How important is lure color?

November 13, 2007 by John - 8 Comments

Each month I field a question from a reader and answer it as best I can, focusing on those inquiries and responses that I believe will be of general benefit or interest. I recently received this email from Dan in South Carolina, who asks: “Do you believe lure color makes a difference when fishing shallows?”

electric-chicken.jpgThis one is dicey since folks seem to have firm opinions, either way. In the end it comes down to just that: opinion. On the one hand, I’ve witnessed certain lure colors seem to make a difference in attracting more fish. But more often — in my experience — it seems irrelevant. Now, some general rules do have merit. Dark lures do seem to work better in low light conditions or in murky water (likely because they create more contrast so fish can see them), and light-colored lures can work better in clear water or on bright days (likely because they more closely mimic semi-translucent baitfish than do dark, opaque offerings). But I believe most lure manufacturers offer scores of colors to entice fishermen, not fish. And I base my take upon experience. After using lures featuring natural colors for years, on a whim one season I purchased a handful of discounted pink plugs…and caught just as many, if not more, fish. I now throw bright yellow plugs almost exclusively, regardless of conditions — not because the snook and reds I target like them any more than natural colors or wild combinations, but because they’re easier for me to see and manipulate. And they catch just as many fish. Still think color choice is key? Then try and explain why a hideous yellow-and-pink combination called “Electric Chicken” is wildly popular among many anglers, especially along the Texas coast. If you can find me the baitfish it closely mimics, I’ll change my mind, and even buy you a beer. So…while I won’t dismiss the opinions of folks who think color choice is key, I say it’s way down the list of factors that’ll put more fish on your line.

Agree? Disagree? Chime in below.