Our infatuation with color

Does color really make a difference or is it just in our minds?

I say, a little of both.

There are a handful of basic colors that seem to work just about everywhere. But as we fish around the country, we discover that there are other colors you better have when you fish certain lakes. A good example occurred this year when we were at the California Delta, where red craw out-fishes everything else.

In some situations water clarity dictates the appropriate color; some basic colors simply look more natural in different lakes. But that isn’t always the case.

I’ve also seen where a subtle color difference in clear water can make all the difference in the world. For example, on the Great Lakes during a mayfly hatch you’re going to catch a lot more fish on pumpkin brown than you will watermelon green, even though watermelon green works great at other times of the year.

That’s a case of matching the hatch during the bass’ shift to different forage.

Forage colors are something I really monitor when fishing a lake. I’m not only looking at the basic colors, but any hues that may be reflecting off of them. A slight addition to a lure can matter.

I’ve seen that a Table Rock where I’d be throwing a brown craw crankbait and not get bit, but when I switched to green crawfish I lit them up.

However, there are lakes where one certain color works most of the time. For example, if you’re throwing a worm on Kentucky Lake, it better be plum colored. Don’t ask why; it simply works best.

Of course, that raises another larger element that enters the equation when fishermen choose colors.


It doesn’t matter whether you’re a weekend fisherman or Elite pro, confidence plays a heavy influence in color choices. When fishing a color in which you have confidence in, you’re going to make better presentations and stay more focused.

And probably catch more fish.

I see that with some Elite pros on some bodies of water. Even though their lure sponsor makes the same body shape of soft plastic, they will use another brand in which they have more confidence because of the slight color difference and that color works best on that lake.

Confidence often overrules everything.

It should play a role, but not to the extent it overpowers your judgement. You have to be willing to experiment with variations of colors because it can make a difference.

The color issue resonates with me now because my sons are fishing a lot more and asking a lot of questions. I find it interesting to see how they – as new anglers – select colors based on previous success regardless of a changing lake situation or the bait style they’re fishing.

I’m not going to tell them they are wrong because, again, I know confidence is huge as you develop as an angler.

When I look in my KVD 1.5 crankbait box, I see 40 different colors. When I go on tour, I carry 500 pounds of plastics in numerous colors. I have to, because each lake is different and we never know what we might encounter.

There’s no denying I have my favorites – because of the confidence and previous success I’ve had.

Honestly, there is no right or wrong in this debate. After all, the entire color game is another element that adds to the intrigue of our fabulous sport.

Remember, it’s all about the attitude!