Tackle and Tactics
Mike Ladle


Information Page

Lure colour.

Perhaps the most frequent question I have been asked in all my years of lure fishing is "What colour was it?". Many anglers are obsessed with the colour of lures and the same often seems to be true of flies. Firstly I should say that lure manufacturers have a vested interest in producing lures of different colours and, of course, in persuading anglers to buy one (or probably more) of each colour. Now I would be the last to say ALWAYS or NEVER in relation to any sort of fishing, let alone lure fishing. However, if you were to look in my lure box (the one I take fishing) you would find that almost all the contents are either silvery/metallic (most of them), drab greeny/brown or more or less transparent.

In a drawer at home where I keep my spare bits and pieces of tackle is a box of lures that I never use - many of these are very brightly coloured. Now I know that some good anglers swear by particular types of lure for certain conditions. For example I have often seen it written that brightly coloured lures work better in dirty, coloured water. Certainly on the salmon rivers that I have fished big yellow-bellies are often favoured early in the season and smaller blue and silver devons later in summer when the rivers are low and clear. There may - or may not - be good reasons for such a choice. It sounds logical doesn't it? In mucky conditions make the lure more visible but I'm not so sure.

Why am I such a stick in the mud? Firstly, I don't believe everything I read. A lot of the 'folk lore' of lure fishing has been passed down over the years and anglers have always been inclined to look for excuses when the fishing was poor. On the same tack if you change lures and suddenly the new one catches a fish (probably by sheer chance) it's only too easy to convince yourself that the change was responsible. Because of this we now have a plethora of 'deadly' flies and a multitude of 'killer' lures. Secondly, I seem to catch fish (or not) on my very plain coloured lures with much the same (or quite often greater) efficiency as people who chop and change every few casts - whatever the conditions.

The main thing that convinces me is that - over the years - I have gradually whittled my colour schemes down to the rather simple ones mentioned above and my results have certainly not suffered for the change. I know for a fact that a number of very experienced fly anglers are perfectly happy with a mere handful of fly patterns in different sizes - because they work! In other words it is more important to have a lure that will fish at the right depth than to have a lure colour for every occasion. Having said this I have caught fish on brightly coloured plugs and spinners but 'survival of the most effective seems to have produced the results shown below.

If you have any comments or questions about fish, methods, tactics or 'what have you.'get in touch with me by sending an E-MAIL to - docladle@hotmail.com


Lure colour.

Lures from my bag.

These go with me everywhere - river, sea and lake.  There are also a number of spoons and spinners of similar colours.

Lures from my drawer.

I rarely use any of these although some have caught fish (the Nils Masster has caught a number of fish and 'firetiger' plug had a double figure bass for example).

Trout on silver Rapala.

This year I had several big seatrout on a similar lure.

Chub on silver Rapala.

I used to think that tiny lures would catch most chub but even ones of this size are greedy and don't seem to mind the colour.

Wrasse on silver Rapala.

Bright coloured crayfish patterns catch wrasse but so do the fishy silver ones.

Bass on silver Rapala.

I still think that this is probably the best 'all round' bass lure.