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Cooter

The color RED in the fishing world, again

17 posts in this topic

I think its time to draw a line in the sand on this color RED junk. Which is it? Do fish see it better or does it vanish under the water? If you step outside the fishermans world and look inside, its got to be rediculous. Some of us are buying red hooks and lures with red 'bleeding' patterns to attract fish and others are buying red line because the fish can't see it. Hmmmm. Maybe the red hooks don't stand out and the fish aren't 'hook shy', or maybe in clear water some species indeed target red. Or does red just 'look' dark or black and provide contrast on lures? (Red/white Daredevils for pike?) Some companies market red products completely differently - the cajun line is supposed to disappear, the red coated wire leader material is touted 'bleeding'. Whats it gonna be? confused.gif Is it concealment or attraction?

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That's an excellent question. I have wondered that myself, usually as I tied a Rapala with red hooks onto red power pro line. Lemme see. I'll use this special deluxe invisible line with hooks that are gay-ron-teed to trigger a bloodthirsty strike.

Don't have the answer, but I can tell you from years as a scuba diver in clear water that red disappears quicker than any other color. It looks brown underwater. It does not look red at all.

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Here's some info from an article by Dan Manyen

How Colors Are Viewed Underwater

A large part of vision underwater is being able to distinguish different colors. Seeing colors underwater depends on the amount of light reaching the particular depth at which one is at. Another factor in seeing underwater is the condition of the waters and, more specifically, the conditions of the surface. There are several ways to make the colors easier to see. However, it is most important, to simply understand that colors change underwater and it is sometimes hard to distinguish between them.

One factor in seeing underwater is the fact that as light passes through the water it is absorbed, and much of it is lost in the process. This causes objects to lose their color as they go deeper down or further away. To add to this, the wavelengths that make up our perception of color are absorbed differently. The length the wavelength changes how fast the color is absorbed. Red has the longest wavelength, more than 700 nm. One "nm" stands for one nanometer, which is on millionth of a meter. After red comes orange which is somewhere in-between 700nm and 600nm. After orange comes yellow and so on, all the way down to the blues and purples which are the shortest at around 400.

Depending on the length of the color's wavelengths you can predict how a color will change underwater. For example, in clear water, the longest wavelength is lost first. So if you were in a pool swimming downward, the first color that would be hard to see is red.

Another factor in seeing color underwater, is the condition of the water. Light from the sun is reflected by the surface of the water. This means that the surface of the water can cause significant change in one's perception of color underwater. Different surfaces can be different amounts of bubbles, pollution, decomposing plants or plankton. Even if the change is simply more motion in the water, causing more bubbles and a different angle between the rays and the surface of the water, light would be absorbed faster, and color would be therefore lost faster. However, something such as plankton can significantly change perception of color underwater. This is because plankton absorbs violets and blues. So the presence of plankton would cause blue and violet objects to lose their colors much faster compared to red and yellow objects. Red was the first to lose its color in clear water, and the blues and violets were the last. So the condition of the water can ultimately reverse the situations, before the longer wavelengths were the first to be absorbed and with plankton the shorter wavelengths are the first. Thus, the condition of the water is a huge importance when seeing colors underwater.

Understanding how colors change at different depths and in different conditions is the first step, understanding what they change to and how to work with that is the next. In clear water, if you go down far enough a red object either appears unlighted or black. This makes since as clear water absorbs red light and eventually you can reach a depth where no red light reaches the object. The same thing could happen to a blue object in coastal waters, it could appear black. Even though red is absorbed faster in clear water and blue in coastal waters, all the colors are absorbed in water, just at different rates. So the farther you go down the less color is perceived. Plus, the further down you go different color objects all start to look the same color, the color they all look like tends to be the color that is best perceived in that water condition. For instance, if it was clear water, at a certain depth all the objects would start to look blue. So even before you reach a depth deep enough to make colors look black you can get easily confused between the different colors. One way to distinguish between different colors is their relative brightness or darkness. Several of the most visible colors are light, bright colors that cause a good brightness contrast with the dark water background. If there was a different background, such as white sand, darker colors would be easier to see. Another good way to distinguish different colors is to use two colors that cannot be mixed up in any type of water. A good example would be orange and green.

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Obviously if you go deep enough, colors will eventually fade out. However, the way I think of it is this: No matter what depth the fish are at, they associate red with blood. Whether you're shallow and they actually see red, or you're deeper and they see brown, whatever color red turns to is what the fish associate it to.

Okay, I think I even confused myself on that one!

I guess what I'm trying to say is that blood is the same color, no matter if you're shallow or deeper. Up shallow they may see red as red. Down deeper they may see red as brown. Blood itself doesn't change colors...it's the amount of light it reflects that changes its color. So up shallow the fish may associate red with blood. And down deeper they may associate brown as blood.

Up shallow a baitfish that is bleeding, the blood will look red. Down deeper a baitfish that's bleeding, the blood will look brown. The fish will associate the color in the same way, whether shallow or deep.

Okay, I'm done trying to explain my "reasoning" behind all this. tongue.gif

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Either way, they do a heck of a job marketing it! Just when you think you have every shad rap made, Rapala pulls this out of their sleeve.

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Yea! I was watching either the Lindners or In-Fish over the weekend and saw that now there is a Minnow Rap on the market?!? Oh great! Another batch to buy! blush.gifwink.gif

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They work really well too! I fished with them last fall on a few occassions and they outperformed the shadraps I was pulling. Red might just be another way to catch us fisherman but for whatever reason I like those red hooks, I like those bleeding baits and if I catch fish with them I'll probably buy more of them. I tried the cajun red line this winter don't notice any big difference so far between that and regular mono. Just my unscientific opinion. I did learn alot reading this post though. Thanks for the good info guys!

