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Fishing with Kenny: Choose Colors with Confidence

By Meagan Russell
In Features
Feb 25th, 2014


by Kenny Covington

In all aspects of fishing,  one of the most debated aspects, if not the most debated, is of lure colors.  Crappie fishermen are notorious about the importance of specific colors and deep sea or off shore fisherman have specific color schemes they always rely on.  As bass anglers, we are just as particular.  Probably the number one question in local tackle stores has always been, “What color were you using?”

But actually more importantly the question should be, “Is color really that important?”  And if it is, what is the best way to narrow down the choices to make my fishing easier and thus more enjoyable.  Let’s see what we can come up with.
In bass fishing, I have always believed that the less complicated I can make things; the better my chances are for success.  Lure choices and colors are my first step in this process.  While there are certain colors that work better on certain bodies of water, I want to list for you some proven color schemes that are productive no matter where you fish for bass.

For my soft plastics, which include lizards, worms, creature baits, I have five colors that I know will work regardless of the body of water I am fishing. These colors are:  black/blue, watermelon/red, green pumpkin, black neon (black with a red flake), and junebug (dark purple with a green flake).  These color choices or variations of them will cover the water clarity spectrum, from clear to muddy.

Most of our local lakes and rivers are stained.  In this type of water as well as a murky or muddy water situation, I prefer the darker hues in my soft plastics.  Black neon is a very good choice for these situations as well as junebug.  The darker the water situations, the darker soft plastic lure I will use.  I use black/blue whenever I have a good stained water situation with visibility in the one to two foot range.  This is also an excellent color on cypress tree based lakes like Chenier Lake or Black Lake.

Caney Lake and Lake Claiborne are our exceptions to the stained/muddy water clarity we usually encounter.  In these clear water lakes I prefer more natural colors like shades of watermelon or green pumpkin.  On the pro tours, green pumpkin has always been one of the favorite choices among anglers.  It is a good all round choice and I have seen it produce in all water situations.

But the color conversations don’t just end with soft plastics.  The debate will rage when it comes to crankbaits, topwaters and even spinnerbaits.  Each lure has a specific job to do and I have always believed it is the action of the bait that catches the fish but the color of the lure catches the fisherperson.

When choosing a color for crankbaits, I will pick between three different color schemes: shad, crawfish and bream.  Those are the forage you are trying to duplicate so don’t get overwhelmed with all the choices that are at your disposal.  Here are some colors that I consider to be constant producers:  chartreuse/black back, firetiger, Tennessee shad, and a brown/orange crawfish color.  Focus on crawfish patterns in winter and early spring, use bream colors through the springtime and shad patterns in summer through the fall.

When it comes to spinnerbait fishing, I tend to stick with my basic colors.  White, chartreuse, and chartreuse/white will pretty much cover the bases.  I always let water color dictate my choice.  To keep it basic I use white in clearer water, chartreuse in muddier situations with chartreuse/white being a good alternative between the two.   When I throw a buzzbait, it will be white or black.  On occasion I will use chartreuse but that is rare.

Topwater lures have always caused a great debate when it comes to colors that will or won’t work.  Even though it has been proven that a fish sitting underneath a lure looking up at it has no idea what color it is, everyone has their favorite color topwaters they will throw because “that was the only thing I could get them to hit.”  Personally, I stick with bream and shad patterns on my topwaters and while my types of lures may be numerous, the color schemes are very few.

In closing, if you are throwing a lure that you have great confidence in, regardless of the color, you are going to catch fish on it.  You are going to work it more effectively, be more in tuned to what it is doing, and you are going to pay more attention to the whole scenario when it comes to that particular lure.  Why?  The answer is simply because you have caught them on it before, it just so happens to be your favorite color as well.

Be careful on the water and catch one for me!  See you next month.