Originally posted by: ouachitabassangler on 10/22/2005 10:53:43 AM
Down in "Fishing Gear" below is mention of the Color C Lector. It works, but I can get the same information as to water clarity by just noting about how far down a lure swims before disappearing, and knowing which colors filter out first in water. Clarity is not a precise factor requiring a meter reading, but is important to consider. As for me there are only four clarity categories to think about: clear, stained, dirty and muddy. That's it!
The relationship between game fish, anglers, and bait color selection is primarily a matter of two major factors. They are 1. achieving camouflage in clear water, and 2. enhancing visibility in stained to muddy water. Those are extreme opposite conditions with very little comparison. There's a wild swing in tactics leaving clear water and going into the other three waters on a lake.
In clear water, predators can see long distances and very well. Fish are accustomed to watch for subtle movement of forage. Their food supply, mostly shad, minnows, crayfish and small pan fish survive through use of camouflage mostly afforded by vegetation (cover), escape proficiency, and stealth. Almost snail-paced movement of animals subject to a defenseless posture keeps them alive. By blending into their environment they are further able to escape attention of hungry predators. While a faster moving highly visible lure resembling natural prey often attracts a strike due to a â€œreaction biteâ€ in clear water, more fish bite lures that imitate natural prey behaving with normal activity. For that reason colors that achieve blending with surrounding cover or structure in the lake are most effective, such as plastic worms in light green with black or brown â€œseedâ€, fished very slowly combined with occasional sudden movements to draw attention from distant predators.
Most of the time fish are not actively feeding, suspending anywhere from bottom to surface, not interested in pursuing healthy forage until very hungry. A lure that appears natural and helpless, in stages of dying, can peak interest leading to a bite. The depth of the predator fish is an important consideration concerning color selection. All colors are filtered into the invisible light spectrum at particular depths, like red beyond 5 feet below the surface. A fish must be very close to a red bait at 10 feet to see the red. However, some colors like black, purple and blue are the last colors to disappear in deeper water. The less color in a lure, the less visible, the more it blends into the increasingly darker environment, surrounded by a cloud of suspended objects that further camouflage a lure. Purple plastic worms, and the many variations of colors based on blue, dark green, violet, those remain top color selections in deep water exceeding 25 feet, while excelling in shallower water. Black on blue jigs remain popular at all depths normally holding fish.
The density and movement of the lure become increasingly important in water with low visibility or excess depth. In hours of darkness from dusk until dawn, black plastic worms are popular mostly because of the opaqueness of blackened plastic. Lighter colors added sparingly to plastic tend to make plastic more translucent, making them difficult to contrast against available light from stars, moon, or artificial light sources. Opaque lures are more easily seen above a fish in low light, not requiring as much noise vibration as do lures that donâ€™t contrast well. In daylight hours muddy water requires heavy coloration to provide maximum contrast. In that case unnatural colors often work better than natural ones simply because a fish can see it better at a time when sight feeding is handicapped and they remain hungry longer, having to rely on other senses such as hearing audible vibrations, lateral line â€œsonarâ€ for detecting sub or super-sonic vibrations, smell and taste.
When fishing a color selection in any part of the lake doesnâ€™t produce a bite, rather than moving to another area, try changing color scheme and or density (contrast) until finding the right combination for the visibility range of the water. Alter speed and manner of presentation with each color selection. Many anglers tie on a particular lure of a favorite color and keep that for hours, fishing many acres of changing water conditions until their lure matches the water conditions. There is the possibility the conditions will be met randomly, but fish might not be present, so itâ€™s better to find the fish then discover the right color, density, and movement combination the fish will respond to at their feeding depth, then fine tune the presentation to determine optimum line type and size, and lure size and activity level, ranging from â€œpower-fishingâ€ as fast as a reel can retrieve, to â€œdead stickingâ€, the slowest presentation, letting a lure sink and sit on bottom Â½ to one minute at a time.
Line color and type often requires careful consideration. Very clear water is best fished using fluorocarbon or copolymer line that has approximately the same light refractive property as clear water, making it virtually invisible. But not all water has the same refractivity, so colored line might be more effective sometimes. Available colors include clear, smoke, red, green, blue, brown, yellow, and some multicolored for trolling. A slightly more visible but effective line choice might be a smoke colored monofilament line to match an ash colored water following brief, frequent rains. Green line, including braided line, can blend in well in water having considerable green aquatic vegetation. When predator fish are actively feeding, the line isnâ€™t necessarily noticed, the attention focused on the lure, allowing darker lines like braid. When the bite is light a more subtle line selection can make a significant difference in fooling fish into biting.
I realize this is a long post that probably loses most readers, but maybe by the time you got to this you will improve your fishing.