Best Bait & Lure Colors for Striped Bass Fishing

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Video best color lures for striped bass

Understanding how striped bass see colors and selecting the right bait colors based on the fishing conditions can determine your success in catching fish or returning empty-handed. So what are the optimal bait colors to use when targeting stripers?

The best bait colors for striped bass depend on the fishing conditions. In clear water and sunny conditions, natural colors like ghost, clear, browns, and olives are effective. Under overcast skies or muddy water, bright colors like whites, chartreuses, and reds tend to work better.

Specific lures to consider include the Keitech Fat Swing Impact and Easy Shiners in appropriate sizes and colors. In this article, we will break down the best colors for each light, water clarity, and time of day condition you will face when striper fishing.

big swimbaits for striped bass

Seasonal Breakdown: Bait Colors

Winter

In winter, striped bass tend to feed less actively and prefer slow-moving baits, so using lures that imitate their natural prey and are darker in color can be effective. Some recommended lures for striped bass in winter include the Sebile Magic Swimmer in Olive Shiner or Natural Shiner color and the Yo-Zuri Mag Darter in Blue or Silver color.

Spring

Striped bass can be more active and aggressive in spring, making bright and flashy lures effective. Some recommended lures for striped bass in the spring include the Yo-Zuri Crystal Minnow in Silver/Black, the Daiwa SP Minnow in Bone/Silver, and the Storm Wildeye Swim Shad in Pearl. These lures should be in sizes ranging from 4-7 inches to match the size of the baitfish in the water.

Summer

During the summer, striped bass tend to feed aggressively on baitfish, so lures that mimic their natural prey are often the most effective. Some recommended options include the Storm WildEye Swim Shad in Pearl, Blue Back Herring or Chartreuse, the Heddon Super Spook in Bone or Silver, and the Rapala X-Rap in Silver or Gold with Black Back. Sizes can vary depending on the size of the baitfish in the area but typically range from 4 to 7 inches.

Fall

In the fall, striped bass tend to feed more heavily as they prepare for the winter months. Therefore, it can be effective to use larger lures with natural colors that mimic the baitfish in the area. Some recommended lures include the Daiwa Salt Pro Minnow in “Green Mackerel” or the Yo-Zuri Crystal Minnow in “Silver/Black Back”.

Check out this link here to view my complete bass fishing gear recommendation list, including rods, reels, baits, gear, etc. I have field tested a lot of bass gear and these are my recommendations.

Freshwater vs. Saltwater Striped Bass: Color Preferences

For freshwater striped bass, the best bait colors are usually natural colors like silver or gold. Popular lures for freshwater striped bass include the Heddon Super Spook Jr. in silver or gold and the Rapala X-Rap in gold or silver.

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For saltwater striped bass, bright colors like chartreuse and white are effective, with popular lures including the Bomber Saltwater Grade Badonk-A-Donk in chartreuse and the Daiwa Salt Pro Minnow in white.

“Wiper”/Hybrid Striped Bass

Hybrid striped bass or wipers are known for their aggressive feeding behavior and can be caught on various lures. For these fish, popular lure options include crankbaits, swimbaits, and jigs.

When it comes to color selection, natural hues like silver, white, and shad patterns tend to be effective, as well as chartreuse and yellow, for attention. In terms of size, it’s best to match the size of your lure to the size of the baitfish in the water you’re fishing.

Striped Bass Color Guidelines

In general, brighter colors like chartreuse, white, and yellow work well in murky water or low-light conditions, while more natural colors like green, brown, and silver can be effective in clear water. It’s also important to consider the size and type of baitfish present in the area when selecting the size and color of your bait or lure.

Water Clarity & Bait Colors

Water clarity is an important factor to consider when selecting bait colors for striped bass fishing. In clear water, natural colors or bright colors that mimic the baitfish are effective, while in murky water, darker and brighter colors with more contrast are more visible.

Clear Water Striped Bass Fishing: Color Selection

In clear water, natural colors like silver, white, and shad imitations work well for striped bass. Other effective colors include translucent or clear lures and those with a more natural, subtle finish. Some recommended lures for clear water striped bass fishing include the Bomber Long A, the Rapala X-Rap, and the Zara Spook. Sizes can vary but typically range from 3 to 6 inches in length.

Muddy Water Striped Bass Fishing: Color Selection

In muddy water, it’s best to use bright or dark-colored lures that create a lot of vibration to help the fish locate the bait. Some effective colors for striped bass in muddy water include chartreuse, fluorescent orange, and black. Lures such as the Bomber Saltwater Grade Badonk-A-Donk or the Strike King Redfish Magic are good options in these conditions.

Light Conditions & Bait Colors

Selecting visible baits that stand out in the water can be crucial for successful striped bass fishing, especially in water with low visibility or clarity. Using baits with colors that contrast with the surrounding water can help make them more noticeable and increase the chances of attracting bites.

