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Muskie Fishing -> General Discussion -> do lure color choices matter?
 
Message Subject: do lure color choices matter?
ToddM
Posted 9/11/2017 9:07 PM (#877539 - in reply to #877536)
Subject: Re: do lure color choices matter?





Posts: 15705


Location: oswego, il
Fishysam - 9/11/2017 8:55 PM

I only think color matters 2-3 days a month...


Married?
Fishysam
Posted 9/12/2017 6:53 PM (#877696 - in reply to #876887)
Subject: Re: do lure color choices matter?




Posts: 936


Nope, but if I were to fish 30 days in a row, color only maters for three of them other factors much more important are lure, lure depth, size, type of structure and timing
ToddM
Posted 9/12/2017 7:37 PM (#877701 - in reply to #876887)
Subject: Re: do lure color choices matter?





Posts: 15705


Location: oswego, il
Dam, overthrew that one.:-)

Edited by ToddM 9/12/2017 7:38 PM
Mudpuppy
Posted 9/13/2017 7:09 AM (#877741 - in reply to #877701)
Subject: Re: do lure color choices matter?




Posts: 205


Location: Elroy, Wisconsin
I would put factors affecting musky activity/aggressiveness as follows

Weather
Depth holding fish
Cover type
Action of lure
Finally color

I have seen color make a difference very few times. Three identical lures out, multiple hit only one color. One time it was yellow and black striped jailbird pattern. Three boated one afternoon all on jailbird. Action or color, I don,t know. Happened tp me only a couple of times. I have to talked to guys who primarily troll and they report muskies hitting one lure on their spread, color, I don't know.

Mudpuppy

Mudpuppy
sworrall
Posted 9/13/2017 10:52 AM (#877782 - in reply to #877536)
Subject: Re: do lure color choices matter?





Location: Rhinelander, Wisconsin
Fishysam - 9/11/2017 8:55 PM

I would say your color ideas in the first post are correct, steves information is great, but. If the fish can locate a lure any way other than just sight- I only think color matters 2-3 days a month...


Contrast matters every day, and not just a little. Muskies are sight feeders, meaning that a large part of the stimulus creating a strike response is attached to seeing the bait, and if they can't see the lure well are very prone to miss it, as well. The better they can see it, the better the entire process goes well. Color underwater translates pretty quickly to a contrast discussion because of what the water does to light. Since muskies basically look up all the time, and water does crazy things to light, there's more than just what you see above the water when you choose your lure color.
Espy
Posted 9/13/2017 11:10 AM (#877783 - in reply to #876887)
Subject: Re: do lure color choices matter?





Posts: 301


Location: Elk River, MN
While I believe color plays a role in muskies eating, I think its towards the bottom of the list of factors affecting it in many situations.
Jerry Newman
Posted 9/13/2017 4:30 PM (#877823 - in reply to #877782)
Subject: Re: do lure color choices matter?




Location: 31

Last week we ran 3 to 4 of the same color and type bait in a six line spread from a continuation of the day before, yet the first 3 fish that day all came on the same inside board bait. I think more times than not a lot of what we do becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, especially with color (self included).

If what Steve says is correct… couldn't we just paint half of the lure all black and the other half all white and be done with it? And… if they're primarily sight feeders, how do they ever track and bite a lure so accurately at night? 

sworrall
Posted 9/13/2017 11:34 PM (#877876 - in reply to #877823)
Subject: Re: do lure color choices matter?





Location: Rhinelander, Wisconsin
Jerry Newman - 9/13/2017 4:30 PM

Last week we ran 3 to 4 of the same color and type bait in a six line spread from a continuation of the day before, yet the first 3 fish that day all came on the same inside board bait. I think more times than not a lot of what we do becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, especially with color (self included).

If what Steve says is correct… couldn't we just paint half of the lure all black and the other half all white and be done with it? And… if they're primarily sight feeders, how do they ever track and bite a lure so accurately at night? 



