This Is When To Use Light Colored Vs Dark Colored Lures


Fish key in on movement and vibrations to track their prey.

And using a dark or light color of lure aids in how they see your baits underwater.

So when should you use a light color versus a dark color lure?

In this video, you’ll see:

  • Scenarios for dark colored lures
  • Scenarios for light colored lures
  • How fish see your lure color underwater
  • And more

Check out the video below!

Light Vs Dark Colored Lures [VIDEO]

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When To Use Dark Colored Lures

Dark lures create contrast and work especially well in dirty, murky water.

If you’re fishing a flat that is traditionally dirty like a mud flat or there’s been a ton of rain, use a darker colored lure.

In this scenario, fish aren’t necessarily hunting by what they can distinctly see.

They are looking for shadows and contrast in the water.

And they’ll key in on vibration and scent.

A dark lure creates a silhouette in dirty water for fish to strike!

When To Use Light Colored Lures

In clear water and calm conditions when fish are hunting by what they can see, a lighter color or slightly transparent lure works well.

Fish will key in on the features and action of the lure.

These lighter colored lures are subtle enough not to spook fish but noticeable enough to elicit a strike.

And when you’re in doubt, use a white colored bait that will contrast really great in both scenarios.

Here are the lures mentioned in this video:

And here’s a color chart to help you see how lure color is affected by water clarity and water depth:

lure color chart


This is a complex subject and a ton of research went into choosing the colors of our new lures, F.R.E.D. and Gold Digger, based on being able to fish each lure in different conditions.

And knowing when to use the lighter color versus the darker color lure will greatly help your chances of catching fish in all scenarios!

What is your favorite color of lure to use in dirty water?

And what about in clear water?

Let me know down in the comments.

And if you know someone who wants to learn more about when to use different colored lures, please TAG or SHARE this with them!

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Rex Russo
1 year ago

I have also read that it’s a good idea to have a color that only slightly contrasts against a bottom when fishing for down looking fish (trout, reds). I guess that’s where a “new penny” color for murky bottom, or greenish color on grass, or white on a light sand bottom, might shine best. The reasoning, I suppose is that bait tend to want to blend in — camouflage. Is that correct in your opinion?

Garrett Walker
1 year ago
Reply to  Rex Russo

@justin talks about this in his most recent insider report and agrees with you.

Ron Langford
1 year ago

Good stuff Wyatt, does your dirty water color ideas include early morning before sun comes up (dark) ? I do well early morning in the summer with white jerk shads or paddle tails, should I try darker colors? Thanks Ron

1 year ago

Can’t see taking the tail off a good swimbait if you have flukes! I have wondered why, if injured fish swim on their side most of the time, why aren’t paddletails made in that color combo ; wider than tall and light and dark colors visible from above and below??

Bill Poletti
1 year ago

Thanks, Wyatt.

IT WOULD SEEM that if the color of the primary prey / food for a target species is white or gray, then the lure should be of the same color to reflect the same amount of light at a given depth. The color of the water should tint the reflected light from the lure in the same way as it would tint the natural bait. IT WOULD SEEM.

But that hardly explains the effectiveness of some of the more bizarrely colored lures that catch fish. Just what does a purple and orange rubber skirted spinner bait represent when a snook goes after it? LOL!!

Using the color chart, F.R.E.D. is good because the chart indicates that it will probably an off-white or pink shrimp color when it’s down a couple of feet, especially in off-color water. But that should “match the hatch.”

The color chart is priceless from the perspective that we can create a similar bait profile / presence at a given depth.

Has science revealed what colors or shades fish see? What part of the light spectrum is visible to fish?

Russell Bratcher
1 year ago

This is the same idea in pretty much any type of fishing salt or fresh water. I’ve also had luck reversing this theory at times

David Carrizales
1 year ago

I have always used live bait
I just got my lures fred and gold diger will definitely try them

John R Arnett
1 year ago

I use paddle tails exclusively and have tried and caught fish on all colors but by far have caught the most fish on pearl white.i think it is what you have the most confidence in.

John Long
1 year ago

Thanks Mr. Wyatt! Great tips. I’m a proud Salt Strong Insider member and the tackle research and designs are awesome! I can’t wait to get the new lures. Being a new kayak fisherman I appreciate the tips. I am truly blessed to have this fishing club.

Jack Dickerson
1 year ago

Wyatt, that is the way I was taught and what I have experienced. Dark colors for dark water, and light colors for clear water. White is sort of a universal color. I prefer white Gulp baits when I am using white baits. As far as dark baits I like root beer and purple colors. Wyatt, can you do a video on how to properly set the drag on a spinning reel?

1 year ago

First I’m a newer member and love the membership. It’s saved me and cost me so much lol, Can’t beat 20% off The Daiwas!!
Great video and practice pretty much everything you said. I love the slam Shady. One thing I’ve found that seems like an all around color especially where I fish “Crystal River” is new penny. I’d love for y’all to test and produce one. It’s a killer!


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