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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I once learned a long time ago that when the water you are fishing is a certain color it is because that is the color that the water is reflecting. All other colors are being absorbed. Therefore what I was told was that if you have water with a greenish tint, and you want a bait to stand out a lot, use a bait with the same greenish tint. Or if the water is a tannish tint, use a bait with that same tint.

I have noticed this over the years to be true for the most part. In waters that are a dark stain, I have had best luck wuth black, junebug and other dark colors. But when I am fishing places where the water is light stained, I do best with pumpkinseed. Then again if I am fishing on a body of water where teh water is stained from algae blooms, I tend to do best with watermelon and other green tinted worms. And last but not least, when i fish waters that are tanic, otherwise known as blackwater, I find that colors like Scuppernong work the best for me.

As I said this is what I was taught years ago and has helped me find the color that would be easiest to be seen in different colors of water. However, there are times when you want your bait to be as subtle as possible and not scream "HERE I AM" and when those times occur, this rule will help you then too.

I would love to hear everyone's thoughts on this lesson I was taught decades ago. Like I said, it's helped me, but perhaps others have a different point of view also. :thumbup01:
 

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I posted "Can bass see color" march 03, 2007 under general discussion. Not to change the subject, however it is related to water clarity as well.
The most visible color is the absence of color or black and the least visible color are colors that match the background, ie; green against green. However bass do not see colors like we do regardless of the fact that they have cones & rods that make up the eye ball structure. Color than becomes a choice of what you have confidence in using under whatever light or water clarity is present. What may work for me, you may not even want to use. For example; when the water has a green to brownish tint, my favorite color is purple with blue neon and red highlights. Why, because I catch bass on that color combination more often under those conditions. Sometimes a color that blends gives the bass only a shadow of an outline to determine something is moving and that can trigger strikes. When fishing 35 to 60 feet deep, how does a bass see a translucent smoke 4" plastic worm. Apparently they see it very well because thousands of bass are caught using translucent smoke plastic worms in deep clear water.
Tom
 

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I've had to help screen wetland ponds, creeks, lakes and ditches for the possible presence of endangered species toward completion of EISs (Environmental Impact Statements). Much of the time water samples are collected, and teams line up working nets to catch whatever swims or drifts into them. From there specialists identified all the critters. Sometimes we did check points on a schedule, just collecting certain spots at intervals. We all had to develop skill in spotting animals in water because they camouflage themselves to match their surroundings. Once out of the water all were easy to see, some (esp crayfish) having interesting, unpredictable colors or color combinations. You would think in the water predators could easily find those colors. But if many other things appear for instance orange, a nicely orange crayfish just melts in with the whole environment. That's a big part of how they survive.

I've taken little lessons like that over the years and mixed with stuff I've read to come closer to some understanding about critter color compared to water color. Another key lesson I learned is most of the animals remain motionless as much as possible until they sense danger. If they don't immediately escape they freeze up. Land animals like deer do the same. I thinks it a kind of law of nature. Get seen, get eaten. So how are the predators to survive? They must obviously penetrate the defense mechanisms of prey. They might hear pincers clicking. The prey might move one leg. A bass might outlast a state-down, the crayfish moving first. Each giveaway motion, sound, scent, whatever adds up to guide the bass close enough it can make out the full shape and know what it is tracking. From there the bass can anticipate behavior it's seen many times and get into position to capture. I'd assume a bass knows already a crayfish is likely to scoot backward when alarmed, so takes that into consideration. I don't think bass lay out plans like a coach sets up a ball game play. It's an instinctual force combined with programmed behavior sets.

Saying all that I come to the fishing angle. When water affords high visibility for bass, the prey must work harder to escape detection. The bass also must increase its guard against higher predators that can more easily see the bass. There are times when using a lure that best hides works best. The angler adds just enough giveaway motion to betray the lure.

There are times when the bass isn't paying attention anyway, already full of crayfish. That's where the reaction bite factor becomes more deadly. That might require a very odd color or wild motion, noise or simply speed. The object there is to make a bass mad or catch it totally off guard in it's most secure hidey hole. They surely don't expect surprises there.

It isn't likely we could find a lure that could go totally unseen regardless of water visibility. The more clear the water, though, the more natural is the least contrast, relying on seen motion. To the other extreme the least visibility would require high contrast where following the advice of nature for survival won't give us anglers good advantage. We can get by with high contrast colors partly because we can get by with our presence so much easier. The bass doesn't see us like it can in clear water. So a dark worm there would simply become easiest pickings.

