There is probably no angler who has not asked themselves this question. What do we know about this? Whether or not to apply so much effort to as accurately as possible to depict on the bait with scales, fins and various stains, typical for the species, which she created to imitate?
If Yes, in what way and with what efficiency its color affects the interest of the predator? In other words — is the enormous range of colours of artificial lures in our angling shops only a trap for our wallet or a justified necessity?
Each of you, dear colleagues, must have heard such stories — the pike lake takes on a yellow spoons, the other responds only to silver, and, for example, on this stretch of the river Wobbler must have a blue back, as the bait with a black back, no chance to catch a decent Chub. As a manufacturer of lures, I often ask such questions and expect professional comments on this topic. I would like to comment on these stories, but not from a manufacturer’s perspective and from the point of view of a professional ichthyologist, to whom all the stories tested and scientifically confirmed.
Scientists for over a hundred years explore vision in fish, and anglers often motivate them by providing interesting practical information. But despite this, this process is still only partially explored, and who knows, will there be a time when our knowledge will allow us to understand what image appears in the brain of the pike with our lure.
However, we know quite a bit, for example, on the topic — What happens to light when it penetrates the water
We all know that white light consists of a spectrum in which the specific colors correspond to specific wavelengths. The human eye registers the following components of white light in order from shortest to longest waves are red, orange, yellow, blue, blue (Indigo) and purple.
Light behaves differently in water and in the air. They say that the water «filters out the light.» First, you should know that the light penetrates deep into the water loses energy. This is due both to reflection and scattering of some of the waves from the surface and their later absorption. Individual colors are absorbed with increasing depth. In the process of penetration in depth of the warm water the colors fade and become grey-black. At a depth of about 3 meters red fades, then orange and yellow begins to fade. At a depth of about 20 metres yellow looks green-blue, and remains unchanged to the eye only blue, Indigo and violet. At a depth of 40 meters disappears purple. However, it should be remembered that these data are approximate and relate to the crystal clear waters of the lake. Any turbidity, organic suspension, very often even in clear waters, and swaying of the surface drastically affect these figures.
Light energy decreases with increasing depth. So yellow at a depth of 10 m is still perceived as yellow, but its intensity will be much less than the depth of 3 m In clear lake at a depth of 3 m red color will be more noticeable, and in the muddy river «will turn into» black already half a metre below the surface.
The discussion on whether and to what extent the color of artificial lures on the results of fishing, would have to begin with a brief analysis of what we know about the vision of fish. Many times in conversations with anglers I’ve heard doubts about the effectiveness of brightly colored lures. Therefore, first-
Fish see the world in different colors?
Once already we know that even dogs have big «issues» in order to distinguish between many colors (in the best way they see yellow and blue), therefore, fish, standing below on the development of the likely shouldn’t see any flowers. So, it is not so! Ichthyological studies conclusively proved that most species of fish distinguish all the colors that people see, and some even more! Of course, between different species of fish there is a huge difference in the possibilities of color discrimination. It including depends on natural habitat conditions (water transparency and light intensity).
Fish eye built similarly to the eye of other vertebrates. A major role in the visual process plays retina. In it are receptors that react to light. These are two types of photoreceptor cells that consist of so-called rods and cones. Sticks take promises low intensity, and cones operate under extreme lighting conditions. For distinguishing colours, like vertebrates, respond cones. In humans there are three types of cones, which are responsible for the recognition of the three primary colors of red, green and blue. Arranged in such a way the retina allows us to distinguish between more than 300 thousand shades of colors.
The structure of the retina in eyes of fish depends on habitat conditions. Fish, leading day way of life, ie, having many more cones in the retina, can distinguish colours much better than nocturnal species. Fish that live in shallow and well-lighted areas, there are four or five kinds of cones (e.g., trout).
In this regard, they can capture more colors than people, for example, ultraviolet light. Other fish have two types of cones that limit their ability to distinguish colors (e.g., Sudak).
Fish living in low-light conditions have only one kind of cones. Moreover, their retina is characterized by a large number of sticks with a small amount of cones. For example, the burbot, the ratio of the number of sticks to the cone is 200:1. Deep sea fish and some anglers are known for our river species (e.g., catfish) have no cones. The eyes of these fish are very sensitive to light and bad to distinguish details. Limit the sensitivity of the fish eye to light depends not only on the type of fish, it may vary within one species with adaptation to specific conditions (e.g. living in the dark).
So, we found that fish in the vast majority distinguish colors better than men. How important it is for us anglers? In other words —
Whether will increase the lures in assorted colors, the chances of a good catch?
