are bass at the end of the day.
Tom
 
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