When Lucky Craft unveiled its new Real California Supreme 110 4-inch swimbait last year, it announced the $29.99 lure would be available in 13 colors, including rainbow trout and tiger perch.
Berkley offers its 7-inch Power Worm in an amazing 36 colors (or color combinations).
Funny thing, color. It’s one of those presentation factors that can make all the difference or none at all, and at times we anglers are left just shaking our heads when pondering the question, which color, when.
The color issue, at least in my world, boils down to just two questions:
1. With which color should I start?
2. Should I make a color change?
What’s amazing to me is the process many anglers go through when coming up with the answer to question number one. FLW walleye pro Nick Johnson, and many other great anglers, uses water clarity to help him select color.
“In clear waters,” says Johnson,” I stick mostly with neutral colors like whites, blues, silvers, and various holographics, but there are times when bright colors like fire tiger are killer in clear water.
“When fishing stained waters, particularly tannic waters, I find myself migrating toward oranges, reds and yellows most of the time, and when things are muddy, when you lose sight of your lure just three to six inches from the surface, I go really bright like chartreuses and fluorescent oranges, or the opposite direction like black or smoke,” he says.
Bass fans can successfully use the Johnson approach as well, but the color palette tapped will be less bright with more blacks and blues, greens, reds and purples.
Your challenge is not to get overwhelmed by the choices. In fact, a number of bass anglers carry relatively few colors, with red shad, green pumpkin and watermelon covering most situations.
Which bring up question 2; should I even make a color change?
The answer, of course, depends on the situation. I’ll tweak colors when a hot bite slows, or a slow bite dies, and I am still on fish. Often something as simple as making a color change with result in a few more bites.
But a mistake many anglers make when changing colors is not making enough of a change. Think big when making colors changes, massive even! If you are fishing white, go black; watermelon, go red shad, and so on. Your goal is to find out quickly if color is a factor in your success or lack thereof.
There is one exception: tweaking a presentation. Say you are on a good bite, and have identified a color that is working head-and-tails above others you have tried.
But is it the best? Put it to the test.
If you look that the color options for the Berkley Power Worm you’ll quickly note that many of the colors are minor variations of popular options. For example, there are five color combinations of watermelon.
These options allow you to tweak the bite. Yes, there are days Watermelon Candy will out produce Watermelon Red Glitter, but more than likely only by a fish or two.
For a tournament angler, or those of you who like to keep score in the boat, however that’s probably enough for bragging rights!