Based on the research of biochemical processes that occur in the retina, but also experiments consisting in the training of the fish, you can try to imagine how different fish see our lures.
So the predator was able to appreciate our attempts to seduce him colored lures, it must first bait to capture your eye. For this, no doubt, is needed to make it stand out against the environment. This is especially important in low-light conditions.
At greater depths, where only remnants of light, on a background of green and blue more black will be white and silver. A good effect is also obtained when using prismatic foil, which reflects the remnants of light in different directions.
Certainly have a special color or color combination that perfectly visible against a sandy bottom will not be as visible against a dark bottom or at depth. And that’s probably the key to success in the choice of bait for most predators detect the presence of a potential victim close to itself with seeing contrast object that stands out from the environment. It depends on several factors: time of day, type of bottom, water transparency, number of falling in this place of light, etc.
As we have seen, color is an important factor affecting the visibility of the lure. Is it the most important? You have to remember, based on what fishing with artificial bait. The lure mimics food, the usual for fish, using the hunger of a predator. Is this the only motivation to attack? One of the most famous Polish writers and at the same time a passionate fisherman once wrote that some lures are so beautiful that fish, grabbing them, expressing thus his admiration for the skill of human hands. Fish don’t have hands — so they «clap» out of his mouth.
Attack predator of the lure or neglect based on a number of factors. The fish judges the size, shape and method of movement of the object. Also important is the sound coming from the object, its smell, and it is possible that some other factors about which we have no idea. To a greater extent than the predator assesses these factors as attractive, the more often he decides to attack the bait as positive for the angler.
However you need to remember the other senses apart from sight are of interest to us predators. Most of them — pike, perch, Chub, trout — have a good visual memory. Others, like catfish, used for hunting larger number of senses. But for all lateral line is very important. It is known that even pike, which for various reasons (mostly human factor) completely lost his sight, well hunts by detecting its prey only with the help of this sensitive organ.
Therefore, undoubtedly, the use of colored baits can help to deceive a predator
In pure water
Clean and well-lit water as a serious challenge to anglers who want to cheat predator using artificial lures. In this case, the color and model of the bait becomes even more important.
But is it always a recipe for success is the accurate representation of the colours that we see ourselves? One American angler describes an interesting case of unexplained efficiency of the colour of oxidised lead in the clear water of a mountain stream. This fact was later investigated. It turned out that for unknown reasons the trout living in the stream, much better seen and attacked the lure gray and hardly noticeable to us lead-colour than, for example, shiny Nickel or color of polished silver. It is possible that these fish see colors differently than humans. Therefore, manufacturers face a considerable task. You need to copy the color of oxidized lead, although in principle it is unknown how actually it should look like…
Scientific research and fishing practice show that in clear water are white and transparent lures. Good work delicate, shining patterns on the use of glitter or holographic foil. Simulate the mirror layer of guanine on the scales of fish. Clearly visible blue color. No wonder that, for example, in the waters of the Baltic for many years the most effective combination when fishing for predators are sky blue, silver and white.
Thus, perhaps it is enough to use the appropriate colors and shades to successfully fish for predators with artificial lures in clear water? This question often arises in conversations with anglers. Many of them think that a hungry pike (and they’re usually hungry) attacks everything that moves. Does it make sense when producing lure to pay such close attention to the patterns of scales, fins and spots characteristic of the simulation? It turns out that fish have more complex retina of the eye than people, there is no problem with the recognition of even the smallest of objects, therefore our lures. In the retina of the pike, for example, three or four large sticks, there is one cone. Such a structure leads to the fact that the eyes of this predator are not sensitive to light and at the same time knows how to perfectly recognize and distinguish detail.
The experiments conducted by one of the German ichthyologists, who fed small pike males guppies (eng. Guppy, or Poecilia Reticulata), proved that the predators after a short workout could discern the victim, slightly different in colour.
Low sensitivity to light does not prevent the pike, because, as we already know, they usually hunt from dawn to dusk.
But trout, in addition, that are better able to distinguish colors and the smallest details of potential victims, unlike people able to clearly see close and distant objects and to distinguish colors at different distances. This implies, as is well known to anglers that these fish are very strong opponents. While fishing should be carefully masked, as every careless movement on the shore usually eliminates a good catch at this place.
Simple experiments based on training shows that fish quite quickly learn to distinguish between basic geometric shapes. In addition, the predators were interested in some graphical patterns. It was two concentric elements of contrasting colours. The greatest activity and even aggression was caused by a pattern consisting of two concentric circles, with the inner had to be darker than the outside. Of course, this is a typical graphical symbol of an eye!
