I have a burning question that I can't seem to find the answer to. I always thought that fish were colorblind, but with all of the different colored lures, worms, poppers, etc., they must not be. I have seen conflicting reports on the subject. Does anyone know for sure?
No one truly knows for sure. either way is only speculation. But, each color would have a certain contrast patter even if it was rendered in black and white. The main thing is pick a color that shows up in the conditions you are fishing and fish it enough to get confident with it. Or pick colors that are already touted as top producers for your area and do the same with that. What is really important is to fish them confidently expecting a strike to happen at any moment and to be fishing them in areas with fish. Have to,... have to be in fish for any color to work. We've all seen a variable of results from fishing... many times each person in the boat has a different color, and there are those rare times when that's the one color they won't. If you truly believe they can't see color I think it would be perfectly fine to fish with black on dark days and white on bright days. Add a little sparkle for some flash.. voila! Just make sure you're casting it in fish and not empty water.
I'm convinced they key-in on size, shape, and especially specific movements rather than color. For example, if a species is keyed-in on a certain bait, I think its more critical to mimic the size, shape, and movement of that bait rather the color (although matching the color will certainly be beneficial). For example, redfish often key-in on very small minnows. You will see them pushing schools of the minnows up against shorelines and aggressively feeding on them. You can chunk average size lures at them 'til your arm falls off and they will ignore it, even if its the same color as the minnows. This happens a lot with shrimp too. They will key-in on tiny shrimp and ignore bigger offerings. I've caught tons of reds on tiny bonefish flies after they have ignored larger patterns. I change lure/fly sizes more than I do color.
I guess, bottom line, nobody knows for sure. I'm pretty sure, the folks that make the lures will tell you that color matters. I grew up in Montana fishing the streams, and made my own flies as a kid. I never really gave it too much thought until now. But, looking back, it did seem that the presentation was what was important, and not so much the color. Thank you guys for your input, all useful information.
I've seen both over and over and over.. but mostly where we were all using different colors. Yes, on rare occasions it just seemed like they wanted one thing, but most of the time I've caught them next to other guys that were also catching them and all 4 guys had different colors. Presentation is definitely important.. usually the guy with the 'right' color is actually just making a better presentation. Maybe he has a lighter jighead or making the lure be more eratic and that's what they wanted etc.
Don't get me wrong.. catching fish on favorite colors is confidence building as well. And it's that confidence that will also help make a better presentation, be more prepared, on point, and ready when that fish hits. You'll pay more attention to where the bait is and how fast one is working it too. So yes, I have numerous 'colors' that I like for certain bays and there is nothing wrong with that. At a minimum select 2 light colors and 2 dark colors and start there. When I run out of those I have no problem switching to some other color an keep throwing them in the fish.