Bass Fishing with Colorless Baits
The technology these days to create realistic looking fishing lures is pretty amazing, and the prices of fishing lures is equally astonishing. I was looking through a Bass Pro Shops catalog the other day, and there are pages after pages of lures painted with the most realistic patterns of baitfish I have ever seen. I even saw one lure that had the image of another baitfish painted on the sides of it to resemble two baitfish swimming together in a hologram-type of presentation. Amazing!
But I think sometimes we tend to overdo it when it comes to fishing, whether that is for bass or other game fish. Especially in clear water and heavily pressured waters, sometimes simple, or even plain, is better than the fancy painted lures. White, bone, or even transparent lures are sometimes the ones that will get you a fish on the end of your line when nothing else will, particularly on clear, calm days.
Biologists agree that bass rely on sight more than any of their other senses when feeding. They also agree that bass tend to develop preferred prey, and to a particular bass a painted lure might look as different to him as the real thing because of even the slightest differences in that lake’s particular baitfish population. Of course I know that most lures will work in most waters, even if they don’t match the baitfish exactly; bass have a predatory drive as well, so it’s not quite as delicate as matching the hatch when fly fishing for finicky trout on a high-pressure river.
But if you find yourself on a slow day of bass fishing in a clear, pressured lake, on a calm, clear day, you should have some very plain colored lures in your arsenal to throw at those wary bass. If you have ever fished a black top water bait at night, you know that what the bass is seeing is the profile of the lure, not colors. The same theory applies to using non-colored or transparent lures during the day; it is the profile of the bait, with light reflecting off of the profile of the lure that will entice a strike on bass that have already seen every lure in your box. A colorless lure also removes the chance that a bass will refuse your lure because it doesn’t look exactly like the baitfish it has been feeding on; he sees the profile and action of the lure, and his predatory senses are ignited to strike that lure.
I’m not saying that I am against the realistic looking lures that are available today; I use them all the time. But when I am not getting any strikes when I know there are fish in the area, I will use this technique on bass, walleye, pike, and muskie, and I have found it to be a productive alternative to the lures that look exactly like baitfish. This concept applies with all types of crankbaits and swimbaits, and it may be the difference between a mediocre day of fishing, and a spectacular day of fishing!
And if it was a bad day of fishing, some of the swimbaits on the market today are 12 inches long and look just like a real fish, so always keep a few of them in your tackle box for picture opportunities if you fail to catch any real fish. Just be sure to remove the hooks from the lures so the pictures look realistic.