Tunrevir~ cool.gif

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The important thing to remember is that color is still the least important factor in any lure.

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The guy who mentioned marketing hit the nail on the head. Colored hooks is how they get twentyfive cents for a nickel hook. The idea that we can't catch 2007 fish with 2006 tackle gives fish credit for powers far greater then they actually possess. Old Sneller

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I believe I mentioned this some time ago, but will mention it again.

In my own experiences, I've seen red hooks completely outperform the standard bronze or black hooks when fishing for walleyes. Two examples:

One trip to the Missouri river we were fishing in 36fow using 4' snells and fathead minnows. My brother and I were using bronze hooks and my buddy was using a red hook. We all had the same size hook, same leader length, etc. My buddy was hammering the walleyes where my brother and I weren't even getting bit. I switched over to a red hook and immediately began catching 'eyes. My brother was stubborn up to the last 1hr before we had to leave, then he switched to a red hook and was able to catch fish.

Another experience was on Minaki in Canada with myself and 5 other guys. Same thing....I was using red hooks and catching fish consistently, the others were getting one here, one there. I knew red hooks were key from a conversation I had with a co-worker who fishes there a lot, so I brought a lot of red hooks along. Needless to say, the other 5 guys switched to red hooks after day 1 and we all had great fishing.

I've had many, many great outings since then with red hooks and lures with red in them.

People will believe and do what they want. I for one have seen the difference first hand and will continue to use red hooks and lures with red on them, or at least try them on every outing.

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Let's add this explanation I heard to the mix as if we need more confusion:

It matters what the red is on - if it is a opaque object it remains visible because light cannot pass through and if it is transluscent is disappears. confused.gif

I have tried red hooks on cranks and red EWG's with soft plastics and can honestly say it has made no difference whatsoever that I can determine.

That said - a tip - if you color your hooks with a red Sharpie or dip it in red dye it will last just as long as the coating on store-bought red ones.

Daze Off

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Lets tip this one on its ear...

Everything so far is in terms of how HUMANS see color underwater, specifically red.

So how do fish see it? Do their light receptors generate electrical impulses when hit with red? Does it register as much as other colors? Do fish care that blood is red, or do they respond to smelling it better than when they see it?

I don't think we'll ever know.

But I do know I have to go buy some red bleeding rattle baits, I love the red-on-chrome ones! grin.gif

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If red is such an eye catcher for fish, then why isn't red the only color of fishing tackle made? With all the collective knowledge here on FM one would think that Red would be the only color recommended if it worked so well. I just watched a fishing show and the guide was using Cajun Red fishing line. The reason he says is because color red disappears in the water.

I think that red, just like pink, silver, orange, spots, stripes, plain hook and minnow, etc, etc, etc. all have their place depending on what you are fishing for and what conditions exist at the time. I don't think that the color red gives an overall advantage.

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I beg to differ, but I think a topic like this comes down to...."we agree to disagree". smirk.gif

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I fell into this trap as well last year. Bought the red line and then hooked it up to a white gypsy jig colored red with a sharpie confused.gifand a minnow. I dont know why, I've always caught fish with that jig and redular line but I felt the need to try that amazing disappearing line. I do agree with basscatcher though, red does seem to outperform other lures in the same situation. The first time I colored a jig with my dad he laughed and laughed.....until I was up 5 to 1 in an hour.

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Great points! Here is a little more info to digest on this subject.

Article from Great Lakes Angler:

Lures vs. Lines: "Seeing Red"

With all the attention to color these days, I noticed a bit of a paradox between the applications of the color red in fishin lures versus fishing line.

Many manufacturers are putting red hooks on their lures to give it that "bleeding" fish affect. This is supposed to bring out the primal instinct in fish to attack. On the other hand, Cajun Line created by Shakespeare is also red. However, in the case of the Cajun Line, the color red is designed to reduce the visibility of the line. Hmmmmm...how's this I wondered? I contacted Mark Davis at Shakespeare and told him what was troubling me. Mark first explained thet the color red is the first color to be completely filtered out when underwater, unlik greens, blues or violets which maintain their color deep into the water column. Mark also pointed out the red in the Cajun Line is translucent, meaning light will penetrate through it and dissapate the red color much more quickly than an opaque shade of red you would find on hooks and lures. According to Mark, this makes it possible for their line to be virtually invisible in as little as 3 feet of water. Red hooks will eventually lose their intensity and turn from a fish attracting color becoming stealthey, but this happens down deeper.

I had to see this for myself. So I grabbed a spool of 6-pound Cajun Line, a package of red Gamakatsu hooks and swim goggles then dove into my swimming pool. Sure enough, as I got deeper, the Cajun Line became harder to see. The red hooks on the other hand, were still a blazing bright red and you could clearly see the red light being reflected off of them from the sunlight.

Tom Haapoja

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I thought the fish's color spectrum is completly different than ours. I heard that somewhere.

Fish will yellow eyes (Perch, Muskie) can see orange really well or something like that.

I thought in-fisherman did a study about this a few years back.

I don't have any facts, but I thought each species has a different color spectrum. Like walleyes can see at night, but perch don't.

I see myself digging my own hole.

Maybe we could get a SH to chime in if he sees this. He works for the DNR.

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