In his popular weekly blog for this Angler's Mail website, Colin Mitchell discusses the difference colour makes in a swim. Found a particular colour works best for you? Click the share icons above and let us know.
IT’S often been claimed that the raft of brightly coloured floats on sale in many tackle shops catch more anglers than they do fish.
But what about the vast array of different coloured baits? Are all the various colours necessary? Are they actually any good? Remember that fish are meant to be colour blind – I did say ‘meant to be’ because this doesn’t actually ring true.
Let’s start with the humble maggot. There were times that white was the only colour, then it was bronze that became the ‘in’ bait as the likes of former Matchman of the Year, and then World Champion, Dave Thomas took the Trent apart using the bait.
An increasing number of trips to Ireland and mainland Europe by English anglers resulted in a red maggot explosion as bronze grubs became less popular in the wake of a cancer scare over the dye chrysoidine. Now…red maggots are still, without a doubt, the most popular grubs. In fact when I go into a shop I don’t think twice. Pint or two of red is all I think. Whites get a look in for changing to casters or one or two dropped into the reds as a change. And how often have you fished with reds and caught but a change to whites has failed to yield a fish? Is that down to your confidence, a fish’s ability to see the bait better or just luck?
Good old sweetcorn with its bright yellow skin has always been highly rated as a summer bait. But now some anglers have dyed it red or even black. Hang on…we thought fish couldn’t distinguish colours? Well they obviously can on some days! I remember the legendary Ivan Marks dying his hemp yellow. If he did that it must have been worth doing!
Then there are the vast arrays of groundbait available. No longer have we just got white and brown crumb. There are dark baits and even darker ones, right through to black. Oh, and don’t forget green – one of my favourites at the moment. And yes it does work! Last weekend I was feeding brown crumb without an effect whatsoever. I changed to green and caught. Ok, it might have been the slightly different flavours or where I put it in my swim but the fact is green worked. I caught fish where I hadn’t in the previous two hours…
Boilies come in hundreds of flavours, sizes and colours. But how often have you just changed the colour of this bait and caught? I know I have. A dark red boilie equalled no fish, a white one caught. I remember it well. It was something my head told me to do and it worked. Maybe the colours do look different under the water to the fish but there is no disputing that some coloured baits work better than others on certain days.
Lure anglers have known for years that they change for a bright or dull attractor depending on light conditions. I don’t think it is just the light in the case of fresh baits. I think it’s also down to species, the colour of the water, time of year and what the fish eat where you are fishing.
Unless fish get the ability to talk to us no one is really going to know the answer to the catching/colour questions. But those anglers willing to experiment will certainly get their own answers which could yield a winning formula!
Although we have been enjoying higher than normal seasonal temperatures there is no doubt that the weather is on the change – and that means we have to rethink how we fish. But don’t wear blinkers. Don’t think that because it is colder the fish will respond in the way that the text books tell us they should.
The best example of this is the use of groundbait. In years gone by cereal was the kiss of death to fishing once waters got cold. Now, with new forms of groundbait available and a lot more knowledge about, we know that this is not the case.
Last week I got the fish going in my swim with a few micro pellets topped off in a pole pot with a bit of green groundbait. That’s feeding every put in – not just now and again as you might have done in the past, if you had fed any groundbait at all. The guy next along the bank to me looked aghast when I said I had fed groundbait. In fact he looked a bit stunned.
Changing times, changing weather, changing conditions all demand a rethink on bait, feeding and presentation. Don’t just look at one aspect, take in all three and improve your chances of catching.