I believe in “fudge” colors–those combinations (veins, stripes, heads or tails) of colors in soft plastic. When I’m not sure what elements are the real trigger, or what color the forage or what shows up best in a given water color–that’s when I don’t go all in on any single hue.
As “unscientific” as that may sound, anecdotal is still better than any science practiced where I fish. And while the boys at the Berkley labs tell us what bass can’t see, the fish I catch often argue vehemently. However, I know not all bass vision is color vision, and what they actually see or perceive can be a much broader issue at times.
From opaque silhouettes to translucent ghosts, there’s not much they miss, regardless of water clarity. It doesn’t matter the ratio, four times or 10 times better, bass vision trumps human sight. However, we have the edge in one regard. We can see what’s in our worm trays, and we can usually match something that has worked in the past and get a response today.
Yet there is one place scientists and bass fishermen all agree: a black bass is a sight feeder. So when a bait comes into the fish’s wheelhouse, it won’t be flailing wildly like some blindfolded kid hoping to hit a pinata. It will strike at the target.
But lure types don’t necessarily dictate the degree of motion. Thinking in terms of color [variations], in this case, Greg Hines, winner of the first U.S. Open, was the first I ever heard explain that the markings on a crankbait enhance the illusion of motion in the lure. An all white or all chartreuse lure, regardless of its side to side action, will not appear to move nearly as much as one with hash marks on its sides.
Whether they appear as flash cards or are otherwise kaleidoscopic, the vibrating qualities of the lure are reinforced by the lure’s color pattern.
But in fact, though more subtle, the same thing is in play with a two-color laminate such as with a Senko–especially when it’s freed-up to move via wacky rigging. You want to see the lure’s trademark “quiver” really shine, hook the bait through the heart of one color “side” or the other and watch it fall. The bait flits “dark and light,” gliding left or right depending on the balance point of your hook.
And that linear, two-tone pattern enhances the image of the lure movement, and offers a clear contrast to the background, giving the predator a reason to chase down the intruder. And because, as noted, bass vision is superior, even in stained water, the laminate versions may be working for you, even when you can’t see the difference.
Something to consider.
3 Responses to “Motion and illusion: pieces of the puzzle”
Thoughtful insights & useful nuggets. Nice fish too! Cheers.
Maybe that’s why so many of my jigs have multiple colors and flakes.
In addition, creating that illusion of motion also allows us to fish slow so that the fish doesn’t have to chase – IMHO.
Great insights George – thanks!