Fish Can't See Red?
I Beg to Differ!
By Capt. John King

5/5/09 New Buffalo

7/13/09 Manistee

8/31/09 Manistee

9/22/09 Manistee

10/1/09 Manistee

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Information, or Misinformation?

Many false myths are so deeply rooted they've became woven into the fabric of our fishery. The absolute worse one is: fish can't see red!  This false statement has been blown out of proportion.  With some blinding believing in it like cult member.  Cuz, it takes blind faith to keep this fairy tale alive. 

Much of this misinformation dates back to an article stating red was the first color that disappeared from the human vision spectrum and could not be seen in the water below 50'. Rather than arguing a moot point, please let the 5 above photographs disprove the grossly incorrect theory of fish not seeing red.

It's flawed logic to apply what we know about humanoid vision to what fish can see.  Our human retina has 3 color receptors.  That being red, green and blue.  Fish can have 6 to 9 color receptors compared to the red, green and blue (RGB) we people have. 

What's my point? one has the slightest clue about how fish view their environment.  Only pie in the sky theories that did not come from being on the Great Lakes since 1968 over a fishing career that spans 4 decades and counting mine.  Fish sight is infinitely different from ours. 

Starting with a fish-eye lens popular with camera buffs that distort everything into a semi-circle.  Over thinking what a fish and fish can, or cannot see is a complete total waste of time.  Seeing what's hanging from their chops when the fish is in the net not!






Photo Factoids

Explanation of the photos begins with the wide variant of dates and the missing dates of prime time last couple weeks of July and mostly all of August.  This is the busy time in the tackle business.  For me in prime time is usually out of the question.  During season we ship same day.  This can only be accomplished by not being on the water.

The setup on most of the above pictures is (with exception of the 5/5/09) all fish were caught in the 60' depths, or deeper down to 150'.  Once again dispelling the myth red can't been seen, or washes out to black once you get down over 50' deep.  News for you, I had black stuff down that didn't get bit.  Water temp in most every case was 38 to 48 degrees and troll speed was 2.3 to 1.5 mph.

You might have noticed a large percentage of the above images are from September leading into October. These months are the beginning of the off season in tackle manufacturing.  Allowing me to get some water time and take a step back from the hectic full throttle July-August crushing work load.

My 2010 season begins in early fall by laying the groundwork with "on the water" data of what's good.  Over time and when I assembled 2009 season's photos I noticed a common reoccurring theme.  That being ...most of my fish boxes were built with the color red in some way, shape, or form during the entire course of the 2009 season.

Leland Puke BTI Flasher






This pattern is just an expanded version of the normal Monkey Puke with candy apple red, copper, or Aztec gold with silver.  Only the painted side is more maxed out with red and copper and the backside being full silver-scale.  Strong point of the Leland Puke?'s equally good with meat rigs or trolling flies as the above images clearly prove.

Truthfully, I've never had any fondness for the Monkey Puke colors.  Whether regular, or the Leland Puke.  Naming anything "puke" is kinda vile and disgusting when you get right down to it.  In the lore of naming lure colors I think the anonymous fisherman that first came up with the monkey puke name might have sucked down one too many brown bottles.

Then, there's major issues of painting which requires many passes of an air brush to get the correct red copper-gold effect.  This is triple true when it comes to the awkward to paint Leland Puke where the base color of copper is very dark already.  Turning dark copper to candy red is very time consuming.  Candy red was made to spray over a lighter silver base, not copper, or gold.

In the case of the Leland Puke this product testing began in July 2009 with various test versions being sent to Leland, MI charter skippers,  Bill Wright, Jim Munoz and Bob Smith (who fishes out of Glen Arbor, MI).  These 3 captains bring to the table a good 100 years of combined Great Lakes experience.  So, their judgment is highly respected and more than qualified to make calls on winners, or losers!

Personally, I never got behind the Leland Puke color until I fished it in head to head contests vs. my tried and true standbys.  Seeing the results won me over fish at a time.  Based on water time per rod in the water nothing out produced this BTI 10" flasher in Sept. & Oct. 2009 aboard my boat. 

Worthy to note: all bites were off peak later morning thru mid day bites.  Testing tackle when the fish are on the hard early morning stupid bite does little to sort the wheat from the chaff.

Click for part 2 & 2010 Monkey Puke Meat Rig Info

Looking to purchase tackle that works?  Then click here!

MichiganSportsman Copyrightę1999-2009
Article completed on 11/22/09

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