Color Complexity Control
October 13, 2012
How important is the color of this jig? It's a different shade of green, a cross between lime and army green offered among the color selections on Gopher Tackle Mushroom Heads. If you look close, you'll see a dab of orange nail polish I added to the bottom of the jig. Does that make a difference? Obviously, I must think so or I wouldn't bother. But if I had to prove my case, well — nothing much can be proven about color.
My friend Rich Zaleski probably thinks I'm daft. "I use black jig heads most of the time," he says. He prefers plain lead to any bright colors. And black certainly works. I prefer the head to hide most of the time and I use black. Brown is largely disappointing. But green pumpkin, watermelon, and other shades of green are my favorites and I cling to that out of a belief that catch rates improve around here when I use a green head. It could be that I have increased confidence when fishing green heads, but when I originally began painting green pumpkin heads with CS Coatings powder paints, I considered it an experiment. I was already confident with black or plain lead heads for smallmouths. The results were surprising, so it really wouldn't be accurate to say that my choice arose out of confidence. I had no idea what would happen, but the results have repeated themselves ever since.
One reason the Gopher jig color works so well might be that fish never see it. Most bass anglers I'm aware of don't use it around here. (That dynamic could change relatively soon, unless I miss my guess.)
Rich's response to jig-head color might be a blatant example of color complexity control. And why not? Color is way down there on the list of importance for most anglers. You have to develop a pattern before you can interest a fish in color. That means sizing up the season fish are in first, followed by narrowing your search to select seasonally-appropriate spots. Then you have to determine what structures they're using, how deep they are on those structures, and how they're relating to them. Are they in wood, cabbage, under docks, near boulders, in the shade, or in the open? What's the key forage, and the depth active fish are using to intercept it? What's the best presentation? How big? How fast?
Now you're finally getting to the point where you might want to play with color. How complicated can it be? Stay tuned.