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Muskie Fishing -> General Discussion -> do lure color choices matter?
 
Message Subject: do lure color choices matter?
sworrall
Posted 12/10/2017 11:20 AM (#886547 - in reply to #876887)
Subject: Re: do lure color choices matter?





Location: Rhinelander, Wisconsin
Dark lure or light lure, that's all that really matters quite a bit of the time, which is the point of the entire conversation. The 'why' of that is the basis of understanding it. Had a professor once who told us he probably would not be able to get the information in the book (sociology) to stick well, but he would do his best to 'teach us how to learn'. By covering the 'why' he helped me better understand the 'how' and most of us did really well in a course very few wanted to take or felt would make any difference in our future work life. We were wrong.

Better to explain best as is possible what makes something tick.

Ever hear the axiom 'dark day, dark lure light day, light lure'(Jason Lucas, book from a very long time ago)? Why has that been proven out over the last 7 decades? Why is a dark day dark? Cloudy. What direction do fish generally look at the lure? Especially with muskies, up. There it is.
14ledo81
Posted 12/10/2017 1:14 PM (#886556 - in reply to #876887)
Subject: Re: do lure color choices matter?





Posts: 2520


Location: Ashland WI
Steve, either the sky is blue (light) or gray/cloudy (light). Wouldn't that mean that black is always the best? Seems like it would have the most contrast under any condition.
sworrall
Posted 12/12/2017 6:28 PM (#886853 - in reply to #886556)
Subject: Re: do lure color choices matter?





Location: Rhinelander, Wisconsin
14ledo81 - 12/10/2017 1:14 PM

Steve, either the sky is blue (light) or gray/cloudy (light). Wouldn't that mean that black is always the best? Seems like it would have the most contrast under any condition.


Water does funny stuff to light when looking up from underneath the surface. The deeper one goes under water, the more violet to purple the surface becomes as a result of all the refraction going on. Even just a couple feet reduces the blue we see to near violet, allowing bright/light colored lures to really contrast nicely.

Black is basically the absence of color ( Black is not a color; a black object absorbs all the colors of the visible spectrum and reflects none of them to the eyes, but may yet reflect some light if not true black) and always contrasts nicely. Notice if you will it's hard to find a muskie lure without some black in it, but many times it's on the TOP and sides up high, not the bottom, and muskies never see it. Same with white, except that is the presence of all the colors. There are a ton of lures with a broad white belly. Unless the bait rolls like mad, or dives very deep, that lure is primarily white to a muskie. Note most fish have white bellys.

Is it better to look just like prey fish that are camouflaged? Lots of those swimming around all the time, I want my lure to look different, which in most cases it does no matter the paint applied. Not a single 'natural' lure has ever been produced.
DallasMidas
Posted 12/13/2017 2:24 AM (#886874 - in reply to #876887)
Subject: Re: do lure color choices matter?




Posts: 17


Location: Tampa, Florida
Hmm, I'm learning a lot from this thread. Thanks for the info, guys!
Mudpuppy
Posted 12/13/2017 6:43 PM (#886958 - in reply to #886874)
Subject: Re: do lure color choices matter?




Posts: 207


Location: Elroy, Wisconsin
Well if color doesn't mean much, I sure spent my kids inheritance foolishly.

Mudpuppy
Ryan21
Posted 12/15/2017 11:25 AM (#887096 - in reply to #876887)
Subject: RE: do lure color choices matter?





Posts: 30


Location: New Carlisle, IN
I don’t understand the bright day bright bait, dark day dark bait for Musky. When I first started working on a boat in FL, my Captain til me the opposite. Sunny day dark bait, cloudy day bright bait. Most fish are looking up at you baits, if it’s sunny, they have a hard time seeing the silhouette of a bright bait and vice versa. Why is it different for Musky? Black has always been my favorite color for any day, just because I think it is the most visible and makes the best silhouette. The white baits I’ve used in the green water I fish stand out a lot too when it’s overcast. As far as color and depth goes, my bright red weight belt would be completely gray at 30’ when diving. I don’t know if that helps anyone ore not but red is the first color to go, which is why so many bottom fish in the ocean are red. Blue is the last color to go so open water fish were mostly blue on the back because they hunt from below and the blue made them hard to see when looking down, and white on the belly so they were harder to see from below. Most Musky fishi g is relatively shallow, so I don’t think the bright colors get lost very often. Red is still red at 10’
esoxnimrod
Posted 12/16/2017 9:58 AM (#887189 - in reply to #876887)
Subject: RE: do lure color choices matter?




