Yes, lure color matters

Last time we talked a little about the Berkley Smash Tube and how it was developed. That was mostly about shape and size. This week I want to talk a little about color. It’s an important subject, something that everyone has an opinion about.

Recently, I had the privilege of working with Rapala on some new colors for their DT baits. Actually, there’s more to it than color. It’s really about new finishes. They look more natural than what you see in a lot of other crankbaits. We call them Ike’s Custom Ink DT Series. It’s pretty neat. We developed them with some of the ideas I’ve had for a long time about color.

To begin with, bright isn’t always the best. Sometimes it seems to me that fishing lures — crankbaits, especially — are made to catch anglers rather than fish. They take on a gaudy look that’s pretty cool in the tackle shop but might not be so cool in the water.

My idea was to tone them down a bit so that they had a more natural appearance. For years I’ve put my baits out in the sun — sometimes for months at a time — to bleach the colors and make them look like the real thing, or what I think looks like the real thing. With Ike’s Ink I don’t have to do that anymore. They look “quiet” right out of the package.

We also worked on giving the finishes more depth. I wanted them to look translucent so that they didn’t appear one dimensional. Ike’s Ink finishes have a kind of depth to them that makes them look like the real thing. We did that with a special finishing process and by adding fine glitter to everything.

For our final touch, we added a pearl look to every finish. It gives them a glow that’s like real freshwater baitfish. Let’s face it; some crankbait paints have colors that look more like saltwater fish. I’m talking about that bright, neon look that you see in the little fish swimming around coral reefs. There’s no doubt that type of finish is pretty but it’s not natural to a black bass.

The bottom line here is that we tried to do it right, and I think we succeeded. But more importantly, I wanted to give you some information about color that will help you catch more fish. Choosing or creating a natural looking finish is about more than just matching colors or attracting anglers. To look natural, it has to mimic the real thing. What the bass sees is what matters. That’s not always the brightest, or the prettiest, or the coolest thing in the water.

As a final thought I want to say that I know there are times when the wildest colors will catch the most fish. We all have a story about that we could tell. Nevertheless, just because that happens every now and then doesn’t mean that’s what’s going to happen all the time, or even frequently. Sometimes it’s the exception that proves the rule.