50 shades of prey

New research casts doubt on the importance of lure colour

Here is something that I guarantee is going to spark some friendly debate.  Recent research from Carleton University's Institute of Environmental Science has confirmed what I, and many others have been saying for years.  That is that the colour of your bait or lure matters little to your overall fishing success. 

Indeed, I've always maintained that in the total scheme of things, the colour of your lure is way down the list of things that you need to worry about.  Certainly, much less important than the depth you're presenting your bait, the speed you're moving it, and its size, shape, profile and vibration.  In fact, only after you have sorted out all of these other details does the colour of your lure even enter the picture.  And then, only as a fine tuning element of your presentation


But get this: the authors of the new research, Andrew Moraga, Alexander Wilson and renown bass biologist Dr. Steven Cooke suggest that even I have been exaggerating the importance of colour.  

According to the research they conducted at the Queen's University Biological Station on Lake Opinicon in the Rideau Lakes region of southeastern Ontario, the colour of the your lure doesn't influence your success one iota. 

Wow - you'd better re-read that last sentence again! 

Fishing under strictly controlled conditions, using identical gear and for the same lengths of time, the researchers presented six different coloured Senko-style soft plastic stick worms, the lure many anglers consider to be the universal largemouth bass bait.  And they hooked as many fish using orange and yellow coloured Senkos - hues that few self-respecting bass anglers would ever pitch, flip or toss - as they did black and blue coloured worms, the colours every bass angler knows are the best.


Interestingly, too, when the researchers examined where and how deeply the bass were hooked using the different coloured worms - indications of which colours the bass had preferred - there was no statistical difference.  

Here is how the researchers summed up their findings: "A total of 120 largemouth bass were captured on Lake Opinicon for analysis.  The data suggests that lure colour, when lure type is standardized, does not influence CPUE (catch-per-unit-effort), hooking depth or hooking location.  Interestingly, even lures that represent colours that are not "normally" found on prey items in Lake Opinicon (e.g. Pink, Orange), CPUE and hooking depth are similar among lure colours. 

"Although there are numerous factors that influence CPUE and hooking injury, interestingly lure colour does not appear to be an important factor. 

"Based on our findings, lure colour is more a function of individual angler preference and should be of little consequence to fisheries management." 

Now, let me take a step back, and remember, don't shoot the messenger. 


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