By Gene Kira, Aug. 12, 2002, as published in Western Outdoor News:
During many hundreds of days of fishing with lures in Baja California waters, it's been fascinating to observe how color preferences can be so strong in fish, and how quickly those preferences can change, say, from dark colors one minute, to bright colors an hour later, and so forth.
It's impossible to predict exactly when and how these constantly-shifting color preferences will occur, but it's very clear that they do. Unless conditions are wide-open, lure color is an important factor in determining whether you get bit or not.
But on the other hand, it's also interesting how unimportant color is when you've lucked upon what I call a "super-lure." This is a lure that, for some unknown reason, simply kicks butt, and outfishes everything else you own, until you lose it.
Color doesn't seem to matter a bit with these super-lures.
Over the years, after going through hundreds of regular lures in Baja waters, I've had only three that I would confidently call "super-lures."
One was a plain chrome, 1.5-ounce Luhr Jensen Krocodile. It looked no different from the bazillions of Krocodiles that Luhr Jensen has stamped out since the last Ice Age, but for some reason, halibut just could not resist this particular example. If there was a halibut around, this lure would snag it. It wasn't special on any other species. Just halibut. After catching scores of halibut on it over a five-year period, I finally lost it in a "blaze of glory"--six halibut on six straight casts from the beach--at the very remote little cove of San Roque, just north of Bahia Asuncion.
Another Baja super-lure I had was a Neanderthal, one-pound Bridgeport Diamond Jig. Again, in plain chrome, and again seemingly identical in every way to all its brethren. This incredibly dumb-looking (but deadly effective) lure is little more than a vertical hunk of metal that goes straight up and down like a plumb bob. No "action" whatsoever. How could one example be any better than the others? Yet, this super jig was so good it seemed to force bottom fish to take a bite. It was so good, I brought it out only for emergencies, when there was serious risk of being skunked for the day--and it never once failed. I always tied it on with a five-foot Bimini Twist, but nevertheless, it was finally lost when something "big" broke 80-pound mono at the northeast corner of Isla Angel de la Guarda.
But the most notable and educational super-lure I ever had was a four-and-a-half-inch Jointed Rebel Fastrac, and it taught something about the strong influence of unknown lure characteristics that don't involve color.
This lure started out with a classic black back and gold belly, but the first minute I used it--trolling around Punta Final with the legendary Neil Kelly--I knew it was "different."
With two lures out, it would get the first hit no matter what. After half an hour, Neil started to grumble. He started changing lures every two minutes. Finally, he tied on his "secret weapon" hand-painted green Rebel with red stripes and yellow dots. Nothing worked. All afternoon, my super lure beat whatever Neil pulled out of his tackle box.
I put that lure in its own Tupperware container for safe-keeping, and I only brought it out for "dire emergencies" (such as being up against Neil). Eventually, every last speck of paint was chewed off it, and it was worn down to smooth, snowy white plastic. But it kept working just like the day it was new. By the time it was finally broken in half--right at Punta Final as it turned out--this little jointed bass plug had caught several hundred fish all over Baja.
Clearly, this super-Rebel's color had nothing at all to do with its unusual effectiveness. There was something else going on that you couldn't see or feel. I'd also be willing to bet that my super-Krocodile and super-Diamond Jig could have been any color of the rainbow without affecting their performance. When it comes to these mysterious, rare, and wonderful "super-lures," color doesn't seem to matter at all.
(Related Baja California, Mexico, articles and reports may be found at Mexfish.com's main Baja California information page. See weekly fishing news, photos, and reports from the major sportfishing vacation areas of Mexico including the Baja California area in "Mexico Fishing News.")