It turned out that at the last moment before the attack the predators «aim for» the eye of a potential victim. It is usually connected with a small «correction» of the direction of attack in the direction of the eyes. In other words, the predator predicts that at the last moment the victim will move towards the side on which the eyes. Some fish nature has to trick his pursuers, and created a dark stain, as if «more eyes» on the flanks or on the tail. So the application of artificial lures big eyes has its own rationale. But, of course, fish are active at night, for example, catfish do not have such capabilities.
So does it make sense to devote so much time and attention to the colors and patterns of our lures
When things get gray?
Great importance, of course, has the maximum light intensity at the time of fishing. On a cloudy day the colors much faster than in the sun. At dusk, when the light intensity is reduced, the eyes of fish to rebuild and begin to see the sticks. At this time, colors are perceived as weak shades of black and white. To attract the attention of a predator, it is necessary to use a color that will contrast with the surface of the water. Therefore, when fishing in clear water, red colour is best choice.
Six years ago my friend was fishing for pike in the Swedish archipelago of the Baltic sea. The day was beautiful and Sunny. The fish were eating well, and in the crystal clear water the attack was seen very well. Predators from afar attacked our baits. The friend was learning to catch a Slider, and changing lures often. As a result, at the end of the day on my account was much more caught fish. Before the evening we decided to stop at a small Bay located between three small Islands covered with tall pines. Pike was here. For a short period of time, I pulled out three fish weighing 2-3 kg. and before that, I was fishing with a Salmo Slider Real Perch colour.
When the sun hid behind the horizon, the bite stopped. My buddy decided to try to catch a red Slider (the Red Tiger). In conditions of dusk, only the color was visible from far away and allowed to observe the work of the lure. I probably would never have believed that happened if I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes. In the next 15 minutes my friend pulled seven beautiful pike weighing about five pounds each! Meanwhile, I’m trying to catch on the same bait in natural color, not noticed even a hint of attack!
Fish hunting in low light conditions — at night, in murky water, at great depth, adapt to this in different ways. The Zander has two types of cones. Large are responsible for yellow and orange, and see a little green. The effectiveness of these colors can confirm everyone who was fishing for walleye. In addition, the cones in this predator especially large. Because of this, they are the object of research of physiologists interested in the process of seeing, not only in fish. An additional upgrade of the Zander’s eyesight is lining the inside of the eyeball, a layer of reflective guanine. Because of this, it passes twice through the cones, strengthening at the same time passing into the brain signal.
That’s why Zander’s eyes Shine with a silvery sheen, even the faintest light. Similarly, there are the eyes of some mammals that hunt at night. Due to this structure, eyes, Zander’s eyesight is unbelievably sensitive. See very well even in cases when other fish, not to mention the people who see absolutely nothing! Anglers should remember that in relation to this predator, you should pay attention to the smallest details of the lure, and the best color combination is yellow-green.
A pioneer in the study of vision of fish is Professor Dwight Burghardt (Dwight Burkhardt) from the University of Minnesota. Studies of the retina of the walleye, which he began more than 30 years ago, has also increased our knowledge about the process of seeing in humans. Investigated the current generated in the cones under light stimuli. Cones perch, although very large, have a diameter five times smaller than a human hair. In order not to disrupt their normal functions, have been used electrodes with a diameter of 0.0001 mm!
Quite differently arranged retina soma — it has no cones. She set consisting solely of sticks that leads to that bright light som sees as white, and the lack of lighting of the eyes of soma records, as all shades of gray. Soma vision compared to the human eye is much more sensitive to low levels of light. A dark, cloudy night som see very well what people to consider when the moon is full! Of course, all anglers know that vision is the main sense of this predator. They live very often in murky and dark waters, and are mostly nocturnal. While hunting the predator, except for the side lines, mainly uses hearing and smell. Accordingly, it attract all sorts of scented attractants as well as the sounds. Using a noisy lure — rattling Wobbler or lapping on the surface Popper, and Kwok has its own rationale.
However, this does not mean that the color of the baits for catfish does not matter. An excellent choice in this case is a fluorescent paint, glowing in the dark. The most distinguishable in the dark dye is the one that glows green. In normal light bait, such color is grey-pink and looks very unattractive. So often disregarded by anglers. Today there are a large number of modern dyes of this kind. Only a few seconds to Shine a lantern on a lure painted with a paint to give the stored energy at least within the hour. Besides green, there were dyes in other colors — blue, red, pink and yellow. It is recommended in this case to use several colors to obtain a contrasting combination, for example, green-red pattern.