Clear, Sunny Striped Bass Fishing: Color Selection

For bright, sunny day striped bass fishing, natural colors like shad and baitfish patterns work well, as well as brighter colors like chartreuse and white. A Keitech Fat Swing Impact in the 3.8 to 4.8-inch size and a color like Silver Flash Minnow or Ayu, or an Easy Shiner in the 4 to 5-inch size in Pearl or Chartreuse Shad can be effective.

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Cloudy/Overcast Striped Bass Fishing: Color Selection

On cloudy, overcast days, it’s best to use darker and more natural colors such as black, brown, and green. For swimbaits, Keitech Fat Swing Impact in Green Pumpkin and Easy Shiner in Smoke Shad or Pro Blue Red Pearl in 4-5 inch sizes can be effective in cloudy water conditions for striped bass fishing.

Night Striped Bass Fishing: Color Selection

For night striped bass fishing, it is recommended to use dark-colored swimbaits with a lot of contrast, such as black and purple or black and blue. The Keitech Fat Swing Impact in black or purple or the Easy Shiner in black and blue are great options. A size range between 3-5 inches is recommended.

Striped Bass Behavior & Bait Colors

When the fish are more active and aggressively feeding, it may be beneficial to use brighter and more vibrant colors to attract their attention. When the fish are more lethargic, it may be better to use more natural or subtle colors to entice them to bite.

Best Colors for Active Feeding Times (early mornings & late afternoons)

During peak striped bass fishing windows, it is best to use bright and vibrant colors that mimic the prey fish in the area.

Some recommended hard swimbaits include Yo-Zuri Mag Darter and Rapala X-Rap while some recommended soft swimbaits include Zoom Super Fluke and Berkley Gulp! Jerk Shad. Effective colors for these baits include chartreuse, silver, and blue.

Best Colors for Slow Feeding Times (middle of the day & early afternoons)

During less active striped bass fishing daily windows, using more natural and subtle colors such as green, brown, and silver is best. Soft plastic swimbaits in these colors, such as the Zoom Super Fluke or the Strike King Rage Swimmer, can be effective.

Natural Colors for Striped Bass

Natural colors can be very effective for striped bass fishing, especially in clear water and on sunny days. Lighter colors like silver, white, and beige can mimic the natural prey of striped bass, such as herring and shad.

It’s important to match the color of the bait to the color of the water, and to use a slower presentation when using natural colors. Soft plastic swimbaits like the Zoom Fluke and hard lures like the Rapala X-Rap are good options in natural colors like silver and white.

Bright/Bold Colors for Striped Bass

Bright colors can be effective for attracting striped bass, especially in low-light conditions. Bright colors such as chartreuse, pink, and white can effectively imitate baitfish or other prey. Adding a trailer hook or scent to the lure can increase its effectiveness.

Bright colors can also be effective for targeting aggressive or active fish. However, it’s important also to consider the water clarity and light conditions when selecting bright colors, as they may not be as effective in clear or bright conditions.

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UV Colors for Striped Bass

UV colors can be highly effective for striped bass fishing, especially in low-light conditions. UV colors are most effective when the water is clear and the sun is not too bright. The best UV colors for striped bass fishing include chartreuse, white, and orange.

Techniques for using UV colors effectively include fishing during low light periods, such as dawn or dusk, and using lures with UV paint or adding UV dye to your bait.

14 Bait Color Selection Tips for Striped Bass

  1. Choose colors that match the dominant forage species, such as alewife or herring.
  2. Use natural colors like silver, white, and black for clear water.
  3. Use bright and flashy colors, such as chartreuse and fluorescent pink, for murky water.
  4. Consider using UV-enhanced colors to increase visibility and attract fish in low-light conditions.
  5. Use dark colors, such as black or dark purple, for night fishing.
  6. Match the hatch by using baitfish colors that match the predominant forage in the area.
  7. Use colors that mimic the bottom of the body of water you’re fishing in, such as brown or green.
  8. Use contrasting colors to make the lure stand out, such as yellow and black or orange and green.
  9. Use red or orange to imitate injured prey and trigger a feeding response.
  10. Use a blend of natural and bright colors to create a more realistic baitfish appearance.
  11. Use realistic patterns like stripes or spots to mimic natural prey.
  12. Choose translucent or semi-transparent colors for a more subtle presentation.
  13. Choose lure colors that match the season, such as green pumpkin for fall or shad colors for spring.
  14. Use a combination of colors to create a more lifelike appearance, such as brown and green or blue and silver.
  15. Use brightly colored trailers or accents to enhance the lure’s visibility.
  16. Use different colors for different depths, such as darker colors for deeper water and lighter colors for shallower water.

For a complete breakdown of the best colors for bass fishing, check out this guide. For a complete breakdown of the best colors for pike fishing, check out this guide. For a complete breakdown of the best colors for bluegill fishing, check out this guide. For a complete breakdown of the best colors for crappie fishing, check out this guide. For a complete breakdown of the best colors for trout fishing, check out this guide. For a complete breakdown of the best colors for walleye fishing, check out this guide. For a complete breakdown of the best colors for perch fishing, check out this guide. For a complete breakdown of the best colors for kokanee fishing, check out this guide. Here is a complete breakdown of the best weather to catch striped bass.