It's correct, and pretty much with the black and white lure idea...yes. However, some colors, especially compound colors, contrast better. What about finishes that do a better job of reflecting light than others?

Take a look at what happens to light in the water, how much light is reflected off the water's surface, what colors disappear first, and what colors make up compound colors. Real science stuff, and pretty darned conclusive. I actually do a seminar for clubs, etc showing exactly what happens to color as the light drops. One can see a contrasting lure really well, but not one single person can tell me what color the lure is.

Forget about your watch, that's not the clock nature runs on. Learn about sun time and seasonal sun angles, that will help you select structural elements at times for best conditions/timing. And when you find out muskies are sensitive and subject to all this (you will), try fishing really big crappies and learn what that fish can actually do. Tough buggers to catch, the biggest of the big crappies in any one lake or river.


Then learn about the structure and function of the muskie's eyes. Did you know muskies are very seriously near sighted? Did you know that depth perception is a real issue for muskies? How about that 30 degree window? How far in front of a muskie does the blind spot go? What does that mean?

 

For over 35 years I've been trying to read and learn everything I can about what these critters really can and can't do. Still learning.A volume of the behavior one sees in fishes is very attributable to their eyesight, and then there's the other senses, and how everything welds together into a strike response, which is what we all seek.

Study 'rod vision' and how incredibly sensitive to light the muskie's eyes are after dark and for a time leading up to dark because it's already dark down there. It's not anywhere near as dark under the water at night to a muskie as it is to us, we don't have that kind of eye structure. Add some moonlight...and factor in the muskie's fixed iris (like a camera shutter wide open all the time) and it becomes clear muskies don't see at all like we do and live in a much different world than us. What we see looking at a lure above the water is irrelevant in so many ways.

The most technically accurate definition of color is:
"Color is the visual effect that is caused by the spectral composition of the light emitted, transmitted, or reflected by objects."

"objects"= lure colors, that is, and the reflected light...where does that come from?

What if red has been filtered out and cannot be reflected back to the muskie's eyes, what color is a red lure then? How about an orange lure? Depends on how the compound color was made and the process in which it was applied to the lure body.

 

And then there's the UV spectrum.

 

Back a long time ago we used to discuss this sort of thing quite a bit here. I miss those debates....

shawnm1
Posted 9/14/2017 10:01 AM (#877918 - in reply to #876887)
Subject: Re: do lure color choices matter?




Posts: 51


I have read an excellent book on this subject. It is a little dated now, but much of the info still applies. It is called The Scientific Angler. I would like to see someone recreate the book with all of our new tech and knowledge. Some of the science won't change no matter how dated the book is though.
johnsonaaro2
Posted 9/18/2017 12:42 PM (#878365 - in reply to #876887)
Subject: Re: do lure color choices matter?





Posts: 233


Location: Madison, WI
here's an interesting study on the subject

http://jeb.biologists.org/content/jexbio/204/6/1207.full.pdf
johnsonaaro2
Posted 9/18/2017 1:00 PM (#878367 - in reply to #876887)
Subject: Re: do lure color choices matter?





Posts: 233


Location: Madison, WI
If you are really interested in the way color works underwater i highly recommend reading "What fish see" by Dr. Colin Kageyama. Being a color nerd is part of my job and i learned a ton from this book. Easy to go down a rabbit hole with the color stuff and end up with way too many baits though... In my mind there are other areas where the time/effort invested would be more worthwhile.
Jeremy
Posted 9/18/2017 1:04 PM (#878370 - in reply to #876887)
Subject: Re: do lure color choices matter?




Posts: 1043


Location: Coon Rapids, Minnesota.
Hate to plead ignorance here - especially for (cough, cough) ALL the muskies I catch - but to me color means little!

I took my PB on a Wild Sucker Suick that had lots of the paint worn off and was basically mostly white! Hmmm...dunno there. It was bad enough that Suick made it right.