Posts: 13


#*^@ great fireside read on a Saturday a.m.
thanks,
sworrall
Posted 12/16/2017 4:59 PM (#887219 - in reply to #887096)
Subject: RE: do lure color choices matter?





Location: Rhinelander, Wisconsin
Ryan21 - 12/15/2017 11:25 AM

I don’t understand the bright day bright bait, dark day dark bait for Musky. When I first started working on a boat in FL, my Captain til me the opposite. Sunny day dark bait, cloudy day bright bait. Most fish are looking up at you baits, if it’s sunny, they have a hard time seeing the silhouette of a bright bait and vice versa. Why is it different for Musky? Black has always been my favorite color for any day, just because I think it is the most visible and makes the best silhouette. The white baits I’ve used in the green water I fish stand out a lot too when it’s overcast. As far as color and depth goes, my bright red weight belt would be completely gray at 30’ when diving. I don’t know if that helps anyone ore not but red is the first color to go, which is why so many bottom fish in the ocean are red. Blue is the last color to go so open water fish were mostly blue on the back because they hunt from below and the blue made them hard to see when looking down, and white on the belly so they were harder to see from below. Most Musky fishi g is relatively shallow, so I don’t think the bright colors get lost very often. Red is still red at 10’


'Water does funny stuff to light when looking up from underneath the surface. The deeper one goes under water, the more violet to purple the surface becomes as a result of all the refraction going on. Even just a couple feet reduces the blue we see to near violet, allowing bright/light colored lures to really contrast nicely. '

Try it next year, get down about 10' and look up at the sky color, IF you can see the sky through the surface at all from that depth on that lake. Red is certainly not still red in 10' unless the water is absolutely gin clear and calm at high noon.
woodieb8
Posted 12/16/2017 8:22 PM (#887236 - in reply to #876887)
Subject: Re: do lure color choices matter?




Posts: 1503


yes colors matter. c,mon guys I paint baits for a livin lol.
Mudpuppy
Posted 12/17/2017 11:19 AM (#887254 - in reply to #887236)
Subject: Re: do lure color choices matter?




Posts: 207


Location: Elroy, Wisconsin
If color doesn't matter, listen to this. Three 10" Jakes out same depth, same speed.
Three muskies boated in two hours. 39, 42, 46. All on yellow and black stripe jailbird pattern. They liked that color that day. Dark water, sunshine , nearly calm. That lure was picked out by a novice in my boat. Used it a lot since on all kinds of water including LOTW (52 1/2"). Very successful. I'm beginning to wonder if you can have too bright a lure, don't think so.

Mudpuppy
IAJustin
Posted 12/17/2017 7:44 PM (#887297 - in reply to #876887)
Subject: Re: do lure color choices matter?





Posts: 1673


Color may have been the difference? Problem with your “theory” is those three jakes aren’t running exactly the same , guaranteed they each “sound/vibrate” slightly different to a fish, I have about (20) 10” Jake’s , and some just catch fish better than others of the same color ..
Reelwise
Posted 12/28/2017 10:09 PM (#888330 - in reply to #876887)
Subject: Re: do lure color choices matter?




Posts: 1559


Great post. Thank you all for consuming my time with something pleasant to read.

Certain colors do and will in fact, out-perform others at different times of the year.

Like Steve mentioned... it just might be a matter of dark and light... but, there is something special going on at times when it comes to certain colors.
JakeStCroixSkis
Posted 12/29/2017 10:19 AM (#888363 - in reply to #887254)
Subject: Re: do lure color choices matter?





