Merwin: Red is a Gimmick

The color red has become the hottest thing in fishing tackle over the past few years. From red line to red-splashed lures, it seems as if every angler is somehow buying the trend. But I happen to think the whole red thing is the biggest bunch of BS in all of fishing.

Cajun Line helped start things a few years ago by marketing a translucent-red monofilament they still claim to be “virtually invisible” underwater. That’s allegedly because colors are filtered out by water as depth increases. The color red is the first to disappear. But even though the color disappears, the line does not; it turns gray.

If you’ve ever watched one of the many films of a shark feeding frenzy, you’ll have noticed how red blood appears to be black in the blue-green depths. By Cajun’s account of red’s “virtual invisibility,” that red blood should be invisible, but it’s not. While the color itself is gone, its tone or value remains.

Red splotches on lures and red hooks, meanwhile, are more ways in which we as anglers are being played for suckers. Supposedly, these simulate a blood trail or wounded baitfish. But do you really think a bass looks at red dots on a Rat-L-Trap lure and thinks to itself, “Ah-ha! That must be an injured shad. Better eat that one right now!” I don’t believe it.

Speaking as a fisherman, I do happen to like the way red looks on certain lures. But to paraphrase Clark Gable’s classic line in Gone With The Wind: Frankly, my dear, the fish don’t give a damn.