Do fish see colors?

This time I will go down to the deeper questions an angler can have! I’m very sure that this “puzzle” has bothered all of us, once upon a time! The interesting thing is that this question has only two answers, “Yes” and “No” with very fanatic followers for each answer. There are so many times that I have to “fight” such comments in my You Tube Channel, especially on videos that have to do with lure colors!

“Colors are for the anglers, not the fish!”

That saying is probably the one I hear most! It means that companies produce colors just to allure the anglers to buy, but the fish don’t care! It doesn’t matter if we talk about hardlures, jigs, soft baits etc. No! There is a group of anglers that deny the fact that fish can actually recognize colors, and fight this theory to the limit. Yes, both answers to the question “if fish can distinguish colors” are just theories! Only a fish can tell us for sure, and until we discover the fish translator we will have to stay with the facts. Let’s see them!

Fact No 1: Same lure in two different colors.

Most anglers have noticed during their fishing that changing color from a cast to another can trigger an attack. Now be careful! We talk on THE SAME MODEL of lure, so to have exact action! So let’s say that we have a lure, for example a Jerk minnow 175 in “Basic Atherina” and “Basic Sardine” colors. Two natural close colors, one that has more green on it and one that has more blue. There are times that one works much better than the other, and times all the way around. But if fish could not see colors, then they should be equally effective or ineffective. Same goes with jigs that are more “reaction” lures! There are days that blue and green are “killers” and days that “pink” has the first word! Who angler can say that never experienced color preferences from fish in various places and situations?


Fact No 2: The light conditions and the colors.

Who can deny the fact that in lower light conditions, some colors do make the difference? Yellow, orange, white are just some of them that can boost our “catches” on specific hours!

Fact No 3: Some very dangerous sea creatures have very vivid colors to warn other fish to stay away or they might have to deal with a deadly bite or sting! The Lion Fish and the Blue Ringed Octopus are two known examples. But if fish could not see colors, these warning vivid colored signs would be pointless. Right?

Facts that prove that fish are not able to see colors: None!

If fish can’t see colors, why pink belly is so damn effective?

An observation Being all my life very observative, I made a plan and started to “investigate” on people that support the “No” theory! Here comes the interesting part! Most of them were anglers without any significant catches, but ALL without specialized gear and with a limited range of lures. I know this sounds a bit bad, but probably even me, if I was living in a world with millions of nice colored lures, and could not afford or was not able for other reasons to get as much as possible, probably I would also try to convince myself that colors are just a selling trick! The same of course goes for “Scrooge” people that simply do not want to spend even if they afford to!

It is a world of colors!

So do fish see colors?

I can’t say, simply because I’m not a fish! But I’m very confident that fish have the ability to distinguish colors or are able to see color shades. We know that they react to UV colors; we all had incidents that we experienced continuous strikes on specific colors at specific days, and this is why some of us do have favorite colorations. It is true that especially in deeper waters, (more than 100m) the colors of the sunlight are filtered completely and this is why all fish have red colors in general. The first color that is filtered in 10 meters of water is red and is very common for a spear gun fisherman to see “green” blood after a shot on a fish, deeper than 10m. But here we do not talk about deep offshore fishing! After all, what would be the beauty of fishing if we did not had the chance to experiment and observe? It is a colored world after all!