Henry Gilbey
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Henry Gilbey blog

Do you take note of the belly colour on your most successful surface lures?

Kinda following on from the other day and my blog post thinking about whether it might be the case that some lures simply don’t work so well in different areas, I wondered whether it remotely bothers you what the colour is on the underneath of your surface lures? Look at many of the fish in our waters and you will have surely noticed how their bellies are lighter than their flanks and backs, and of course many lure colours reflect this. But with how surface lures are designed to work - on the surface of course!! - do you find yourself drawn more to surface lures with say white/silvery/bright bellies?

I do. I look at the surface lures which I use the most and have the most confidence in, and they all have bright coloured bellies on them. As much as I have a thing for that cotton candy IMA Salt Skimmer, in reality I am drawn to the bright silver belly on it more than anything else, and when Sakura in France used to get IMA to do them lures in some colours “exclusive” to them, I remember buying a white Skimmer which I used to do really well on until I lost it to a hungry rock one day. I don’t know about you, but if I could have only one colour on a surface lure, it would be white.

Aside from me seeing the odd bass literally chasing a surface lure, for the most part I have to assume that they are seeing that lure sitting on top of the water from beneath it - looking up essentially. I hear the theories about fish seeing certain shades and colours better in certain kinds of light etc., but personally I always wonder how on earth we can ever really know how animals see. I watch my sheepdog Storm moving as easily over rocks in the dark as she does during the day and I wonder how on earth her eyes are working to enable her to do this, and I come back to my slight obsession with this cotton candy colour in lures and must ask how on earth a bass “sees” this colour when as far as I’m aware there is no prey species of theirs that looks remotely like that. We see with our eyes, and I am assuming that fish ain’t seeing the same as us.

But do you deliberately turn to surface lures that have this brighter belly colour? And do you feel more confident or indeed do you notice that you catch more bass than when fishing with a surface lure which has a dark coloured belly? I can’t remotely pretend that I have experimented back and forth with different belly colours on surface lures - but perhaps I should - but without a doubt my eyes are drawn to those surface lures with bright underneaths. Check out a comment from the other day from a lad called Rich Collins who lives and fishes around where I do. Rich says “I'm a firm believer that every angler and every lure has its own rhythm. Match the right angler to the right lure and you have a winning combo”. I find this fascinating, and yet again I come back to confidence in fishing.

Now of course it seems to be the case that most surface lures seem to follow the “brighter underneath than topside” pattern of most baitfish, but I wondered if any of you here who might do a bit of surface lure fishing at night (I know squat about this, but it sounds awesome) take any note of the belly colour of your surface lures when doing so? Whilst this white senko thing has thrown almost a delightful spanner in the works with what tends to be the accepted “rules” as such for night time lure colours, I wondered if you find that in fact a dark or black belly on a surface lure works better at night? Does the lack of daylight shining on the water change how lures are seen or sensed by fish? I am assuming it must, but then I know that there are some bass anglers who love surface lures at night when there’s a big, bright moon out.

My apologies, but I woke up with bouncing brain syndrome again, and I continue to amuse myself with how the more I learn about this fishing thing, the more I am realising as I get older that actually there’s more and more that ain’t ever going to be remotely definitive. I love this. I love the humility that fishing forces upon us, and my acceptance of this I suppose causes me to shy away from “experts”, a word that has always left me cold.

I am off to Ireland later on next week, but of course I am hoping that we trounce them in the last warm up game before the Rugby World Cup. Trounce them though? The power of positive thinking perhaps, because as much as I am looking forward to the tournament, wow there’s a lot about the England team and squad that worries me. A centre combination that has never played a full game of international rugby yet, with the World Cup just around the corner? Yes, I’m going to mention November 2003 again and our team of grizzled veterans standing astride the world of rugby like behemoths!! ‘Em were the days. Confidence in fishing but hope/blind faith with the rugby? We shall see……

Henry Gilbey11 Comments