BassParade: Science

Science: UV Baits

How about them worms?

Lots of neat ideas come out of the bassin’ world every year, usually around ICAST time. It’s always interesting to see what catches on and what doesn’t.

Things like red hooks certainly had a following. Same could be said for the introduction of ‘sexy shad’ colored baits. Then there are things like Gulp, Attraxx and other Bio baits…and how about sound attraction like the Hydrowave units.

I was browsing through the Bass Pro catalog this weekend when the UV spray caught my eye. Been a bit since that was introduced, still in the catalog though. Remember those Tightlines worms?

So I dug through some of my UV research material and came up with a few tidbits to share.

  •  There are three types of ultraviolet radiation: UV-A (315-400nm), UV-B (280-315 nm) and UV-C (200-280 nm), though most of the UV-C radiation is absorbed by stratospheric ozone.
  • There is generally a direct correlation between the amount of dissolved organic matter (DOM) in the water and how far UV light can penetrate, since fresh DOM has high UVR absorbance.
  • Even in very clear freshwater lakes (visibility to 30′), approx. 90% of all irradiance (light attenuation at 320 nm – longer wave UVA) is absorbed in the first 1.5 meters of depth.
  • Even early in the season when DOM tends to be low, the 1% attenuation depth (the depth at which just 1% of the UV rays remain) is approx. 8′-9′, and gets shallower as the year goes on.
  • Research suggests that only the youngest (yearling) bass have the ability to utilize UV reception, and that older bass lose that ability.

So the question today is who has given UV baits or sprays a try out there, and do you believe they made a difference (good or bad) in your bass fishing? If you haven’t tried them, why not? Do you believe or do you think it’s hype?



  1. Bass Pundit

    September 12, 2011 at 7:27 am

    I respect the heck out of Brent Chapman, but I think it’s just hype.

  2. Rich Arnold

    September 12, 2011 at 8:08 am

    I was introduced to the UV stuff at a Bass University seminar. It seemed like a great idea and the presentation of the material piqued my interest. I bought the UV spray and tried it in both clear and stained water during the day light…nothing! So I figured maybe if I tried it on the ledges at night in deeper water….nope! The stuff is a gimmick in my opinion. I believe a good scent will give you better results than the UV spray. Count me as a nonbeliever.

  3. Chad Keogh

    September 12, 2011 at 8:16 am

    Hype. You’re trying to immitate baitfish or other creatures that bass eat, and how many of them glow like they’ve been sprayed with UV gunk? Rub some Smelly Jelly on your lures and at least then you really will catch more bass.

  4. Dwain

    September 12, 2011 at 10:58 am

    Seems like to me something to make your baits not reflect the UV light would be better, to make them look nautural IMO

  5. BryanT

    September 12, 2011 at 11:10 am

    I’ve caught fish on shoelaces. Pretty sure UV isn’t a big factor when a fish eats.

  6. Flip 'N' Pitch

    September 12, 2011 at 4:00 pm

    The answer you probably hate to hear is “Well, it depends” but that’s where I’ve arrived at this point in my journey. I’m currently reading Dr. Keith Jones’ “Knowing Bass” book which is very interesting (but I am a Biology geek so?). As you’ve heard me say before, there are lures that catch fish and lures that catch fisherman. Vision and light absorption are too complicated and lenghty for this small of an entry space but for example, bass are only capable of “smelling/tasting” water soluble compounds. Oil and water obviously don’t mix so how does the legendary “WD-40 sprayed on your lure drives bass wild” overcome the laws of chemistry if the bass can’t smell/taste it? Only time and hindsight will tell until someone figures out how to ask the bass their opinion on the matter. Even then, you what they say about opinions and bass holes! 😉

    • Dwain

      September 14, 2011 at 1:21 am

      I like that book, especially the section on how bass see color

  7. Alex Voog

    September 14, 2011 at 11:52 am

    I too was at a BASSU seminar, and was given some UV baits. Bryon Velvick said he’d been using them with good success in shallow water, on bedding fish. Taking into account the UV penetration numbers above, I believe their effectiveness as UV baits would be all but lost below 7-8 feet. There may well be times/water and/or light conditions that they work better than traditional plastics, but as I tell people all the time, “put it in front of them and any ‘respectable’ (amongst his peers) bass is GOING TO eat it.”

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The best, worst and funniest in bassin'! Jay Kumar is the guy who created, co-hosted Loudmouth Bass with Zona, was a B.A.S.S. senior writer and a whole lot more in bassin™. Make sure you sign up for the BassBlaster email!

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