Tackle & Techniques – Glow colors

Tackle & Techniques – Glow colors

Apr 29, 2013

Glow Worms for Lowlight Panfish! 

By Mike Pehanich

Panfish anglers are basking in the light of glow-in-the-dark jigs and soft plastics.

Sometimes even bright guys can’t see the light!

Well, “bright” I may or may not be, but it sure took me long enough to catch on to the value of glow-in-the-dark jigs and soft plastic worms and other creature shapes in the pursuit of bluegill, crappie, perch and other tasty freshwater eatables!

The concept is, quite literally, as simple as day and night.

Fish won’t hit a lure that they can’t find, and even fish with excellent night vision can use a visual assist when feeding in dark, murky water or under the cover of night.

Glow-in-the-dark, jigs and soft plastics, also known as “glow” or “UV” baits, capture ultraviolet rays and – here’s the cool part – can actually store them for a brief period. Both painted jigs and soft plastics become “glow activated” by exposure to sunlight or artificial light.

Then drop them into dark water and see how they shine! Or, better yet, see how fish take a shine to them!

Shining bright at late ice

Decades ago, we used glow-in-the-dark spoons to catch king salmon and brown trout in Great Lakes harbors at night. And I got in step with walleye anglers who have long employed glow jigs for their favorite nocturnal predator.

That I balked at using UV plastic baits for panfish probably had more to do with me clinging to the “nothing can match live bait for panfish” premise than it did with the “glow” concept.

In recent years, however, a wide array of soft baits have proven deadly effective on panfish. Berkley’s Gulp! and PowerBait brands bred their own cult followings with a wide array of baits resembling the foods that comprise the typical panfish diet of plankton, insects and tiny baitfish and fry. Now an even wider array of offerings area available mainstream tackle makers as well as a few regional garage operators.

This past season, I fished new panfish plastics from Northland Fishing Tackle’s Impulse line and the Ecogear line of soft plastic worms and minnow/fry baits, which made its American debut not much more than a year ago.

In addition, I fished a lot of lowlight conditions this past ice fishing season. The conditions ranged from snowy overcast afternoons to twilight and even early evening and night ventures. My inability to see line and lure led to frustrating and even embarrassing tangles as I struggled at times with the seemingly simple task of dropping a bait through a hole in the ice six inches from my knees. But at least it led to an obvious question:

What can I do to make the bait more visible to me and, more importantly, more visible to the fish?

The answer, of course, was simple.

If there’s no light in the water, add the light to your bait!

UV Line-up

Whether you are fishing on a lake capped with snow and ice or a pond haunted with the splashes of rising fish on a summer evening, “Glo(w)” or “UV” baits are worth exploring whenever you think the fish need visual assistance to find your lure.

Northland Fishing Tackle’s Impulse line offers Glo White color options in all of its Impulse Panfish Baits and Glo Chartreuse and Glo Pink options in its Waxy, Tapeworm, Tadpole, and Mini Roundworms.

Ecogear offers a wide array of “glow” colors in its “Mebaru Shokunin” line which includes a 1.5-inch Minnow, 2-inch Straw Tail Grub, and a 2-inch Straw Tail Grub Slim as well as in the 3-inch Soft Sansun worm. These UV colors include: Pearl Glow, Glow Orange, Pink Glow, Melon Glow, UV Shrimp, UV Silhouette, Red Glow with Red & Black Flake, and Clear Pink Glow Blue Flake, to name but a few.

Make sure you carry a light source such as a flashlight or camera flash unit to “charge” the baits every few minutes. Northland offers a compact charging light.

Northland also offers a wide variety of jig styles in “Super-Glo” colors as well as a line of “Super-Glo” Attractor Hooks.

Jig matchup

Matching these small baits to the proper size jig and hook shank is a matter of experience as well as preference. But you will want a selection of tiny jigs with fine wire hooks even in open water fishing simply because the baits – particularly the worms – have such a small diameter that they can be threaded on to only the thinnest wire hooks in a conventional jig/worm configuration.

Even if you fish the worms “wacky” style, you will want a hook thin enough to prevent constant bite-offs when sunfish nibble at the ends.





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