Jim
 

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The eyes on a bass are wide apart so no bass can enjoy binocular vision like that of humans. But I've read studies indicating color perception in bass at least equals that of humans, their night vision (using rods in the retina, processing black and white) is far superior. There is nothing to suggest bass can't perceive all the colors humans see. The very fact they have advanced cones to see color is strong evidence color is important to bass. In fact, some colors are seen better than by humans. But all that fails compared to the ability of humans to assimilate and use the information supplied through rods and cones. In that sense bass can't see like humans. Humans with only one eye can't see like humans with both eyes, for that matter. It's in that one aspect a bass can be equated to human sight. But even then having an excellent monocular eye on each side of the head gives the bass an advantage over humans possibly greater than the lack of binocular vision. It's field of view all around the bass allows it to keep track of a huge area around it, but not directly in front of it. Ever lob a lure over a school of resting fish, only to see the fish scramble as the lure flies over them? They see those things easily. That's why it's important to work on delivering low trajectory casts with quiet lure entries. Our lure ought to enter so as not to make huge tsunami like rings that are always unnatural. Bass can see those rings and be turned off. Nature produced tiny ripples compared to our wakes.

Jim
 

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I have read many articles on this wonderful sport that we call fishing. I have learned all kinds of different things that I feel makes me a better angler but I have to say that I have learned more in the past year from Oldschool and Quachita than I have in 5 years of reading bass magazines. Whether you agree or disagree with what they have to say I feel that they are a wealth of knowledge and have helped me and plenty other people on this site. Thank you for all that you are willing to share.
 
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microtek60 said:
I have read many articles on this wonderful sport that we call fishing. I have learned all kinds of different things that I feel makes me a better angler but I have to say that I have learned more in the past year from Oldschool and Quachita than I have in 5 years of reading bass magazines. Whether you agree or disagree with what they have to say I feel that they are a wealth of knowledge and have helped me and plenty other people on this site. Thank you for all that you are willing to share.

I second that. :clap: :clap:
 

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I'm with mikrotek and TBP here. As for me, when I am fishing the bottomm in clear to lightly stained water, I try to match the bottom of the lake with my lures. If I have moss on my worm, I want the worm to be the same color as the moss, or very close. However, I'm at a loss when ared flake or candy flake outproduces the plain color. I think it is because the crawdads or bream that the bass are feeding on are adding those colors naturally. In stained water, I usually use red shad for a green stain or junebug for a tannic stain. I don't know why. They just seem to work. I won't even pretend I know what to do in muddy water. I usually throw a black/blue or black/chartreuse jig, or a reaction type lure like a spinnerbait or wide wobble crank with alot of chartreuse on it. But I have never been very successful in muddy water, and avoid it like the plague. Good post, Jared. The only rule I have for cranks and spinners is to use something less visible, with less vibration, as the water gets clearer. But I have caught fish on firetiger Shad raps in a bunch of conditions, so I guess it would be impossible for a human to figure those critters out.
 

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Texas Bass Pro said:
microtek60 said:
I have read many articles on this wonderful sport that we call fishing. I have learned all kinds of different things that I feel makes me a better angler but I have to say that I have learned more in the past year from Oldschool and Quachita than I have in 5 years of reading bass magazines. Whether you agree or disagree with what they have to say I feel that they are a wealth of knowledge and have helped me and plenty other people on this site. Thank you for all that you are willing to share.

I second that. :clap: :clap:
I agree whole heartedly with you both....All the information they give is sometimes overwhelming and just gets me itching to go try some things. Thanks Guys....Keep the information coming...as long as you all are willing to share im here and willing to listen
 

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I'm glad ya'll enjoy the talk. "It lasts as long as the crackers". That refers to way long ago when I listened to the old hunters and fishermen that seemed to always get the best and only two or three chairs in a shop from which they guarded the cracker barrel. Now I know they spent the whole day there, too worn out to get any farther down the road. From them came a lot of growing up wisdom and tricks to bag deer or pull up a fish, along with the same ole tales of their best days. Through the day they bought enough bologna and cheese to go with those dry crackers to pay their rent, and they caused customers to come and hang out more. I guess I'm closer to becoming like them, only I still fish.

