New crayons were one of my favorite back to school supplies. But, I’ll venture to say that even the mega pack of colored pencils doesn’t have the range of colors of fishing lures. This common child conversation starter is difficult for me to answer, perhaps because I fish.
It wasn’t that long ago that lures were packaged as simply “purple” or “silver and black.” However due to the innovative nature of anglers and lure manufacturers, basic colors like “yellow” eventually were considered not specific enough. Now, “chartreuse” is well established in standard angler vocabulary. And new colors (or combinations) are coming out every year. At ICAST, Gary Yamamoto released “Mowed Grass” and Missile Baits, “Green Pumpkin Flash.”
Many colors are named after natural fish food items such as: “Gizzard Shad,” “Crayfish,” and “Tennessee Shad.” Some colors are given names based on human food items. “Watermelon,” “Bubble Gum,” “Salt and Pepper,” and “Key Lime Pie” are good examples. Then there are lure colors that are less descriptive of the actual perceived wavelength. “Cell Mate,” “Easy Money,” and “Spotted Mess” are intriguing names but I have no idea the color.
Some lure colors are bright to attract attention, even in stained, murky water. Others are almost completely camouflaged in aquatic vegetation, but this natural look may be just what predator fish are seeking.
An angler should have a good selection of colors. The “right” color depends on the conditions such as water clarity, depth, light intensity, temperature, or local prey items. It also depends on the attitude of the angler. You need to believe in what you are casting, but also prepared to try something new.
Remember: just because “Confused Tomato” got smashed last time, doesn’t mean that “Electric Chicken” isn’t today’s special.
Andy Whitcomb is a columnist, outdoor humorist, and stressed-out Dad living in Pennsylvania. Visit him at www.justkeepreeling.com.