For Justin Duggan, predicting which colour of lure will be on the hook-up money on any given fishing day will never be an exact science.
We all have a “nutty professor” angling mate. His laboratory is the deck of a boat. Bunsen burners and flasks are replaced with an assortment of coloured lures, hooks, lines and high-tech fish finders. Experiments are conducted with every cast, pass of the boat, retrieve, hook-up or missed bite. Our crazed scientist gathers data, not on a computer, but in his mind.
More than 20 minutes without a bite on the pink lure is hard evidence and becomes the latest law of fishing physics: “Pink won’t work”. Within two casts, a chartreuse lure buckles the rod over and we have the new law: “If it ain’t Chartreuse, it ain’t no use”. A simple success often sees the nutty professor broadcasting his discoveries far and wide for every angler to hear — perhaps even written into fishing print, etched in hard copy and burned into anglers’ minds as “fact”.
Here’s why I have so many issues with hard rules about lure colours from nutty fishing professors.
Firstly, it takes thousands of carefully designed and controlled experiments to build hardened data. It’s simply not possible in most fishing situations to control the environment anywhere near the degree needed to build conclusive rules about lure choice. The angle the sun hits a lure at a precise moment can be the difference between bite and refusal.
Was the fish above, below, behind or in front of the lure relating to the light when it bit? Did you record that evidence? Of course not. You were not underwater and you couldn’t interview the fish. Was the fish that ate your chosen colour the only hungry one in the school while the other five fish were full and didn’t want your previous lure colour (now destined for the bottom of the tackle bag)?
I could write a book on factors that prevent us being conclusive when it comes to lure style and colour. There are no absolutes, just educated guesses and a healthy dose of “nutty professor” folklore. I’ll back presentation over lure colour most days of the week, with the rarest exceptions. Next time you catch 10 fish in a row on a specific- coloured lure, remember: in angling, just like science, correlation does not equal causation.