A lot about color has to do with the type of water being fished. The darker the water the lighter colors show up better to us, but maybe not the fish. If you think about the color of the prey for you’re fishing target, you realize the prey are trying to hide and may be darker than the bait you are using. The key may be to mimic the prey and add a little flash or color to attract attention. I love a new penny color soft bait, especially shrimp mimic. You may find adding a yellow or chartreuse jig head will give you all the color you need to attract a target fish. A small flasher on the jig head would be another way to attract fish to you’re bait. They make plain hooks with small flashers as well as jig heads so choose the best for your conditions. During certain times like the mullet runs, you may want to mimic a mullet which would be grey, siver and black with a little white. This can also be accentuated with a flash or color enhancement.
Sometimes the maximum flash is desirable, and for this you may go with silver or gold. This is especially pertinent with pelagic fish that swim faster and attack out of reflex. Trolling a spoon or even a lure are good examples of this type of bite. A good black or green back silver sided plug works great if it swims within the range of water you’re in. Some slower fish need a little more color to entice the bite. Grouper often prefer an electric chicken style with lots of color to achieve a good bite. Deep jigging also may take a little more color even though this is often reflex biting.
Of coarse with live bait adding a little red usually helps. A red head jig can be the best way to accomplish this effect. There are ideas to add red into live or dead bait like a small piece of red cloth on the side of the bait. I have seen when grouper would not hit a healthy live penn fish, but step on the tail and get a little blood or oil on the side would drive them crazy.
Recently I have heard of techniques to add color to hard baits with a little spray paint. This is not for the novice as you would need to remove hooks for this technique. A highlighter could also do the trick if the marker were permanent. The trick is to not go too far with color as the bait fish you are mimicking would not be too dark or light.
So you can see the pro versus the backyard paint difference. Just adding a little chartreuse to a lure is a little easier than a full paint job and a lot less expensive. A good clear coat can make a big difference in the flash of the lure as well. Just remember sometimes less is more and you want to copy the bait that fish are already feeding on. Check these deals.