Anyways I have a couple red/white Suicks that I haven't tossed at all. Wonder why - toothy critters (pike) love that color combo from my high school days and they haven't had an orig. idea in over a million years so maybe it would work on muskies. Dunno there, just no confidence!!

I like black baits a lot and wonder why. Not many food fish that I've seen are black. Interesting topic and likely one that will be around forever.

I don't take many fish - maybe I should begin tossing the red/white Suicks?? If I take one I'll blab!
tundrawalker00
Posted 9/18/2017 1:31 PM (#878374 - in reply to #878370)
Subject: Re: do lure color choices matter?




Posts: 378


Location: Ludington, MI
I have a vintage Color-C-Lector if anyone is interested!
Mudpuppy
Posted 9/19/2017 5:10 PM (#878486 - in reply to #878374)
Subject: Re: do lure color choices matter?




Posts: 205


Location: Elroy, Wisconsin
Through The Fishes Eye, by Prof. John Clark, University of Penn is the best I found on the topic of color.

Mudpuppy
sworrall
Posted 9/19/2017 9:48 PM (#878523 - in reply to #878486)
Subject: Re: do lure color choices matter?





Location: Rhinelander, Wisconsin
Mudpuppy - 9/19/2017 5:10 PM

Through The Fishes Eye, by Prof. John Clark, University of Penn is the best I found on the topic of color.

Mudpuppy


Sosin and Clark. Mark is an amazing angler. When I finally met him and told him how much the book meant to me, he said," So YOU are the guy who bought one!" Great sense of humor too.
TannerAE
Posted 9/20/2017 8:54 AM (#878544 - in reply to #876887)
Subject: Re: do lure color choices matter?




Posts: 61


steve's posts are very interesting. One of my favorite colors has distinct black stripes running across the sides and back, even though the base color resembles nothing the musky eat in my area the fish still seem to love it.
14ledo81
Posted 9/20/2017 4:31 PM (#878617 - in reply to #877701)
Subject: Re: do lure color choices matter?





Posts: 2125


Location: Ashland WI
ToddM - 9/12/2017 7:37 PM

Dam, overthrew that one.:-)


Thats cuz he's not married.....

I got it.
fishpoop
Posted 9/21/2017 12:23 PM (#878711 - in reply to #876887)
Subject: RE: do lure color choices matter?




Posts: 644


Location: Forest Lake, Mn.
Odd, I was just going to suggest; Through The Fishes Eye by Sosin, when I read further down and find it already mentioned. I have an edition that was given to me in 1977 by my father when I was a Junior in high school. Dad's long since passed on but I still have the book.

Fishing Lure Color Selection (Part 1). How Colors Look Underwater
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tpQTh_tnJ6c

Part 2
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TTi5nJqEzvo

Part 3
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QTqyVX3oZk0

Part 4
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p5P6UMGiT7o

In my personal experience there was only 1 time when I thought that color made a difference. A few years back I made a week long trip to Vermilion and the only lure that moved muskies was a pink and white bucktail. All pink or all white bucktails produced nothing. Any other style of lure produced nothing.

Now, I suppose it could be argued that there was something different about that bucktail, other than color, compared to the rest of the bucktails. Honestly, though, I can't figure out what that difference might be? All the bucktails I had were of the same manufacturer and style with the only visible difference being the color. The blades on all my bucktails were #8 Colorado so vibration should have been the same. You tell me! lol

I looked at that pink/white bucktail closely and tried to see if I could figure out what was different about it compared to the others and I couldn't.

Pink turns to gray as it goes deeper in the water, as explained already in this thread and in the video links, so maybe the pink/white bucktail became gray/white bucktail and better matched the forage, Cisco's?? You tell me!
johnsonaaro2
Posted 9/21/2017 12:58 PM (#878716 - in reply to #876887)
Subject: Re: do lure color choices matter?





