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Fluke Fishing: Does Color Matter?
Written by Bob Maehrlein   
Saturday, 18 June 2011 15:41

Bucktail Stinger If you've fished for any amount of time, you've probably heard someone use phrases like, "You can use any color, as long as it's white."  Or, "If it ain't chartreuse, it ain't no use!"  I know I've used expressions like that from time to time.

For these expressions to be so widely used, there must be a great deal of truth to them.  Right?  Of course, they can't be true all the time.  Can they?  Or does color even  matter at all?  Is it just a confidence thing?

For a long time now my favorite colors for fluke (and some other saltwater fish) have been chartreuse, white and pink.  I do try to match a color to what I think will work best for the current conditions, e.g. stained water, clear water, cloudy skies, rough water, etc.  Having said that, I admittedly, at times, use them somewhat randomly as well, e.g. "This color looks cool!  I think I'll try this one."  

Does it matter?

Fishing on the Irish Ayes the other day, we had a pretty hot fluke bite going. And when the bite is hot that's the time to experiment.  What I learned that day is that color definitely matters (at least sometimes).  Let me share my experience.

My rig was set up as follows:
A white 3 oz. Spro bucktail with a white bucktail teaser hook placed about 12" above the Spro.  I also had a stinger hook attached to the Spro (see Rigging the Bucktail Stinger: 101).
For bait on the Spro I had two Chartreuse 4" Gulp! Swimming Mullets (one on the main hook and one on the stinger).  On the teaser hook above I had a Pearl White 4" Gulp! Swimming Mullet.

Using the rig like this, every bite came on the Spro or the stinger attached to the Spro.  After a while I swapped out the white Gulp! on the teaser with a natural color 3" Gulp! Shrimp.  Still, every bite was on the Spro or the stinger.

I then replaced the natural shrimp on the teaser with a small piece of Pink Gulp! Cut Bait (which I cut into a pennant shape).  After doing that every bite I had came on the teaser.  The fish were now totally ignoring the Spro in favor of the teaser despite the fact that I still had two pieces of chartreuse hanging off of it, which they were tearing up just moments ago!

I fished like that a little longer - replacing the pink bait on the teaser with another pink piece as I lost them.  Then I replaced the chartreuse Swimming Mullets on the Spro and put a Pink 5" Gulp! Jerk Shad on it and added another short pink pennant shaped strip to the stinger.  Immediately the Spro started to get bit again.  With pink on top and bottom I never knew which one would get hit next (but they both did).

As I noted above, being in the middle of a hot bite is the best time to experiment.  So, I decided to remove my pink bait on the teaser (which at this point was any piece of pink Gulp! I had) and I put the natural color shrimp back on.  Once again, I could not get a single bite on that hook, while the Spro continued to get devoured.  

Based on this experience I could only draw one conclusion - color matters!  And, at least on that day, the colored that mattered most was pink, followed by chartreuse.  The natural color and pearl white baits were a bust.

I'm curious to hear your experiences and preferences as far as bait colors for fluke.  Do you think it matters?

Oh, and "If you don't use pink, you better rethink!"  I'm still working on that one. Grin


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