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Jigs for Dummies: An Introduction To The Jig - Part II
on Friday 12 August 2011
by Eric

Color Selection, not so simplified….

There are such a gross myriad of lure colors available to the angler today that it’s no wonder why people are constantly confused as to what color to pick in any given circumstance.  There are literally hundreds of companies each manufacturing their own specific colors in God only knows how many different combinations.  How are you supposed to actually pick an appropriate color to fish with?  Does the color actually matter?
  
First, let’s start off by talking about the jig skirt.  The skirt, sans trailer, is the only portion of the jig that directly affects the overall color presentation of the lure.  Have you ever seen a living creature in the water that is only a single color?  I personally have never seen a solid green fish.  This is why I believe that in jigs, you do not need a ton of colors in your box.  You need a few very complex colors.  What this means is that in a single jig, I like to see several different complementary colors in the skirt.  The overall effect may be a brown or a green jig, but within that single jig there will be multiple shades and colors of green and or brown.  The overall effect that this gives is something on the bottom that looks much more lifelike than just a solid blob of green sitting there.
  
You’ll hear a lot of people saying to match the hatch.  I’m not necessarily a firm believer in this.  The lake I primarily fish has crawfish, but there is a very small population of them.  A jig is meant to mimic a crawfish.  I’ve had a single opportunity to actually handle one and examine it.  Honestly, I couldn’t tell you what color they are at what times of the year.  It was dead summer and this thing was pitch black.  Does that mean I should be throwing a black jig all the time during that part of the year?  My water for the most part is green tinged and fairly clear to semi-stained. Common thought would say that black would be one of the worst colors to throw in that situation.  I tend to agree.  I think it is far more important to match the surroundings that you’re fishing in.  Instead of strictly matching the hatch, try matching the cover.  If I’m fishing in vegetation, I’m going to throw a jig that is in the green family.  My second choice would be a lighter shade of brown.  The only time I’ll throw a pure black jig is in very heavy cover, extremely thick vegetation, or at night.  The caveat here of course is the black and blue jig.  Black and blue is arguably the most popular color jig on the market.  It stands out in almost any water color or condition.  Realistically speaking, you wouldn't necessarily throw that color jig in very clear water, yet people regularly do, and regularly catch fish on it.  Could this mean that we really don't know as much about colors as we think we do?  Maybe the bass just don't care.
  
Chromatowhat?  Oh, chromatophores.  What the heck is that?  Chromatophores are these tiny, light sensitive cells in the body of a crawfish that enable them to change skin color to match the surroundings that they spend most of their time in.  Most crustaceans, if not all of them have chromatophores.  The crawfish will still maintain its secondary colors such as blues, reds, oranges, etc.  These secondary colors are also found in the skirts of most jigs.  To me, this is mostly a crapshoot.  If you know the primary colors of the crawdads in your lake, you can really dial into a solid color pattern to use.

  
Take the old standby saying of darker water, darker lure color to heart.  In most cases this holds true.  Make sure you know the area you’re fishing though.  If you’re in rocks, pick a shade of lure that will match with the rocky bottom.  If you find yourself fishing in and around submerged vegetation, chose a complementary color to the environment.  You want your jig to stand out a little.  You don’t want it to sit there waving a giant flashing neon sign around announcing its presence.  Most aquatic animals tend to blend in with their surroundings somewhat.  Your jig should as well.  Remember, both color shade and contrasts are the main considerations when picking a jig color.  Don’t be afraid to experiment though.  Using a product such as JJ’s Magic to tip your jig trailer a different color can make all the difference in the world.





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