Article by Ultimate Fishing (FishingTackleLures.com.au)
Many people starting out in fishing tend to believe that hard body fishing lures which realistically replicate fish found in the environment will be the way to go for catching their target fish. While these lures will no doubt work to some degree, their effectiveness can actually be lower than a less realistic artificially coloured lure. There are a few main reasons for this, which I will detail for you below.
The natural colours of fish have evolved over time to blend into the natural environment as best possible. This means that your natural coloured lure, while should it be spotted by a fish, will likely provoke a response, the fish will have a much harder time spotting these lures. You will also not get the attention of all nearby fish, meaning results will often never be maximised. The reason fish of these natural colours and looks exist today, is because they have adapted to their environments mainly due to the fact they are not as easily targeted or spotted, not because they are a preferred food source to the predator fish. If they were easy for other fish to see, they would have died off thousands of years ago through the process of natural selection.
The second important factor: Fish first react to vibrations and movement in the water, and secondly on physical features such as eyes and shape. In slightly murky or dark waters, they will rely almost entirely upon vibrations and movement, so the lure action is extremely important. The last thing that occurs in these waters will be a fish viewing the lure, and an attack will often occur simply due to the fish spotting a fake eye on the lure, more than enough to convince the fish it is time to attack.
In clearer waters, fish will still use their sense of vibrations and movement to locate a fish, however once spotted they will assess the look of the lure much more than in other conditions.
This however, doesn’t mean that a realistic lure is the most effective in clearer waters, while fish still sense the colour and lure shape, there are further factors that come into effect in the instance where the lure is being viewed and assessed for attack.
Most fish view colours differently to us, while they will spot the shades of colour, and interpret them in a similar way to us, they may not view the colours the exact same way as we would. For example, some fish may assess red and blue as both being differing shades of green, or as a much darker or lighter shade than is presented to our own eyes. In many cases, they may not see red as red, or blue as blue, meaning while the blending of colours may look strange to us, they are perfectly normal to the predator fish. Colour shades will also blend much easier to the eye of a fish compared to our own vision. Provoking a reaction unexpected if you are predicting a realistic based lure to be most effective.
A further factor to assess, is that in clearer waters, the scales on the surface of the bait fish are highly reflective, meaning that direct sunlight can provide a very bright blue at the top of the fish, with the underneath appearing green, yellow or white. The colours that will be reflected will differ depending on the shape of the bait fish and how vibrant the natural colours are. This is another main basis behind the effectiveness of non natural colours in lures.
Fish may also interpret white as a blind spot due to a reflection of light on the fish, meaning that they are not put off attacking a bright lure, even if the colour is mostly white. Many fish naturally have white stomach areas, and a bright silver look on the side of a bait fish can be imitated by white in many cases. In the same way, a mostly darker blue, green or black can be seen as the fish blocking the light, again triggering the same response in the target fish. A mid range colour will blend between these two extremes, and will also provide a natural reflection off the side to the approaching or following fish.
If you aren’t already beginning to see, this is why there is no 100% perfect lure to fish with, there are also no scientifically proven lures which are specific to any individual species. If there was, the amount of money changing hands on a weekly basis in the outdoors industry would easily provide the funding for the science required to produce the ‘perfect’ lure, this has never occurred, even after over 100 years of lure fishing and billions of dollars being spent each year.
There is so many variables that the only sure option is having an array of lures, and trying different lures in different conditions, then you will begin to build a mental map of what works best in which conditions, along with the species you are often catching with each lure at that time.
Species and their predatory nature are also very important, for example, you will catch redfin perch (english / european perch) on many different styles of lure, due to their extremely high predatory nature, along with the fact they will often attack without visual confirmation, this is especially true at times when they are in a feeding frenzy, they will take any lure that presents. When it comes to lures for trout, most colours are known to work, and their nature is a milder version of the redfin perch. With most estuary and bay / ocean species the colours pink, blue, white, green and yellow, or combinations of these, will be taken by many species. For Australian native bass and perch species, pinks, yellows, oranges and greens very commonly provide catches.
Now you have the above information in this article to consider, you can hopefully make more informed choices when it comes to hard body lures, remember to try many lures when starting out, not focusing on the most popular or expensive, a lot of fishing lures are designed only to catch fishermen by the wallet, not actual fish as these people expect when purchasing.
Simple or basic lures can often prove just as good or in many cases even better results than the most expensive lures on the market. Catching fish will come down to some trial and error initially, along with a good array of self learnt or taught retrieve styles, you will then soon narrow down your colour choices, lure weights and lure actions based on personal experience.
Every fisherman will try something a little different, while we all search for perfection, this always comes down to the skill and experience of the individual using the equipment, and quality equipment will assist in achieving good results. To ensure you don’t fall into the new fisherman’s trap, just remember, good quality equipment doesn’t have to be expensive, and a complete fishing knowledge achieved over time will bring you your own personal fishing perfection, which will open up the opportunities for catching many different species of fish and success when fishing in a wide range of conditions.