Among the «special» dyes, the best known and most popular are fluorescent. It has long been known that the use of these colors significantly increases the effectiveness of artificial lures, and one of the best-selling colors of a crankbait, for example, is the so-called Green Tiger, also known as Fire Tiger.
However, do we know where does this Mystery fluorescence?
Under normal lighting fluorescent dye different from the usual lighter shades. The features they acquire when exposed to a light with shorter wavelength, particularly ultraviolet radiation. To us they seem very bright, as if glowing themselves. Under water their range of action is much more than the other colors. We already know that at the boundary of light and darkness is only active the longest wave, that is, ultraviolet. The obvious conclusion: for lures designed for fishing at great depths, use the dye «fluo». Studies in lakes with clear water showed that some fluorescent colors such as yellow and pink, were perfectly visible at the depth of 40 meters!
As we already know, the conditions of weak illumination is not limited to deep water. Morning and evening dawns, most with slightly overcast, rain and waves, and murky water greatly reduce the amount of light with which the predator sees the bait. Therefore, it is recommended to experiment with these colours when others «turn grey».
I’ll never forget one evening on the lake of the Woods in Canada. Everyone in our group scored then a great mask, and the famous American angler Jim Moinat (Jim Moynagh) a few hours earlier caught a good instance of a long 125 cm So when, after dinner, most of our campaign went to the bar for a beer to share their experiences, I together with his partner and Jim went to the lake to catch another couple of hours before dusk. We were fishing with the lure that was most effective in this day Salmo Skinner 15 cm colors RGS. In the first hour, nothing happened. The sky was overcast, and very quickly dusk fell. I decided to change the colour to Green Tiger. In the next hour I had four attacks and I was able to pull two fish, including a record of my masks with a length of 131 cm At the same time, the colleagues who were caught in the RGS color, never took the bait! Color GT in the dusk and in the dark water of the lake was right in my wheelhouse.
On clear, Sunny days and at night when the light is virtually absent, the use of fluorescent colours has not the slightest sense.
In addition, studies have shown that colors, which are best seen from a great distance under water, it is yellow and fluorescent green. It happens this way because often the water in the reservoir is yellow-green and fluo colours have a slightly longer wavelength than «normal». Anglers ‘ observations show that in the conditions of intensive feeding predators lure fluorescent colors yield to the lures of a natural colour.
Thus, it is possible to draw the following practical conclusion: to lure the predator from far away, you should choose bait color fluo. What, however, should be done to the predator, primeneniy way, for example, a yellow fluorescent color, seeing the bait up close, you want to attack? The simplest solution would be to use a natural pattern on the body of the fluorescent lures. Therefore, the color Hot Perch is the record, regardless of the reservoir in which it is applied.
But do we know the reasons why fluorescent colors affect predators? It is very difficult to find natural prey in such colours. The explanation of this phenomenon may be the imperfection of human vision. As I mentioned earlier, people see a lot less colors than predators. The fluorescent dye is in the blood of vertebrates. This fact is used, for example, in forensics to discover remote spots of blood with the help of UV lamps. It has long been known that predators are very sensitive to traces of blood in their environment. It is possible that they notice it not only by the smell? There is a theory that this is a magnetic effect of fluorescence.
In conclusion it should be stated that the color of the lure used, no doubt, has significance. It is also important in cases when we’ve not even very picky in this respect, fish or those who do not distinguish colors. A few conclusions that I hope will help you to choose the right bait and will help you, dear colleagues, to improve your catches!
The key to success is the ability of the bait to attract the attention of a predator. For a predator to notice the bait from a distance, a more important factor than its color, is that the lure differed from the environment, i.e., contrast.
Most predators, hunting, watching the surface of the water. It is often important how the colour contrast on this background. To increase the contrast helps the combination of contrasting colors — black and white, yellow and black, red and white.
Increase the contrast of your lure in murky water and decrease it, using lures with natural colors in clear water. Don’t forget about the black color, which is probably the most contrasting colors, regardless of the conditions.
For night fishing is to use lures painted with luminescent dyes, i.e. accumulate light (e.g. from a flashlight) becomes visible at any depth.
And finally, the last and most important conclusion. Remember that the most important factor influencing the effectiveness of the lure is not her color, and the right presentation, that is, simply speaking, your theoretical knowledge and practical skills!