Caitlin Young of Blythewood, South Carolina, posted  her science project  entitled “The Color Preference of Catfish” on this blog site on Jan. 3.

As scores of anglers read the results of her project, which concluded that channel catfish exhibit a preference for the color blue,  a goodly number of anglers began reminiscing about the fish that they used to catch while wielding various blue baits.

For instance, Steve Desch of Topeka, Kansas,  fondly recalled the days when he lived at Table Rock Lake and spent many hours fishing with  Stacey King of Reeds Spring, Missouri. During many of their outings, this duo caught an impressive array of bass on electric-blue plastic worms.

Other anglers remembered catching scores of largemouth bass at the Lake of the Ozarks and Truman Lake on a hand-poured black-and-blue Guido Bug attached to a black-and-blue-shirted jig

Several anglers thought about the untold numbers of crappie and white bass that blue jigs allured in years past.

The two baits in the middle are hand-poured black-and-blue Guido Bugs; they are the same bait, but the one on the left has its belly up, and the one on the right has its back up. To the left and right of the Guido Bugs are two vintage blue plastic worms that many bass anglers across the Heartland used in the 1980s and 1990s.


For decades, crappie and white bass anglers in Kansas and Missouri worked with these blue baits. From left to right is a vintage Bass Pro Shops' Squirmin Minnow, two-inch generic shad, two-inch generic tube, Bailey Magnet, 1 1/2-inch generic tube, 1 1/2-inch generic fuzzy-style grub and 1/8-ounce marabou jig made by the late Leroy Spellman of Mt Vernon, Missouri.

In 2006, when we spent a lot of time chasing the smallmouth bass that abide in the flatland reservoirs of northeastern Kansas, we discovered that the smallmouth bass were often allured by a three-inch Gary Yamamoto Custom Bait's Fat Senko in a smoke-pearl-blue hue. But haven't used that color or the Senko since October of 2006. But some practitioners of Midwest finesse tactics will add it to their repertoire in 2012, and they will see if the largemouth bass in the flatland reservoirs of northeastern Kansas are allured by this color.

As these anglers talked and thought about Young’s science project, some of them began to realize that blue baits no longer play a significant role in their repertoire.

For example, most  practitioners of Midwest finesse tactics rarely use lures with a blue hue. In fact, the only ones they use are Strike King’s black-and-blue Bitsy Tube and Z-Man’s black-and-blue Finesse WormZ, and these are used infrequently.

Thus, for the rest of 2012, several of  us finesse anglers have decided to increase our usage of blue baits when plying the small flatland reservoirs of northeastern Kansas.

One of the ways we are going to do this is to paint scores of our jig heads blue. And these blue  jigs will be dressed with the same soft-plastic baits that were described in our blogs posted on Jan. 18 and 23. ( ;

Some of our  finesse brethren, who prefer to use unpainted jigs, pooh-pooh the notion that the color of the head of a jig  can make a significant difference.

To appease them,  more of our soft-plastic baits will also exhibit various blue hues, such as Z-Man’s black-blue/blue laminated ZinkerZ.

Sometime in January of 2013, we will post the result of this endeavor.


Here's a sample of three difference colors of blue 1/16-ounce jigs that some finesse anglers will test in 2012. These jigs were made, painted and photographed by David Reeves of Leavenworth, Kansas. Reeves uses a super-style glue to affix his soft-plastic bait to his jigs. Reeves is also fond of Producto Lures' four-inch blue Tournament Worm, which he has found to be effective in the clear waters of Table Rock Lake, Missouri, when the sun is as bright and shinny as a new dime.

The four-inch worm on the bottom is a blue Producto Lures' Tournament Worm that Dave Reese recommends. The blue one on top is an eel that Reese hand pours.

It should be noted that Keith A.  Jones in his piscatorial masterpiece entitled “Knowing Bass” argues very authoritatively that his extensive research has revealed that “bass see all shades of blue as essentially the same.”  His research also discovered that bass were allured more by a silver-and black, dark violet, green, black, white  or yellow crankbait than they are by a blue one. But Jones’ blue crankbait attracted more strikes than his orange and red ones.

Jones also noted that “in very muddy waters, reds, oranges and yellows are about the only colors of light available. It is pointless to fret over the exact shade of a blue lure when all the blue light’s gone.”  Furthermore, he suggested that the angle of the retrieve can be more important than the color of the lure.

( Readers can find a synopsis of Jones’ ideas about colors at this Bass Fan site )

A blue 1/16-ounce and 3/32-ounce Gopher Tackle Mushroom Jig Head that I will work with throughout 2012

We are eager to read comments from other anglers about their thoughts and experiences  about the effectiveness of blue baits.

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