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"The Bass Fishing colour theory"  Rate Topic 
 
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 Posted: Tue Sep 7th, 2010 06:41 am
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Herman Nel
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Hi Guys!

I see a bit of an article I did for an other bass fishing site got published elsewhere on sealine, so I thought, let me put up the whole thing instead, enjoy!

THE COLOUR THEORY

As light travels down through the water, colours are filtered out. The following chart shows the depths where each colour disappears in clear water. For more information on colour visibility in water, including which colours are visible to fish, read below.




Colour visibility under water


What is Colour Theory?
In a nutshell, colour theory is the "science" behind mixing and using colours. Understanding colour theory will help you combine colours and then use those colours in combinations that are appealing to fish (and fishermen). When we talk about combining colours, we mean using multiple colours on a lure. When we talk about mixing colours, we mean the physical blending together of colours to create a new colour.


Combining Colours
The foundation of colour theory is the "colour wheel" - many of you will remember this from your primary school art classes. The colour wheel is a tool used to show the results of mixing together different colours.


The Colour Wheel
The wheel consists of "primary" colours (P), "secondary" colours (S), and "intermediate" colours (I). The primary colours (red, blue, yellow) are the building blocks for all other colours (Figure 1). You cannot create a primary colour by mixing other colours together, but you CAN create other colors by mixing the primary colors together. When you mix two primary colours together, you get a "secondary" colour (Figure 2). The colour that results from mixing two primary colours together is shown in the colour wheel. For instance, orange is between red and yellow because that is the colour you get when you mix red with yellow.
In addition to primary and secondary colours, there are also other colours known as "intermediate" colours (Figure 3). To create an intermediate colour, you mix a primary colour with a secondary colour. For instance, to make pink, you mix orange and red.




Neutral Colours
There are three neutral colours: white, black, and gray (note: brown is occasionally included as a neutral colour). These neutral colours are created by mixing together equal parts of red, blue and yellow (the primary colours) and then lightening it as needed with white.


Tints, Shades, and Tones
"Tint" is a fancy way of saying "make the colour lighter". "Shade" is a fancy way of saying "make the colour darker". "Tone" is a fancy way of saying "make the colour a little more subdued". You can create thousands of new colours by making a colour lighter, darker, or more subdued. To tint a colour, you add white to it. The more white you add to the colour, the lighter the tint. To shade a colour, you add black to it. The more black you add to the colour, the darker the shade. To tone down a colour, you add gray to it. The more gray you add, the more subdued the colour becomes.




 


Colour Schemes

Now that you understand how the colours on a colour wheel work, you can use the colour wheel to figure out which colours look good together. There are many ways to do this, and many different colour scheme approaches.


Monochromatic Colour Scheme

In this colour scheme, all of the colours on the lure are made by tinting or shading a single colour. Here is an example of a monochromatic colour scheme on a lure (see greenish lure below). Notice that the entire lure is painted using versions of green. To create this type of lure finish, all you need is green, black, and white. Using different ratios of white to green or black to green will give you all of the colour variations you need for the lure.



Complementary Colour Scheme

In this scheme, all of the colours used are opposites on the colour wheel. A sample lure painted with complementary colours (purple and yellow) is shown in the image below. You'll probably notice that this colour scheme tends to stand out more than the monochromatic coloured lure. This is typical of lures painted in this fashion - people notice them (and so do fish!). The human eye tends to be drawn to items that contain complementary colours. Keep this mind when you're designing fishing lures to sell to the public; if a monochromatic lure is sitting on the shelf next to a complementary coloured lure, the fishermen is more likely to buy the lure with complementary colours (assuming the paint job is good of course!).



Analogous Colour Scheme

Last, but not least, we have the analogous colour scheme. In this approach to selecting colours, you choose 3 to 5 colours that are adjacent to each other on the colour wheel. The most famous analogous colour scheme used on fishing lures is the classic "firetiger" pattern consisting of bright green, yellow, and orange. There is rumors that lures with this sort of colour scheme tend to land more fish. Another good example is the “silver plated clown ( also known as clown ) with a red head, chartreuse back and silver underbelly. That would make sense because most sportfish cannot see all of the colours in the colour wheel. By using this colour scheme, chances are you'll include a colour that the fish can see and recognize - increasing the chances of attraction.



Choosing Colours that Catch Fish
Different Fish See Different Colours

In order to see colour, a fish needs to have at least two cone cell types in its eyes. Bottom-dwelling fish (i.e. catfish or barbel) have only one type of cone cell so they see everything in shades of gray - they can determine an object's brightness, but not its color. Remember the barbel can “see” with its whiskers…

Many shallow water surface-fish (i.e. trout, minnows, carp , yellowfish) have four cone cell types, allowing them to see all colours, including the hidden ones in the ultraviolet spectrum. Other fish such as the bluegill and the bass have two cone cell types, limiting their color distinctions to black, browns, greens and reds (and possibly yellows for the bass). Although most of these fish can discriminate between very fine shades of the colors they can see, this ability has no effect on what they select for food - recent tests have shown that, all other things being equal, the shade/tint of the color (bright red vs dark red) doesn't influence a fish's willingness to attack bait.