Posts: 1395


Location: St. Lawrence River
Mudpuppy - 12/17/2017 12:19 PM

If color doesn't matter, listen to this. Three 10" Jakes out same depth, same speed.
Three muskies boated in two hours. 39, 42, 46. All on yellow and black stripe jailbird pattern. They liked that color that day. Dark water, sunshine , nearly calm. That lure was picked out by a novice in my boat. Used it a lot since on all kinds of water including LOTW (52 1/2"). Very successful. I'm beginning to wonder if you can have too bright a lure, don't think so.

Mudpuppy


Not all lures are the same..
ESOX Maniac
Posted 1/1/2018 10:35 AM (#888601 - in reply to #876887)
Subject: RE: do lure color choices matter?





Posts: 2740


Location: Mauston, Wisconsin
Yes!

Have fun!
Al
bwalsh
Posted 1/10/2018 8:21 AM (#889389 - in reply to #876887)
Subject: Re: do lure color choices matter?




Posts: 59


Curious what this discussion of color means in terms of choice of line color. I have had line on my reels that is tan, gray, green, pure white and black and white woven. I would have thought that matching the color of the water most often fished would be best, but now, maybe not? Maybe white is best except on bright days? Maybe its different for topwaters and bucktails as opposed to deeper water trolling or jigging? Does water color/clarity make a difference? I'm sure line color doesn't matter nearly as much as lure color, but assuming that it possibly could have some effect, what would the best choice be if you would like the line to "disappear"? (other than mono or flouro)
ToddM
Posted 1/10/2018 10:07 AM (#889401 - in reply to #876887)
Subject: Re: do lure color choices matter?





Posts: 16173


Location: oswego, il
I doubt line color matters in musky fishing. I have seen it matter on my leadcore for salmon. I had a 3.core for example that would not catch fish until i reversed the core. Turquoise was the end color, when i reversed it, tan was the end color, now it catches fish.
horsehunter
Posted 1/10/2018 10:18 AM (#889402 - in reply to #889401)
Subject: Re: do lure color choices matter?




Location: Eastern Ontario
Todd are you not running a 20 or 30 foot leader on your cores?
ToddM
Posted 6/28/2018 6:30 PM (#911063 - in reply to #876887)
Subject: Re: do lure color choices matter?





Posts: 16173


Location: oswego, il
Around 25ft of 30lb flouro.
ToddM
Posted 6/28/2018 6:33 PM (#911064 - in reply to #876887)
Subject: Re: do lure color choices matter?





Posts: 16173


Location: oswego, il
Last weekend on LSC, 6 of the 7 fish we got came on one white bait. We had other colors of the same bait not one rip. It does happen from time to time but not consistently.
Jerry Newman
Posted 6/28/2018 7:33 PM (#911071 - in reply to #911064)
Subject: Re: do lure color choices matter?




Location: 31

I'm assuming you put other white lures out… if it was mainly the white color, why no fish on those?

This can be argued both ways;  

Last year we were consistently banging fish on one particular lure and then after back-to-back fish and another quick rip my boat partner could take no more and started switching the spread to include several identical lures in the same color pattern… guess which lure caught the next fish.  

It would appear that based on that experience it was the action of that particular lure and had little to do with the color (I could actually see the difference in the action).



Edited by Jerry Newman 6/28/2018 7:35 PM
Fishysam
Posted 6/28/2018 7:38 PM (#911072 - in reply to #886853)
Subject: Re: do lure color choices matter?




Posts: 967


sworrall - 12/12/2017 6:28 PM

14ledo81 - 12/10/2017 1:14 PM

Steve, either the sky is blue (light) or gray/cloudy (light). Wouldn't that mean that black is always the best? Seems like it would have the most contrast under any condition.


Water does funny stuff to light when looking up from underneath the surface. The deeper one goes under water, the more violet to purple the surface becomes as a result of all the refraction going on. Even just a couple feet reduces the blue we see to near violet, allowing bright/light colored lures to really contrast nicely.

Black is basically the absence of color ( Black is not a color; a black object absorbs all the colors of the visible spectrum and reflects none of them to the eyes, but may yet reflect some light if not true black) and always contrasts nicely. Notice if you will it's hard to find a muskie lure without some black in it, but many times it's on the TOP and sides up high, not the bottom, and muskies never see it. Same with white, except that is the presence of all the colors. There are a ton of lures with a broad white belly. Unless the bait rolls like mad, or dives very deep, that lure is primarily white to a muskie. Note most fish have white bellys.