We might not get around to everything we like to think about, so some asking might jar something loose. We don't know it all, but are scrambling to get it all. You do the same. But notice, friends, you already have seen all we talk about. What Tom & I want to see is not just seeing stuff like that bass with eyes far apart, but begin to put that together with other things you knew and are learning, and imagine ways to fool a bass because you know about those eyes. Then you will find yourself writing things here that come out in the magazines a month later. Once some anglers pick up some tidbit of information it seems a million thoughts pour in and someone finally writes it all up. Tom & I have seen that happen many times in Bassmaster, the magazine picking up almost word for word where we left off a discussion.

Jim
 

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Here's a little trick that's helped me deal with colors. It comes from taking those samples of fish and other critters. Sometimes we screened for disease. We'd be looking for a pink patch on a fin maybe. The sample gets put in a jar of water. In the water you can see the true colors the way predators see the little feller. In the hand you are spreading disease and damaging samples and the scales are flat and not angled right to reflect light. If I'm worming and catch a bass disgorging live fish on my boat carpet, I'm going to put one of those hapless meals in that jar I keep. Holding it in the light sometimes a dull looking minnow then becomes a dazzling little princess of a creature, maybe now a candidate for the aquarium. The colors and intensity can be amazing. It's those little colors that I think makes the big difference. Maybe that really nice sapphire blue stands out, but you can't see it when the minnow is out of the water. Well, if I can find a green worm with a little sapphire sparkle maybe I'll be onto something. "AH, Watermelon Blue. Haven't tied you on in a while." If it works work it as long as you can, for maybe a month later that color disappears until next year. Someone has observed the same things I wrote above and decided to use glitter when pouring worms, so maybe they are pouring next month's secret flake color. Maybe they remember seeing a few ruby red sparkles on a shad in June.

Jim
 

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Thanks!!
The old rule of thumb was dark colors for dark water and light translucent colors for clear water. Everyone of use has their own favorite and on any given day, when the bass are actively biting, all colors seem to work as everyones secret choice is working. Then the bass turn off and one color seems to dominate the catches or was it one particular type of lure?
Aaron Martens has become a well known bass pro and is particularly good with finesse soft plastics. Aaron has a worm color named for him by Roboworm; Aaron's Magic. The interesting fact is Aaron is totally color blind, can't see the difference from orange and green or any other color. How does Aaron select a color? He rigs it and lowers it about a foot down in the water and If it looks good to him, thats a good color. We should all use that test to determine what color we think the bass should be able to see well and start with that choice. Then make changes if that doesn't seem to be working. I can see purple in any day time color of water, so thats where I usually start and most of the time finish using. Thats is why purple is my go to color, not green, not brown, not pumpkin, but some shade of purple or purple high light like a blood vein. We all have our favorites, until some else kicks are butts with a color we don't have and then it's time to go shopping, again. You gotta love bass fishing.
Tom
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I believe it was Tom Mann who once said "Any color will work, as long as its black or purple" ;)
 

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Ever since plastic worms were added the color purple has kept first place in sales. It's the last color to fade into the gray scale.

Jim
 

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Tom Mann would of said "grape" and it's questionable if Roland ever had an original idea, he got all his from Bill Dance.
Tom
 

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At a BASS seminar a few years ago one of the hibdon boys were there and they said it doesn't matter what color you buy as long as your using green pumkin,i actually taped every word of each angler.
KVD, George cochran,deon hibbdon,not sre on the other 2 it was about 4 or 5 years ago.
rich
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Im pretty positive it was Mann who said it... though my wording may be off. I think I even have the Bassmaster article I am quoting it from :) I will try to look it up this weekend.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I havent found the Tom Mann quote i am thinking of yet BUT I did find a Roland Martin quote relative to this topic.
In Bassmasters May/June of 1984 there is an article called "The Plastic Worm: Is Know-How Enough" Its a nice long article full of good info. In it I found this Roland Martin quote:

"Any color worm will catch bass as long as it is blue"

Blue? now there is a color you hear next to nothing about these days.
 

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Tom Manns "blueberry" jelly worms and Bill Dance's "blue" diamond back worm were hot colors back then.
If you look at what has always been a hot color out west:
Cinnamon /blue neon, Blue crawler, rhythm N blues & Peoples worm are all blues.
Tom
 
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See I knew Roland said that :) I remember him saying it once on his show years ago also. I knew it was blue what he said not black but you mentioned purple also so I thought it might have been the same thing.

I am sure some of these guys don't have original ideas. Some most likely pick it up from some local they met and then reiterate it so much that they get the credit for it :)
 
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