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Lure color, jig head weight are important

December 29, 2017
By Capt. GEORGE TUNISON , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

Lure color choices are often a hotly debated topic among anglers. Everyone has their favorite that's served them well in the past. Retail sales show that the standard two-color lure, a white body with a red head, is still the number one best-selling lure color in the USA.

Some believe the color is less important than action and if the fish are in an aggressive eating mood I would tend to agree. Unfortu-nately for most anglers, fish are not always eating and chasing bait on your work or personal schedule and are often found in a neutral mood due to tidal or weather conditions or have recently eaten and are simply full.

At times like these the angler needs every trick in his arsenal to put fish on the hook.

Another scenario would be when fish are keying on one particular food source. In this case, matching color and size puts the odds in your favor.

A good example of this tunnel vision is huge tarpon gorging on clouds of tiny glass minnows, shunning all other baits. In that case a very small, clear/silver fly would probably be the optimum choice.

On trout (lure) charters, I always start by having the anglers throw different colored jigs to see if color makes a difference. On two of three trips this week color made a huge difference with the fish only interested in gold and nothing else.

These were big schools of trout and obviously hungry and competitive as every time a gold lure was presented, it was inhaled or at least hit hard. Silver, brown, green - no interest at all or only a halfhearted peck at the moving bait.

On the third trip color made little difference.

My soft plastic jig box contains 8 differently colored baits for changing water conditions. If forced to pick the two top producers, it would be gold and silver with snook wanting silver and redfish and trout preferring gold.

When faced with brown tannin stained water, I automatically choose gold. In clearer water near the Gulf, silver is a better choice. Muddy waters? Chartreuse with gold flecks has served me well.

Some anglers prefer to match the jig head color to the body color with others using the two tone approach as in the previously mentioned red and white lure.

Anglers that like to match the jig head color with the body color believe it presents a more natural appearance. The other side believes the two-color approach makes the lure more visible drawing more strikes.

Jig head weight is important, too. Use enough jig weight to get the lure moving along the bottom and heavy enough that you can get a good feel for what the lure is doing and touching. Too much weight and the jig constantly hangs in the grass.

A jig head that's too light often won't bring out the tail action on most soft plastic minnow baits.

With cold water, I like keeping the bait near bottom. At other times using a lighter jig head allows you to target fish suspended higher in the water column.

After making color and weight choices, always attach your jig to your leader with a loop knot. Make sure that when you finish the loop knot and trim it, the tag end should always face rearward. A knot with the tag end facing forward is a grass catcher.

When cold weather finally sets in here in Southwest Florida (visitors from Minnesota are laughing) and schools of trout move to river channels and deep basins and suspend, often a cast and retrieved lure is just too fast. Put a tiny curly tail Mr. Twister on a long leader with a float (better, a slip bobber rig), toss it out and let it sit. The wind and wave action on the float will give the jig below life without the fish having to chase.

Capt. George Tunison is a Cape Coral resident fishing guide. Contact him at 239-440-1621 or captgeoget3



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