Is it better to look just like prey fish that are camouflaged? Lots of those swimming around all the time, I want my lure to look different, which in most cases it does no matter the paint applied. Not a single 'natural' lure has ever been produced.




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Attachments BBEA8EDA-0248-4C55-874B-B2FEA2A8001F.jpeg (228KB - 91 downloads)
ToddM
Posted 6/28/2018 7:56 PM (#911075 - in reply to #911071)
Subject: Re: do lure color choices matter?





Posts: 16173


Location: oswego, il
Jerry Newman - 6/28/2018 7:33 PM

I'm assuming you put other white lures out… if it was mainly the white color, why no fish on those?

This can be argued both ways;  

Last year we were consistently banging fish on one particular lure and then after back-to-back fish and another quick rip my boat partner could take no more and started switching the spread to include several identical lures in the same color pattern… guess which lure caught the next fish.  

It would appear that based on that experience it was the action of that particular lure and had little to do with the color (I could actually see the difference in the action).



Jerry in this instance we had lures out in colors that do well out there, better than the white one i had out. I had another one same color got a fish on it and another white bait. No other colors hit. Some of it could have been action but color did make a difference last weekend.
bwalsh
Posted 6/29/2018 7:13 AM (#911087 - in reply to #876887)
Subject: Re: do lure color choices matter?




Posts: 59


Was it a bright sunny day?
ToddM
Posted 6/29/2018 7:17 AM (#911088 - in reply to #911087)
Subject: Re: do lure color choices matter?





Posts: 16173


Location: oswego, il
bwalsh - 6/29/2018 7:13 AM

Was it a bright sunny day?


No as a matter of fact the water was dirty it was cloudy and raining off and on. This area of the lake another color does much better they didn't get a sniff. I have had the white one out before in this area with limited success, this time it's all they wanted.

Edited by ToddM 6/29/2018 7:18 AM
Jerry Newman
Posted 6/29/2018 9:18 AM (#911113 - in reply to #911088)
Subject: Re: do lure color choices matter?




Location: 31
Hey Todd,
 
I'm just jacking with you a little bit... the problem I've always had with attributing some muskie action to color is the sample size, it's not like were fishing for walleye or salmon. I agree that if you're an astute angler you're always looking for a pattern or an edge with your bait and color is the most obvious part of the equation, especially when you're buying them. I'm sure you also agree that some of them will have their own unique action/vibration... problem is there's no way to tell that until you put the lure in the water and catch (or more often don't catch) fish. 

The lure I mentioned above was a highly modified ____ and a stone cold killer last year, so during the winter I tried to assemble about 25 of them knowing that (if I was lucky) I might end up with a few that had that same fish catching ability.  After testing them this spring I ended up with four more that looked close to the same action to me and those were promoted to the A team, but it remains to be seen if the muskie's agree with my assessment.

I don't doubt that a particular color can make a difference at times... but if was it truly just the color wouldn't a white slammer produce as well as the white believer?  In my mind color is about as relevant as moon phase and the action of the bait is along the lines of weather. I don't doubt that color (or moon phase) can enhance things, difference there is you know when the major is going to happen... not so much with color.
I do seem to do better with contrasting colors and wide contrasting bars, but on the few that have survived until the paint gets almost chewed off they still produce about the same.
 
djwilliams
Posted 6/29/2018 12:46 PM (#911143 - in reply to #876887)
Subject: Re: do lure color choices matter?




Posts: 686


Location: Ames, Iowa
I fish Leech- clear water. I fish a lot of topwaters, caught many fish on em, and have faith in them there. I also throw and troll a lot of shiny crankbaits, and shiny bladed spinnerbaits, hoping the flash catches the eye of the fish, but I get very few follows.
I guess I should stop wasting my time with those. I get more follows on a jailbird Suick or any Bulldawg. I should probably only fish those. Most of us have 5 or 6 confidence baits- I wonder if they have something in common. Mine are all designed to fish in the top 2 feet of the water column.

