There are a lot of reasons and ways you can utilize to pick bait color. Old standby guidelines such as lighter colors on bright days, and darker colors on dark days. How about natural hues like greens and browns in clear water, and darker colors like blacks and blues in more stained water…and don’t foget match the hatch.
Here’s another way to toss in the mix – perhaps call it the scientific reasoning way?
Yes, bass are opportunistic feeders, but a number of studies have shown that there might be some preferential feeding going on when bass have the option of feeding on both green sunfish and bluegill. In the most recent study I saw, bass were able to successfully feed on green sunfish faster than on similar sized bluegill.
In fact, they could eat larger green sunfish faster than they could eat the smallest bluegill tested. The theory is that bass will eat whatever prey item gives them the most benefit for the least amount of energy expended. In this instance, green sunfish are more rounded and not as deep-bodied, and the thought is this might explain why a bass can eat one so much faster than it can a similar sized bluegill. As such, eating a large green sunfish would outweigh the benefits of a smaller bluegill.
Back to how this ties in with bait color selection? Next time you’re on a lake where bluegill might be the dominant forage, try throwing a green sunfish color, something like a rootbeer chartreuse. It’s a killer on my local reservoir – might be on yours, too.