By Steve Graf
When it comes to soft plastic lures, one thing anglers will say is that “color does not matter.” But I’m going to give my perspective on why it does. For years both novice and professional bass fishermen have made a case for why the color of your bait doesn’t matter. They say it’s more about the presentation than it is the color of the bait itself. This may be true in some isolated cases, but if that’s true, then why do manufacturers make soft plastic worms in so many colors? Is it to catch fish or is it to catch anglers?
Today’s anglers are overwhelmed with color selection by many of the top name brands like Strike King, V&M, Gary Yamamoto, Zoom, and Reaction Innovation, just to name a few. Each of these manufacturers produce some of the best soft plastics ever made. But colors in the bass fishing world are not your standard red, blue or greens. They have very creative names like red bug, tequila sunrise, green pumpkin, watermelon and my personal favorite, black emerald. Bait companies are even more creative than the original box of 64 crayons when it comes to color options. You may remember this from your childhood days when Crayola crayons had names like Brick Red, Burnt Orange, Chestnut, and even Bittersweet. But today’s box of crayons might include Inchworm, Granny Smith Apple, Caribbean Green, Tropical Rainforest, or my personal favorite Permanent Geranium Lake. Who comes up with these names? How is a child or an angler today, suppose to understand or learn the different color pallets of this magnitude?
Well, bass fishermen new to the industry are in the same boat. How is an angler supposed to know the difference between crab apple or plum? Well crab apple, also known as red bug by some companies, are red worms with green flake. But back in the day when soft plastic baits were first invented by Nick Crème of Crème Lures, crab apple was the original red worm with green flake. By the way, it was at the Cleveland Sportsman’s Show in 1951 that Nick Crème introduced and sold over 9600 packs of soft plastic worms which jumpstarted the soft plastic industry. Today the king of soft plastics is a company by the name of Zoom, which started manufacturing soft plastic baits in 1977.
As you can see, the color pallets of the bass fishing world all depend on what company is producing the baits. But does color really matter when it comes to catching bass? I say yes, because I’ve seen days where you can throw red bugs and then switch to green pumpkin and start catching fish. Just like this past August, I was pre-fishing for a tournament on Sam Rayburn and was throwing one of my favorite V&M baits called a Baby Swamp Hog in watermelon/red with basically zero bites in the first three hours. I switched to Gleason Candy and it was like someone turned on a light switch. Making this change in color allowed me to finish in 2nd place in that event. I’m also of the opinion that if color doesn’t matter, then why do they make so many color options for anglers to choose from? Now I will admit that some colors are designed to catch anglers rather than fish, but in general, the array of color choices allows an angler to experiment and try something that maybe the bass have not seen.
So, the next time you’re in your favorite tackle store, make sure you know what color soft plastic you’re looking for. Know the difference between watermelon/red and green pumpkin with red flakes. If you’re not sure, ask someone to help you. Till next time, good luck, good fishing, and don’t forget to set the hook!