Superstitions abound around which colors and sizes are best when choosing a lure or fly. “Match the hatch,” goes one old adage, which is to say, try to imitate the flies hatching in a body of water where fish (usually trout) are feeding on said flies hatching or laying eggs at the surface. The same goes elsewhere: If there are herring around, it’s a good bet to assume that the larger predators (say, striped bass) are eating them and not menhaden, for example, which might be out of season or simply not around at that given point in time.
Another theory, which is wholly contradictory, is to stand out. Simplistically, if there are lots of green fish swimming around, throw a pink lure and try to catch the eye of your target species off guard. What about quality, or specifically, attention to detail? Does it really matter how lifelike a lure is? Yes and no. Some of my simplest lures have caught more fish than the meticulously detailed lures, especially along the bottom in murky conditions with poor visibility where fish can’t see all that well anyhow. In others, such as dry fly fishing in gin-clear streams, a fly must be an immaculate imitation in order to even catch the attention of, let alone fool, a cunning trout.
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