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The lure colours have changed this year

Printed From: The Fishing Website
Category: Saltwater Fishing
Forum Name: Soft Bait Fishing
Forum Description: Anything to do with this latest and greatest way of catching our favourite species
Printed Date: 19 May 2024 at 8:34am

Topic: The lure colours have changed this year
Posted By: Kandrew
Subject: The lure colours have changed this year
Date Posted: 25 Feb 2024 at 5:50pm
Hey guys for the last year’s orange and brown have been the colour I’ve had the best results with, especially when fishing micro jigs. This is why I have a tackle bag full of that colour.

Spring came along and the fish didn’t want to know orange so I changed to pink for jigs and the tried and tested nuclear chicken soft bait with some success.

Down in the bottom of the firth over Christmas orange micro jigs worked great but coming back and fishing the outer gulf, orange hasn’t been working so good. Last weekend out to the 50 metre mark the orange slider wasn’t looked at so I changed over to pink and landed a nice fish around 48cm on the first drop but then nothing so we headed bank into tiri.

Again orange wasn’t getting any takers so I tied on a silver jig and started to pull in fish but no keepers.

What colours are working for you guys either in jigs or soft baits.

The water in the gulf is way from being clear so I’m wondering if that’s the problem, may need a colour that stands out better?


Posted By: Pcj
Date Posted: 25 Feb 2024 at 6:18pm
SB nuclear chicken seems to be holding up but then when you get not takers on mullet gut,no fish,not hungry?Small fish covering most areas at the moment.Where we had no issues getting 35/38 in shallows 15yrs ago only getting 27/28s

"Times up"

Posted By: MB
Date Posted: 25 Feb 2024 at 7:30pm
All my jigs are orange, so guess I'm in trouble LOL

Posted By: Kandrew
Date Posted: 25 Feb 2024 at 7:35pm
Yes it’s a crazy season

Posted By: waynorth
Date Posted: 25 Feb 2024 at 8:13pm
Snapper love yellow. Hard to beat e bruised banana or new penny

treat fish like fish

Posted By: Kandrew
Date Posted: 25 Feb 2024 at 8:29pm
Originally posted by waynorth waynorth wrote:

Snapper love yellow. Hard to beat e bruised banana or new penny

yeah agree my go to colours for soft baits but even they haven’t been as productive as normal, might be just a hard time of the year

Posted By: The Tamure Kid
Date Posted: 03 Mar 2024 at 12:34pm
Great post, Kerry. Here are my thoughts, on a crappy, rainy Sunday when I'd much rather be out fishing.

I'm a sucker for new 'must have' lure colours, always searching for the absolute secret weapon. I've read and collected lots of articles on colour, including the stuff about what fish see at depth (i.e. our orange at 50m deep isn't orange to our eyes, but who knows what the fish see).
Obviously orange/red colours exist in nature with fish - gurnard, snapper etc. But they tend to be blended with silvers, or in some cases, camouflage spots, stripes etc that are designed to deceive eyes. As we know, snapper over sand tend to be lighter in colour than those in the rocky shallows.

I'm fascinated by the supposed properties of UV and lumo (glow in the dark), which some lures have, including your jigs with lumo stripes. Nuclear Chicken softbaits (in Gulp and Z Man) both glow a lot under a blue/UV torch. And they also have a quite distinct two-tone effect, which I've seen some experts say is more effective than straight colours - maybe because most fish or prawns or crabs are not of uniform colours.

I know orange is an absolute favourite of Far North snapper charter legend Rob Parker - but in the 40m depths of Great Exhibition Bay, where his clients get most of the huge snaps he puts them on to, bright orange softbaits wouldn't be bright orange. They'd just be a shade of grey.
But because you'd be daft to ignore his success, I went with orange up there, and the only two 20lb+ snapper, and one lost that was well over but got sharked, I've caught to date were on Atomic Sunrise (2) and Coral Trout (1). I got big fish on other colours, but not the donkeys. Coincidence?

Obviously your 5m deep spots in the Firth, orange would be orange if the water is clear-ish. 
But does it matter if the lure is bright UV orange with gold flecks (Atomic Sunrise) or with blue glitter (Coral Trout)??

Red (which is one of two Nuclear Chicken colours) disappears first in the colour spectrum.

Has the rise of orange coincided with the prevalence of introduced pest prawns/shrimps?

Then there are the other factors with lures of movement, shape and scent (the latter not being a factor for your jigs, but obviously a potential factor with softbaits). In some situations - such as anchovy season - it seems sensible to choose a lure that looks (in shape and colour) like the prey the fish are keyed in on, and a lure that flutters like an injured bait fish.