Unfortunately, there is no chart explaining the colour viewing capabilities for each species of fish. With this is mind, it is best to make color selections based on color contrast rather than actual colours. For instance, pick a lure with two colours that would appear differently, regardless of their actual colour. Here is an example of how a some fish might see a blue and red lure - notice the colour contrast exists in all three views:



Colour Filtration in Water

Water filters light. And since all color is actually colored light, water will filter colors. Certain colors cannot be seen below certain depths because light is broken apart when it hits the water and certain wavelengths (colors) are filtered out. The severity of this filter depends on the clarity of the water, wind conditions, time of day and lure depth; dirty water, high winds, deep water, and evening hours mean fewer colors. To understand these effects, we must first understand the relationship between light and water.

The colors of the spectrum (the colors of light) are Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, and Violet. A mixture of all of these colors produces white. If an angler were to stand in the center of a very deep lake and shine a bright light into it, the colors within the light beam would gradually disappear as it traveled toward the bottom. At 10 feet, red is almost gone, orange is disappearing, and yellow is starting to fade away. At 35 feet, orange is gone, and yellow is quickly disappearing. At 75 feet, yellow looks greenish-blue and the only visible colors are blue, indigo and violet. As we pass 150 feet, blue and indigo are hard to see and violet is disappearing. At a few hundred feet, ultraviolet is the only color left, and it is not visible to the human eye anyway.




Neon colors, however, do not disappear when the spectrum colors do. This is because they "fluoresce", meaning that they glow when hit by ultraviolet light. We have heard reports of brightly visible fluorescent pink and yellow colors at depths of 125 feet and deeper!

Keep in mind, however, that these water color filtration rates assume that the water is crystal clear. Pollutants, sediment, and wind can drastically affect these numbers by rearranging the filtration order and decreasing the overall depths of all colors.



Under these circumstances, red-orange seems to be the most visible, assuming that your lure depth is not greater than 20 feet. That said, here are some tips from anglers on how to pick lure color:


  • Super Clear: White or clear. Use glitter for color. All colors are visible to 10 feet.
  • Clear Water: Blue is most visible. White is visible. All colors are slightly visible to 10 feet.
  • Green Water: Green is most visible.
  • Stained Water: Orange, green, and chartreuse are most visible. Red is slightly visible.
  • Muddy Water: Red is most visible.

Here are some additional suggestions to help with low light (first light until sunrise), medium light (sunup until the sun reaches 20 degrees to the horizon), and high light (from 20 degrees to the opposite horizon) conditions:
  • Low Light: Blue, purple or black work best. Use with silver flash.
  • Medium Light: Red and orange work best.
  • High Light: Brown or gray work best. Use with fluorescent accents.
NOTE: When the light level falls below 0.1 foot candle (clear night, no moon), all colors become just shades of gray and cannot be seen by the fish.

 

According to me Bass will still be able to "see" in the dark either with their eyes or lateral line or a combo of the 2.

A good example here is a trip to a Smallie venue a few years back, it was on the 1st of September 2006.
I arrived at the dam at 12:00, we got on the water by about 12:30 first fish was caught at about 12:45 by buddy Chris Pienaar, a small smallie but note the lure colour and type - a rattle trap in FIRE TIGER.

He then caught 3 more before my head came right and I switched to a Catchit crank in FIRE TIGER. Fish on from the first cast. I caught over 20 smallies (and lost a few too) it became dark and we said ok just one more cast, fish on , ok one more cast again, and so it continued up to 19:30, we decided to leave due to safety reasons, but I am sure we would have caught them untill sunrise!

So here is the interesting bit, when it became dark Chris switched to a tiny torpedo surface lure in a frog pattern, I was still nailing them on my crankbait that dives a few feet in FIRE TIGER 5 to 1, I really kicked my buddies butt here! My total was 46 smallies to his 22! If he had stuck to his lipless crankbait in FIRE TIGER I think we would have been equal, as we were up to sunset when he changed lures!

