The adage of natural or translucent colors for gin-clear waters has always been a steadfast rule. Fish can see, so less is more. In stained or muddy waters, bright and solid colors are the rule, since the angler is hoping to shine a beacon that fish will see. 

Is that color coordination a hard and fast rule? Pro fisherman Brian Latimer doesn’t think so, especially on Lake Keowee.

“Just absolutely insanely loud colors — the bright pinks, chartreuses, colors like that — are really good here. I don’t understand it; I don’t know the science behind it,” he said. “All I know is that it works.”  

One assumption for the success of brightly colored baits is that few anglers use them. At Keowee, it just makes sense to match the hatch. The lake has a good forage base of both threadfin shad and blueback herring, mainstays of the spotted bass’ diet, as well as invertebrates and young-of-the-year fry from other species.  

“Traditionally, the standbys are the shad patterns, herring colors, translucent colors,” he said. “If you’ve got a jerkbait or topwater that’s clear — like a clear belly with a dark back, chromes — those are the colors that always produce here. But Keowee gets a lot of pressure, and fish see a lot of baits, and that means you get a lot of slapping at those old baits.”

“We see pink when we see this bait down in the water; who knows what the fish is seeing when they see a pink bait coming by,: he said. “Something a little different comes through, they hit it.”