How critical is lure color when it comes to targeting inshore species? The answer…is not that simple, sometimes color plays a very minor role but most of the time it’s the difference between catching and just fishing. Here is my point if you are fishing low-light or targeting a species jack crevalle that are super aggressive or even frenzied at times then color doesn’t matter as much. But if you’re stalking wary shallow redfish with bright skies overhead, well then you better have the right color dialed in or you’ll be pretty frustrated.
Selecting the right lure color is one of the critical steps that separate the accomplished anglers from the average ones. You have to be willing to experiment and make color changes often to find what the fish react to best. I have spent time with many anglers who just want to use one or two lure colors and if the fish do not react well to their choice they assume the fish are not biting. Subtle color changes, believe it or not, can make a big difference once you find the base color the fish have tuned in on… here is how you find that color.
I always match the base lure color to the forage my quarry is currently focusing their efforts on -for example if that happens to be finger mullet maybe pearl white or if shrimp is on the menu maybe a natural color and if it’s “all you can eat crab” maybe watermelon or root beer would be a great base color. Keep in mind these are only base colors and sometimes the fish will follow the lure or even tip or bump on the offering yet still not eat them or behave aggressively! This is where refining color choice can make a huge difference. For example, instead of a pearl white for your finger mullet presentation maybe an olive or brown back with a white belly gets a better reaction bite, or instead of a natural color for your shrimp presentation maybe a clear gold flake that makes the bait look like it’s barely moving even when it’s sitting perfectly still, or instead of a root beer color for your crab pattern maybe a pumpkin body with orange claws that mimic a tasty fiddler crab. These subtle color changes are what the pros use to get two, three, or sometimes a dozen more bites a day.
So stop being average, and keep learning what the fish really want to eat and your catch rate will soar!