Local Sports

What fishing bait color is correct?

The Florida freshwater fishing forecast for the last four days of April starts out with perfect weather conditions to accompany the new moon, which means the best fishing of the month has finally arrived.

However, Tuesday and Wednesday there’s a weather forecast of strong south winds but not enough to stop the fish from biting at the highest feed rating of the month. With every fishing factor but the wind factor being ideal for catching a lot of quality fish, adjusting for the wind speed and direction is a minor detail — there’s plenty of fish biting along south shores and north shores of islands.

The major feeding migration of the day occurs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. with the moon is overhead, The rating will reach eight to nine today through Wednesday.

The minor fishing migration of the day occurs during the moonset and moonrise from 4-6 a.m. and p.m. A rating of six to seven can be expected.

Fishing Fact: bait color selection is a factor in catching quality-size bass. However, it should be noted that this is more true in clearer water than in turbid cloudy water. Fish do see color very similar to humans albeit from the bottom of the lake looking up into the light — the opposite of the anglers viewpoint.

The crucial thing to remember is contrast when selecting a bait color to fish within a particular lake’s water clarity.

First thing to determine is the amount of sunlight present. Next, the amount of visibility within the water, but not from the vantage point of the angler, but that of the fish, looking up against the light of the day — ry to think of yourself with a diver’s mask on laying on the bottom of the lake in the area you’re fishing and looking up instead of the angler’s view of water against the dark lake bottom as a back drop.

With that thinking in mind, now remember the rule of the fish, “I am an opportunistic feeder who eats what I can feel, see, hear and smell,” in that order exactly. The lateral line of the bass feels the bait’s size and movement or action first, and then it turns to see what it is and homes in for a better look determining noise and smell on the way to the strike.

If the bait color has a high contrast as the bass looks upward toward the bright sky, it can attack better, if it has low contrast the attack can be off, especially if the bait is moving medium to fast retrieve speeds.

The darker the light conditions the darker the color selection should be and conversely, the lighter the light conditions, the lighter the color can be. And dark colors have high contrast in all conditions as a standard rule which is not true of the lighter colored baits.

Next factor to consider are the four seasons when the sun’s spectrum of light changes due to the position of the sun in the sky. The blue spectrum is always present in all seasons, and the green spectrum increases in the spring and the red spectrum increases in the fall. As these light spectrums increase, the respective bait’s flash contrast increases. And the least visible color is any color the blends in with the light of the sky, such as white and yellow or light grey.

So to break this down in simple terms, black and blue is always the right choice. In the spring season, green colors flash just as well and in the fall season, red colors flash just as well. And if you choose a hybrid color combo, such as the Junebug colors companies offer, the bait will work well in all but the spring season.

And remember if the lake is crystal clear, color selection is not near as crucial as it is in very high turbid cloudy lakes. If I was a bait and tackle store owner I would stock my shelves with dark versions of blue, red, green, and brown colors and the hybrid color combinations that mix those colors.

Noting each customer’s favor bait colors and adjusting my stock accordingly, goes without saying.

And remember, a bait’s depth and speed, combined with its retrieve action means far more in producing strikes than color could ever achieve. Matching the hatch action is the key to tricking the smartest bass in the lake, not getting the correct color selected — although there is a correct color for a given season, water body clarity, and weather condition.

Lake Istokpoga’s level is at 38.90 feet above sea level with one gate open at the S68 spillway at 20 inches and flowing 318 cubic feet per second — Saturday 26, 5 a.m. status. Highlands County will be spraying to kill Tussocks along the south shore and Bumblebee Island, a total of 20 acres in each area, weather permitting.

There is still four days left in my April special offer of a two person half-day bass fishing trip for $135 plus a fuel charge of $50. I say four days because today’s afternoon slot is still open from noon to 4-5 p.m.

Dave Douglass is a bass fishing guide and conservationist in Central Florida. The full article can be accessed at BassFishingForecast.com and FloridaBassFishingForecast.com. Main website: HighlandsBassAngler.com Phone: 863-381-8474. Email: davidpdouglass@hotmail.com