Do colors matter in carp fishing? What makes a fish pick up our hookbaits when they do? Is it the “smell” of our bait? Is it the size? Is it pure serendipity?
Recently, I’ve become a big believer in the effect colors have on carp. At the end of June I caught a 23lb carp from a place I call my “hard water”. The fish fell to a tigernut tipped with a piece of fake, white, banoffee flavored corn. As I packed up, happy as a clam on a seaweed based anti-depressant, I asked myself, “What factors caused this fish to take this hookbait?” I was fishing two rods that fateful morning, one on the tigernut + white corn combo, the other on maize. It would have made sense to pick up a fish on the maize rig as I had been feeding balls of groundbait that contained maize. In other words, the hookbait matched the freebies. Alternatively, if I had been feeding tigernuts and white corn, it would have made sense that the fish picked up the tigernut rig. The question rattled around in my mind for the rest of the day.
That evening, after the family was taken care of, I unloaded my gear from my car. I’ve learned the hard way to get all the wet stuff out of the car after each session to prevent the car from smelling like an aquarium. As I was hanging up my net to dry, I noticed three tiny black and white shells fall to the ground. Immediately the tiny white splotch on the shell stood out. Is this why the fish took the tigernut? Had I inadvertently “matched the hatch”? More importantly, is it possible to reproduce these results?
I was very sick for a week and any follow up investigation had to be postponed. For a few days I worried that I had contracted some sort of bacterial pond sinus infection which I deserved for wanting to fish so much. Eventually, the symptoms subsided and I stupidly decided I would push myself to join a friend for some carp fishing. Not long after arriving, I had a mid-teen common on the tigernut + white banoffee, building my confidence in that particular combo. After some time, we spotted some fish rolling a good ways out. I decided I would go for broke and try casting to these fish. On the hair, I put a 15mm white, milky toffee popup. My awkward cast got the rig out into a reasonable place. Imagine what it would look like if Napoleon Dynamite tried casting a carp rod as hard as he could. About the same time a small bass boat made its way through their favorite place, over my lines. I was certain he would snag me up and moments after laying my rod in the Delkim, the rod buckled over knocking over the tripod it was attached to. “He snagged me up!” I told my friend Mark. I could tell Mark was slightly infuriated as he picked up my second rod out of the water. The bass boat continued down its path and to my surprise the snagged up rod came to life. It was a fish and it must have picked up the white popup right after it had fallen into the water. I laughed hysterically as I played the fish, which I eventually lost. Even though the fish came off, I felt I had experienced something special. It was a near instant take and it was again on something white. Could it be that colors matter? Mark quoted the phrase, “You can use any color as long as it’s white.”
It’s not just these recent events that have made me a believer. Most of my catches this season have come on some combo that includes colored plastic. If you follow Kev Wasilewski (The Dark Carper), you may have read that he has been experiencing phenomenal success on brightly colored plastic baits alone. So, do colors have an affect on carp? I certainly think so.
I leave you with this. My mother-in-law, picked up this thermos in Maine for my birthday. She knows I am a mad keen fishing guy, but she had no idea I was into carp fishing. If you notice, the fish on the thermos are British coarse fish, one of those being our lovely carp. The fact that she was oblivious to my particularly esoteric taste in fishing yet still managed to get me this particular item is what I call serendipity.