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Lure Colors, Part 1

Published on September 22, 2008

With so many different colors to choose from, how can a person know what color lures to use? Do we really need to keep all those colors in our tacklebox? Is there a way to narrow down the selection?

I did a query on the Basslog and there were over 200 different color combinations recorded. When I narrowed it down to color combinations for lures that caught at least 20 fish, there were still 63 different color combinations. So, how can we know what color to choose? Does it really matter? Are there certain colors that would get that bass to bite when others would fail?

I don't think there is a completely scientific approach to prove what color would trigger a bass to bite when others would not. The only way to do that would be to offer it different colors in the exact presentation at the exact time, which is impossible to do. But we can obtain that information with a high degree of accuracy. We can consult the Insider BASSlog and find out what colors bass preferred in the past and rely on past behavior to predict the future.

The Insider BASSlog is a database where fishermen can post the conditions of their catch on the Internet. With over 2,100 registered, the findings are quite unbiased and we can get a pretty good idea of what color lures we should be using.

The task of determining what colors work best is harder than it might seem. There are so many variables to deal with. For one, different types of lures come in different colors. Think about the colors of plastic worms, crankbaits, spinnerbaits and spoons. All baits are not even available in all the same colors. Other factors include water clarity, water depth, time of day, and sky conditions.

We could break down each of these variables (and many more) even further and gain some more specific details. However, I believe just going into the first level of detail will give us some valuable information without getting too complicated. So, I will mention these facts individually without going into further detail. Just keep in mind that each detail can be broken down further and that the entire database is queried for each detail. To keep it to a minimum, I will list only the top color choices for each topic even though there may be dozens of other colors recorded.

First, I want to mention the best colors for each time of day. The top 3 colors for the first light to sun-up period are white, shad and watermelon.

The next period is sun-up to 9 a.m. The best color choices then are green pumpkin, watermelon and white.

Next is 9 a.m. to Noon. The best colors for that time period are green pumpkin, watermelon and watermelon/red flake.

From Noon to 3 p.m., green pumpkin, watermelon and shad are tops. From 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., it is green pumpkin, watermelon red/flake and watermelon.

Best color choices for dusk are green pumpkin, watermelon and white. Once it gets dark, black/blue, black and green pumpkin are the best picks.

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