Posts: 233


Location: Madison, WI
---
Pink turns to gray as it goes deeper in the water, as explained already in this thread and in the video links, so maybe the pink/white bucktail became gray/white bucktail and better matched the forage, Cisco's?? You tell me!
-----

One interesting point to this also is that fluorescent colors are able to reflect a much broader range of the light spectrum than conventional colors can. Maybe the pink blades were fluorescent and thus stayed bright where the other colors faded?
bwalsh
Posted 9/21/2017 1:22 PM (#878723 - in reply to #876887)
Subject: Re: do lure color choices matter?




Posts: 58


I'd be curious to know why the green blade/black bucktail combination seems to work on the Chippewa Flowage. Seems lake-specific and doesn't seem to be used much elsewhere.
fishpoop
Posted 9/21/2017 1:24 PM (#878724 - in reply to #878716)
Subject: Re: do lure color choices matter?




Posts: 644


Location: Forest Lake, Mn.
johnsonaaro2 - 9/21/2017 12:58 PM

---
Pink turns to gray as it goes deeper in the water, as explained already in this thread and in the video links, so maybe the pink/white bucktail became gray/white bucktail and better matched the forage, Cisco's?? You tell me!
-----

One interesting point to this also is that fluorescent colors are able to reflect a much broader range of the light spectrum than conventional colors can. Maybe the pink blades were fluorescent and thus stayed bright where the other colors faded?


Nice thought but no they weren't fluorescent paints just basic pink.
ToddM
Posted 9/21/2017 1:42 PM (#878726 - in reply to #878723)
Subject: Re: do lure color choices matter?





Posts: 15705


Location: oswego, il
bwalsh - 9/21/2017 1:22 PM

I'd be curious to know why the green blade/black bucktail combination seems to work on the Chippewa Flowage. Seems lake-specific and doesn't seem to be used much elsewhere.


It works elsewhere, it works on the chip because it is a popular choice.

Edited by ToddM 9/21/2017 1:43 PM
fishpoop
Posted 9/21/2017 1:52 PM (#878727 - in reply to #878726)
Subject: Re: do lure color choices matter?




Posts: 644


Location: Forest Lake, Mn.
ToddM - 9/21/2017 1:42 PM

bwalsh - 9/21/2017 1:22 PM

I'd be curious to know why the green blade/black bucktail combination seems to work on the Chippewa Flowage. Seems lake-specific and doesn't seem to be used much elsewhere.


It works elsewhere, it works on the chip because it is a popular choice.


Green/black and chartreuse/black have been standard muskie colors for years.

I used to joke that you can use any color you like so long as it's chartreuse. lol
sworrall
Posted 9/21/2017 4:35 PM (#878754 - in reply to #878723)
Subject: Re: do lure color choices matter?





Location: Rhinelander, Wisconsin
bwalsh - 9/21/2017 1:22 PM

I'd be curious to know why the green blade/black bucktail combination seems to work on the Chippewa Flowage. Seems lake-specific and doesn't seem to be used much elsewhere.


Green is yellow/blue compound color. If it's painted over a white surface it 'gathers' more light.

http://indianapublicmedia.org/amomentofscience/a-magical-glow/

As said, then there's the UV spectrum....

Black is always right, and no matter what color is with the black, will contrast so the fish can see it well. It may not be the chartreuse getting it done at all, depending. It also MAY be, depending on sky conditions. Cloudy day? No. Sunny day? yep.
sworrall
Posted 9/21/2017 4:38 PM (#878755 - in reply to #878724)
Subject: Re: do lure color choices matter?





Location: Rhinelander, Wisconsin
fishpoop - 9/21/2017 1:24 PM

johnsonaaro2 - 9/21/2017 12:58 PM

---
Pink turns to gray as it goes deeper in the water, as explained already in this thread and in the video links, so maybe the pink/white bucktail became gray/white bucktail and better matched the forage, Cisco's?? You tell me!
-----

One interesting point to this also is that fluorescent colors are able to reflect a much broader range of the light spectrum than conventional colors can. Maybe the pink blades were fluorescent and thus stayed bright where the other colors faded?


