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How to Choose Lure Colors Through the Eyes of a Bass

Posted by: BassProShops1Source

No doubt about it – there are some crazy color names out there for fishing lures. Nuclear Chicken. Roadkill. Baby Puke. Discover the science behind how a bass sees color, and learn which colors yield better results.

Bass Lure Colors, Simplified

Scuppernong. Roadkill. Foxy Momma. Chaos. You won’t find these hues in a box of crayons, but you will find them on some of the best bass fishing luresAnd though they seem random—silly, even—there is very good reason for these freaky colors and wild color combinations to exist. Bass love ’em!

This is a brief guide to help you choose the right fishing lure color for your next trophy bucketmouth. The two main things you need to consider when choosing a color are A) the clarity of water, and B) the time and type of day.


There are some crazy names and colors for
bass fishing lures and there is a good reason,
Bass love ’em!

Here’s the solution—simplify your color theory with these 4 basic rules:

Rule 1: Use natural, light-colored lures for clear water/sunny days.

Bass have very keen vision—in fact, their eyes are very similar to ours, and they are able to see most of the same colors we can. In clearer water and on bright, sunny days, a lure in a natural color resembling the forage they’re feeding on will fool them into biting. In soft plastic baits, that means natural greens and browns and shad colors; for hardbaits, starting with a shad, bluegill, frog, or crawfish-patterned lure is a good choice, depending on the local menu.

Rule 2: Use very bright or very dark lures for dirty water/cloudy days.

In dark or muddy water and on overcast days, tie on a brightly colored lure to increase visibility, or use a very dark solid color to maximize profile visibility. A black and blue soft plastic is ideal; a white and chartreuse Glow Blade spinnerbait will also produce. For hard baits, bright chartreuse, green, or dark, solid-colored lures will perform well.

Rule 3: Local baitfish and native forage patterns are go-to colors.

A lure mimicking whatever baitfish populate your local waters is indispensable. Whether it’s gizzard shad, threadfin shad, golden shiner, or fathead minnows, bass want to eat them, and you can lure them in with chrome, silver, or shad-colored lures of various designs. Spinnerbaits with multiple blades work well to imitate small groups of baitfish.

Rule 4: Don’t be afraid to try something completely different.

So what about all those wacky-named colors, like green ***, puke, margarita mutilator, and methiolate? There is in fact a method to the madness. Experienced bass anglers know that presenting a completely new color to bass that aren’t biting can somehow turn them back on, though it’s far from settled science as to why.

If you look in a pro’s tackle box, you’ll see alongside the standard colors a few colors not seen in nature—hot pinks, blues, red chrome, and multi-colored lures—almost anything imaginable. Sometimes these unusual colors can be the key to success. A great example of this principle is the common lure color firetiger in Bass Pro Shops XPS Rattle Shad. You’ll rarely find a tackle box without at least one crankbait in this wild, un-natural color—a mix of neon green, chartreuse, hot orange, and black stripes, it certainly looks like nothing you’ll find on a bass’s menu. Yet it’s been a go-to color for decades, and produces bass as well as any naturally-colored lure.

The key to becoming a successful bass angler is to experiment with a variety of colors until you find what works best on your local waters. Start with colors that have produced for you in the past, or with colors recommended by locals, and then branch out. You’ll learn through trial and error, and you’ll eventually discover the right pattern that unlocks the bite.

Bass Pro Shops crankbait fire tiger

Tip: Read A Simple Guide to Choosing Lure Colors for Bass

Bass Pro Shops XPS Rattle Shad, Firetiger

Lures for Fishing in Clear Water:

Tip: Use natural, light colored lures for clear water or sunny days. Here are links to a few popular light colored fishing lure examples:

Strike King bleed spinnerbait
Strike King Bleeding Bait Spinnerbaits

Strike King Bleeding Bait Spinnerbaits

Rapala DT Series Crankbaits

Bass Pro Shops Stik-O Worm

Culprit Original Worms

Bass Pro Shops Lazer Eye Spinnerbaits Double Willow

STORM Deep Rattlin’ Flat Wart Crankbait

Strike King Coffee Tube Softbaits

BOOYAH Covert Series Spinnerbait Double Willow

Lures for Fishing Dark Water:

Tip: Use bright or black lures for dirty water or cloudy days. Here are links to a few popular lure examples that fit this rule:

Shop Bass Pro Shops river bug fishing lure
Bass Pro Shops River Bug

Bill Lewis Original Rat-L-Trap

Bass Pro Shops Tournament Series Squirmin’ Worm

Strike King KVD Night Spinnerbaits

Zoom® Brush Hog Softbaits

Bass Pro Shops Lazer Eye Tandem Spinnerbaits

STORM Original Wiggle Wart

Bass Pro Shops River Bug

Bass Pro Shops Lazer Eye Buzz Master Buzzbaits

Your Fishing Lure Go-To Colors:

Tip: Silver and baitfish patterns are go-to colors. For example, here are links to a few go-to lure color examples that fit this rule:

Bill Lewis Rat-L-Trap Magnum Force
Bill Lewis Rat-L-Trap Magnum Force
Tennessee Shad

Bill Lewis Original Rat-L-Trap Magnum Force

Bass Pro Shops Shadee Shad

Strike King KVD Painted Blade Spinnerbaits

Smithwick Suspending Rattlin’ Rogue

STORM Wildeye Live Shiner

Terminator S-1 Super Stainless Tandem Spinnerbait

Rapala Glass Shad Rap Hardbaits

Zoom Super Fluke

Bass Pro Shops Lazer Eye Buzz Master Buzzbait

You Can Fish with Unusual Lure Colors:

Tip: They might not appear in nature, they do appear on a bass’s menu! For example, here are links to a few popular unusual fishing lure colors:

Shop Bass Pro Shops Tender Tube Soft Bait Lures
Bass Pro Shops Tender Tube Soft
Bait Lures

Bandit Crankbaits – 200 Series

Berkley Gulp! Alive Jerk Shad

Bass Pro Shops Enticer Pro Series Rattling Jig

Norman Lures Professional Edge Baits Deep Baby N

Roboworm FAT Straight Worm

Strike King Denny Brauer Premier Pro-Model Jig

Strike King Red Eye Shad Crankbaits

Bass Pro Shops Tender Tube

Blue Fox Classic Vibrax Spinner

Check out Bass Pro Shops 1Source for more bass lure and bass fishing information.