I think contrast and bait action and shape is more important than color, but I think that where the bait is (top, middle, bottom) has more importance than anything. Here is what I could defend: 1) Color doesn't matter on topwaters or on baits that run less than two feet deep like bucktails because they just appear dark against a lit sky, dark at night. 2) Color doesn't matter on deeper baits- they lose their color. 3) Contrast in mid level baits matters more than color. 4) Action and shape of all baits anywhere in the water column matters more than color or contrast.
NPike
Posted 6/29/2018 1:14 PM (#911146 - in reply to #911143)
Subject: Re: do lure color choices matter?




Posts: 397


djwilliams - 6/29/2018 1:46 PM

I fish Leech- clear water. I fish a lot of topwaters, caught many fish on em, and have faith in them there. I also throw and troll a lot of shiny crankbaits, and shiny bladed spinnerbaits, hoping the flash catches the eye of the fish, but I get very few follows.
I guess I should stop wasting my time with those. I get more follows on a jailbird Suick or any Bulldawg. I should probably only fish those. Most of us have 5 or 6 confidence baits- I wonder if they have something in common. Mine are all designed to fish in the top 2 feet of the water column.

I think contrast and bait action and shape is more important than color, but I think that where the bait is (top, middle, bottom) has more importance than anything. Here is what I could defend: 1) Color doesn't matter on topwaters or on baits that run less than two feet deep like bucktails because they just appear dark against a lit sky, dark at night. 2) Color doesn't matter on deeper baits- they lose their color. 3) Contrast in mid level baits matters more than color. 4) Action and shape of all baits anywhere in the water column matters more than color or contrast.


That's very interesting. I fish Conesus and Chautauqua primarily after May. From the surface you can see down ~ (4 to 6)', depends on winds and algae bloom (if any). I've luck with baits that dive like DDD's and Depthraiders. They are fished on the cast down at (10 to 15)'. I also fish some spinners and bucktails but I let them sink for 10 or seconds prior to retrieve.
ToddM
Posted 6/29/2018 6:15 PM (#911176 - in reply to #876887)
Subject: Re: do lure color choices matter?





Posts: 16173


Location: oswego, il
Jerry, i don't think lure color matters most of the time, at least a specific lure color. At times i have seen it make all the difference. I agree on one bait having a magic mojo, just the right action. I have a few of those too.
esoxaddict
Posted 6/29/2018 6:34 PM (#911177 - in reply to #911176)
Subject: Re: do lure color choices matter?





Posts: 7463


Used to have a nice private spot for crappies, some current and a brush pile. I'd fish 2 rods with the identical setup. 1/32 oz. jig, twister tail, fathead, 6'-0" from the bobber stop to the jig. One orange/orange and one white/white. Weeks of this, and the orange jig outfished the white by 6:1. I switched this and that, no change. Went to orange on the second rod, and blam. Fish every cast. Crappie fishing over a brush pile? Color matters.

Muskie fishing?

Bah.

The lures that work just #*^@ work. Contrast? Yes. Actual specific color? Seen it happen, but not to the extent where I would believe the color made a big difference.

I have a few lures that just #*^@ WORK. I'll fish them anywhere under any conditions, because they just... #*^@... work...

What they do and how and why? A bit of a mystery to be honest. They just #*^@ WORK.
Brad P
Posted 7/3/2018 9:27 AM (#911453 - in reply to #876887)
Subject: Re: do lure color choices matter?




Posts: 814


IMO color is the last thing I to change when ironing out presentation. Consider the classic formula for musky:

Location + Timing + Presentation = Fish

Color is part of Presentation, but probably (In my opinion) the least important variable as opposed to say TYPE and SIZE. Am I fishing slow finesse style lures that sit in the zone or am I fishing in line baits that are meant to cover water for an aggressive fish? From there the next question is profile / size. I do not think I've ever had to change colors to get the bite after I've gotten it dialed to TYPE and PROFILE. Usually it is just TYPE.

As always with this sport: Your Mileage May Vary!
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