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Consider Color For More Fishing Success

By Bob Jensen - April 1, 2012

People who like to fish like to talk about different things that can impact their fishing success. The number of factors that can impact our fishing success are many, but one thing that we often come back to is lure color. Beginning and expert anglers alike are always trying to figure out how much impact lure color has on our fishing success. Following are some thoughts on lure color.

In the minds of many accomplished anglers the lure color question is this simple: Sometimes color matters, sometimes it doesn't. When the fish are biting, they'll often hit any color you put out there. When they don't want to eat, color becomes one of several very important considerations. There are times when having the "right" color of bait on the end of your line will result in more fish being caught.

There are ways to increase the odds of showing a fish the color they might prefer on a particular day. Let's say we're after walleyes, and we're using jigs with a soft bait trailer. If there are two anglers in the boat, one angler should try, for example, an orange jighead with a chartreuse tail: That's a great walleye color combination almost anywhere. The other angler should try a pink head, white body. By doing so, we're showing the walleyes four different colors. We're increasing the odds of showing them the color they want on that particular day.

Now, let's say the angler using the orange/chartreuse combo is catching more fish. If you really want to fine-tune your color option, one angler should try an orange head/orange tail jig, the other should tie on a chartreuse head/chartreuse tail jig. By doing so, we're going to see if there really is a dominant color on that particular day. Sometimes there will be a definite color preference.

Bass anglers can do the same thing with jigs: Use a rubber-legged jig on one color with a trailer of another color. You're just increasing the odds of showing the fish the color they want on that particular day, or time of day. You can do it with spinnerbaits also: Skirt color is different than blade color; trailer is a different color than the skirt and the blade.

Some anglers will tell you that lure color doesn't matter. These are the same anglers that have boxes full of baits of different colors, or they have a bunch of marking pens on the deck of their boat so they can change the color or appearance of their bait quickly if they think the situation calls for it.

None of us know for sure how much of a factor lure color is in fishing success, and we probably won't know until the fish tell us, and so far, they're not talking. But if you spend some time on the water, and if you experiment with color, you'll probably decide that, at times, if you're using the right color, you'll catch more fish, and if you're not using the right color, you're catching might be limited. This year, experiment with different lure colors and see what you find out.

Author Bob Jensen
Bob Jensen
Bob Jensen is the host of the Fishing the Midwest television series, a series of television fishing shows that highlight fishing locations and techniques throughout the Midwest. He also writes a syndicated fishing column and does fishing seminars throughout the Midwest. He is a former fishing guide and tournament angler. Visit Bob's web site at
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