But if blind fishing - e.g. in wash or over sand when sign has been located - I think most of us naturally usually start with a colour that's worked for us before, and that bias means we never really get to do scientifically sound research into colour effectiveness.
The Z Man colour Electric Chicken (light limey green and light pink) is loved by some people overseas (Aust, and US) but I don't know of anyone who puts it on first as their go to.

If you ask 20 good anglers what their favourite colours are, there would be a lot of correlation, I think. Oranges, pinks, motor oil, yellow/brown, coppery/new penny, and natural baitfish.

We all know the saying about chartreuse, but it's hard to see a correlation in nature - UNLESS what fish see in the stripe of, say, a jack mackerel, herring, or koheru - is actually very close to chartreuse 10m down in dappled UV and refractive light?
I watched a vid with a top Whangaparaoa angler saying Bruised Banana looks like the jack macks the big snapper feed on, but I thought "what a load of crap". They look nothing like a jack mack, but the magic of the yellow and brown (grey at depth) is inescapable.

Outside of snorkelling in the tropics, I've never seen a small fish that's orange with white/lumo stripes, like your favourite micro jigs.

I've got an excellent salt water fly tying book from a guy based in Florida who has done a lot of research and photography into what squid, bait fish etc look like underwater - particularly when alarmed. He observed squid often flashing a fluoro pink/orange stripe when alarmed, and he incorporates a narrow fluoro pink stripe in his flies. He also mentions how bait fish are often almost invisible except for their black/silver eyes. Which is why he emphasises those - and why I like to use jig heads with visible eyes if I can. 
Bait fish often put off myriad colours - pinks, gold etc, from their silver sides, depending on the colour of the sky and the tint of the sun (pinkish or golden at dawn).

I recently saw a video on spearfisho Ollie Craig's YouTube channel, where he used throw flashers - basically plastic tubes covered in reflective silver tape - that spin and wriggle as they sank. Fish came charging in from all directions - triggered by the vibration and flash of presumably distressed fish = food. I thought, man, how could I use those in the boat - dropped on a handline while I fish?

Some people believe fish grab lures more out of curiosity, or territorial behaviour, or to kill off another fish's offspring during spawning, than because they think they are a prawn, crab or bully.

When I noticed a couple of really nice snaps I caught in the Tamaki Strait had been feeding on small flounder, I got some perfect softbait imitations from the US - olive brown backs, cream bellies, you'd mistake them for the real thing. I put them on next time I went out, thinking I'd discovered the equivalent of splitting the atom. But I didn't get a bite. Maybe they just looked like rubber blobs to the fish - not behaving anything like the real thing.

In the end, what I do is go with what I'm confident with, as I hate fishing without confidence. 

One day, when I reach some kind of jedi maturity, I might try an experiment of switching lure colours every 10 minutes (god knows, I've got enough in my lure box to do that for a couple of days on end!) but I've got a way to go before I get to that point LOL 

Posted By: MB
Date Posted: 03 Mar 2024 at 12:55pm
Good post TKK. I've long thought that the reason that orange/red lures are so successful is because these colours are the first to disappear underwater.

I remember a winter's day slow jigging out of Tutukaka in 40-50 metres. It was overcast and the water looked black. My mate was catching fish after fish on black jigs. Didn't make any sense to me. In retrospect, I wonder if the fish could sense something was there via their lateral line and were snapping at it without really seeing much. No scent was used.

Posted By: Kandrew
Date Posted: 03 Mar 2024 at 4:39pm
One big difference I see with this year as to last year is this year it’s been very bright with long full sun days, unlike last year’s mostly overcast days. As you say above Lester maybe the colours do look different this year.

Posted By: kaveman
Date Posted: 04 Mar 2024 at 7:05am
As the seasons change, so does the bait fish, with all the anchovies i  am hearing about in the Gulf, i would be using my Kaveman hornet in lumo/ silver colour, that jig is deadly when anchovy schools are here. The other one is the brown/ gold colour.
Early season(spring) pink seems the best but from late spring onwards, orange seems a better colour.
Just my 2c worth


Posted By: Kandrew
Date Posted: 04 Mar 2024 at 2:25pm
Originally posted by kaveman kaveman wrote:

As the seasons change, so does the bait fish, with all the anchovies i  am hearing about in the Gulf, i would be using my Kaveman hornet in lumo/ silver colour, that jig is deadly when anchovy schools are here. The other one is the brown/ gold colour.
Early season(spring) pink seems the best but from late spring onwards, orange seems a better colour.
Just my 2c worth

yep I was using silver lumo the other day when I was out caught a few fish on it, but last year I fished orange all the way through the season and caught plenty of fish.

This has been a crap season in the gulf this year.

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