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NPS Member Question:
Do you ever use glow in the dark paint or glow in the dark baits for fishing? If so when is the best time to use them and for what species?
Abu Garcia and Berkley Pro Staff Member Michael Snook of Halfmoon Bay, BC, offers the following answer:
Choosing to use glow lures is like choosing which colour or size of lure to use - it depends on species and conditions. It can be very useful. We're still learning about how fish see, but under some conditions, glow-in-the-dark certainly appears to make a difference. Fishing for species that are highly sight-oriented predators - walleye for instance, or their cousins the perch - is often affected by clarity of water and light conditions. If the water is murky and the light levels are low, I will often try glow baits. Less can be more when you do this. Sometimes adding a single 3 mm glow bead to a live bait walleye rig is enough to give the fish a "target". Jigs that mix a bit of glow in with other colours are equally effective. Given the sight advantage that walleye have, and the fact they take advantage of their light sensitive eyes to successfully feed in low light conditions, this makes a lot of sense.
I've found glow to be particularly useful ice-fishing for perch, walleye, tullibee (cisco) and whitefish. Light levels are reduced by snow and ice cover, and a bit of glow works as an attractor and a target.
On the other hand, I've cast to various species with lures that are generously painted with glow, and even under murky and low light conditions had not a strike. Some anglers say too much glow will actually scare a fish off. I don't think there's any way to prove this, but I do know that more is not always better.
I haven't found glow to be particularly effective on fish like northern pike, which seem more oriented to sound and vibration than sight cues. I've watched pike swim a long way - 50 feet or more - to take a floating minnow bait that I was popping under the surface on my retrieve, swim up under the bait and just hammer it, even in low light conditions. I've never had more success on pike with glow lures than without.
Fluorescent and glow colours are successfully used on a number of trout and salmon species as well. In the case of trout, for instance, these are fish that can pick off a bug the size of a gnat on the surface with great precision, so sight is an important element in how they behave as predators. Fishing for them below the surface using glow, in stained or murky water, can definitely help.
As anglers, we use glow, colour, shape, vibration, flash, sound and scent to appeal to the senses of predatory sport fish. The more we know about how a species hunts for its food, and how light and water conditions affect that, the better equipped we are to figure out what "ingredients" will work best. Glow is one of them.
Abu Garcia and Berkley Pro Staff Member Pierre LaFrance of Aylmer, PQ, offers the following response:
A setup that I use when fishing for both walleye and for panfish is to tip a glow in the dark jig head (sized to the species) with a Berkley Power Grub (2 inch for panfish and the 3 or 4 inch models for walleye) and a Berkley Powerbait Chroma-Glow Crappie Nibble at the same time. After threading the grub on the hook shank, I place the glow in the dark nibble right below the hook's barb.
This setup covers many bases. The vibration of the grub's tail act as an attractor as the fish can sense them with their lateral line. The scent of the Powerbait also help attract the fish and its flavor keeps the fish holding on longer when they bite thus giving the angler more time to set (or sweep set) the hook. The nibble actually slowly dissolves gradually in the water leaving a scent trail. They were designed with crappie in mind, but I also use them when fishing for all types of panfish and walleyes when using this method. Last but not least, this presentation offers two glow in the dark targets and a moving tail for the fish to visually home in on.
Another recent addition to the Berkley lineup that is also a glow in the dark product are the Berkley Walleye Rigs with Indiana blades or hooks that glow. They are available in different styles but my favorite comes with a number 4 blade and is a double hook model with 12 lb Berkley Trilene XT line.
So next time you are facing a tough bite in low light or low water clarity conditions, give these two suggestions a try, their glow in the dark finishes may give you the edge needed to turn your day around.
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See You On The Water,
The Pure Fishing Team