So the bottom line, if something works, stick to it untill it stops producing, in this case dont switch to a surface bait just because the books says you have to fish surface after dark or at sunrise ( altough I do it myself and do not condem it! )

The FIRE TIGER colour obviously could be seen by the fish after dark, looking at pics of bass taken at night ( and most fish for that case ) you will note the way the eyes reflect different to ours, that is the way the eyes of animals enable them to see at night, it reflects the light back enabling them to see in the dark ( if I am not mistaken )


Here is some info regarding that "eye shine' that animals and fish have:

Dogs have eyeshine, humans do not


The tapetum lucidum (Latin: "bright tapestry", plural tapeta lucida)[1] is a layer of tissue in the eye of many vertebrate animals, that lies immediately behind or sometimes within the retina. It reflects visible light back through the retina, increasing the light available to the photoreceptors. This improves vision in low-light conditions, but can cause the perceived image to be blurry from the interference of the reflected light.[citation needed] The tapetum lucidum contributes to the superior night vision of some animals. Many of these animals are nocturnal, especially carnivores that hunt their prey at night, while others are deep sea animals. Although strepsirrhine primates have a tapetum lucidum, humans and other haplorhine primates do not.




In darkness, eyeshine reveals this raccoon


Eyeshine is a visible effect of the tapetum lucidum. When a light is shone into the eye of an animal having a tapetum lucidum, the pupil appears to glow. Eyeshine can be seen in many animals, in nature and in flash photographs. In low light, a hand-held flashlight is sufficient to produce eyeshine that is highly visible to humans (despite our inferior night vision); this technique, spotlighting, is used by naturalists and hunters to search for animals at night. Eyeshine occurs in a wide variety of colors including white, blue, green, yellow, pink and red. However, because eyeshine is a form of iridescence, the color varies slightly with the angle at which it is seen and the color of the source light.
White eyeshine occurs in many fish, especially walleye; blue eyeshine occurs in many mammals such as horses; yellow eyeshine occurs in mammals such as cats, dogs, and raccoons; and red eyeshine occurs in rodents, opossums and birds.[citation needed]
The human eye has no tapetum lucidum, hence no eyeshine. However, in humans and animals two effects can occur that may resemble eyeshine: leukocoria (white shine, indicative of abnormalities including cataracts, cancers, and other problems) and red-eye effect.


As I quoted an US angler on another site recently, " does a dog mind if the frisbee is pink or green or blue? Not really, it wants the frisbee regardless of the colour..." I agree, bass fit this description too sometimes and I also suspect that if you drop a bait in front of a bass's nose, it will strike regardless of the colour, call it a reaction strike, but at times they do prefer a certain colour above other colours when out "hunting"........eish!




Interesting stuff hey!

Attachment: smallmouth bass 009.jpg (Downloaded 200 times)

Last edited on Tue Sep 7th, 2010 06:46 am by Herman Nel

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 Posted: Tue Sep 7th, 2010 07:02 am
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Marthin
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Mana: 
bass definately have eyeshine....

We were camping at a spot near Grabouw... they have 2 irrigation dams that has crystal clear water like a swimming pool.... that night i went down with strong torch, and the bass definately have eyeshine!!!

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 Posted: Tue Sep 7th, 2010 10:48 am
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MRA1001
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Thanks Herman for the excellent article..... Just another factor to keep in mind while out on the boat!:kaykak

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 Posted: Tue Sep 7th, 2010 02:51 pm
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Jake1
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Mana: 
Herman I got the article from an international luremaking website, did you write it for them?

Jake1

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 Posted: Wed Sep 8th, 2010 08:01 am
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Herman Nel
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Mana: 
Nope, I wrote it for Bassing.co.za after doing some research on the internet, was a while back.

http://www.bassing.co.za/bassingforum/articles-members/3650-bass-fishing-colour-theory-post49486.html

 

I will try to see if I can locate the site where I got it from, maybe it was the same site?

Greetings

Herman

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 Posted: Wed Sep 8th, 2010 08:19 am
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Nam-fish
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Hallo Herman,

Love this scientific articles!

Thanx man

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 Posted: Wed Sep 8th, 2010 08:46 am
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popperdotcom
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very interesting info thanks

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 Posted: Wed Sep 8th, 2010 09:04 pm
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Jake1
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Mana: 
OK I thought you meant you wrote the article, but yes I see you only copied and pasted it like I did.

There is so many interesting articles on the net, but the problem is it takes a lot of time to find it, I would recommend anyone to copy and paste or give a link to interesting/applicable articles, maybe someone else will find it interesting as well.

Jake1

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 Posted: Thu Sep 9th, 2010 06:30 am
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Herman Nel
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Mana: 
I copied the most important parts, altered it a bit , and combined it with some more info from wikipedia and a fishing trip I did a while back for Smallmouth bass.

"OK I thought you meant you wrote the article, but yes I see you only copied and pasted it like I did." ...is thus not exactly what I did...

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 Posted: Thu Sep 9th, 2010 10:30 pm
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Jake1
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Mana: 
No problemo Herman!

Eish, 6,77kg PB bass Herman, that must have been realy nice, always happens when you expect it the least. What a great catch.

Jake1

 

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 Posted: Mon Sep 13th, 2010 12:08 pm
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100% African
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Mana: 
Another interesting read Herman. Thanks.

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