Nice thought but no they weren't fluorescent paints just basic pink.


White and red is famous for working well.it's basically white and black most of the time. Pink is basically gray.
horsehunter
Posted 9/21/2017 5:02 PM (#878762 - in reply to #876887)
Subject: Re: do lure color choices matter?




Location: Eastern Ontario
What nobody can prove one way or another is whether another bait style or colour at the EXACT time, speed, depth wouldn't have achieved the same desired result.
I caught a lot of fish back in the 70's when all my lures fit in a styrofoam minnow bucket now they won't all fit in the boat because I was drinking the Koolaid

I rarely use more than 4 lures in a days fishing

Edited by horsehunter 9/21/2017 5:10 PM
sworrall
Posted 9/21/2017 5:34 PM (#878766 - in reply to #878762)
Subject: Re: do lure color choices matter?





Location: Rhinelander, Wisconsin
horsehunter - 9/21/2017 5:02 PM

What nobody can prove one way or another is whether another bait style or colour at the EXACT time, speed, depth wouldn't have achieved the same desired result.
I caught a lot of fish back in the 70's when all my lures fit in a styrofoam minnow bucket now they won't all fit in the boat because I was drinking the Koolaid

I rarely use more than 4 lures in a days fishing


True, but why knowingly fish a lure the muskies will have trouble seeing? Just increases misses, follows, and will put fewer fish in the net. It's part of the equation, not the whole.
horsehunter
Posted 9/21/2017 6:12 PM (#878774 - in reply to #876887)
Subject: Re: do lure color choices matter?




Location: Eastern Ontario
Whether my local stained lake or the very clear St Lawrence where i spend a lot of my time I'm not sure you could find a colour that a muskie couldn't see including my firetiger suicks that are now mostly paintless . Many times i have caught fish in the front of a boat and the person in the back of the boat has caught fish on a totally different colour. I also caught a muskie that appeared to be totally blind that seemed to be doing quite well.

As a side note I was told by Dr. Bruce Tufts Queens University that the biggest trigger for a lure regardless of colours was vertical bars
sworrall
Posted 9/21/2017 6:14 PM (#878776 - in reply to #876887)
Subject: Re: do lure color choices matter?





Location: Rhinelander, Wisconsin
They have to see the bars for that to be a trigger. Totally different color doesn't mean either or both are maximized, and doesn't mean they are not. Knowing they are is the key.

Muskies can feed when blind, but not anywhere nearly as well. The other sensory organs adapt to a degree.
esoxaddict
Posted 9/21/2017 6:17 PM (#878779 - in reply to #878766)
Subject: Re: do lure color choices matter?





Posts: 7319


sworrall - 9/21/2017 5:34 PM

horsehunter - 9/21/2017 5:02 PM

What nobody can prove one way or another is whether another bait style or colour at the EXACT time, speed, depth wouldn't have achieved the same desired result.
I caught a lot of fish back in the 70's when all my lures fit in a styrofoam minnow bucket now they won't all fit in the boat because I was drinking the Koolaid

I rarely use more than 4 lures in a days fishing


True, but why knowingly fish a lure the muskies will have trouble seeing? Just increases misses, follows, and will put fewer fish in the net. It's art of the equation, not the whole.


Nature provides the best camouflage to muskie food. Dark on the back so birds don't see them, light on the belly so they are less easily seen from underneath, spots and stripes and bars to break up the profile so they are difficult to see against the background of their habitat...

And yet we buy lures that are painted to look like fish.

Seems we'd be better served if every lure we owned was chartreuse with black bars. or just striped black and white. All my best producing lures have black on them somewhere, but none are completely black. That leads me to believe that contrast far outweighs color.

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