We all see it, but sometimes we don’t make better use of it.

You know, when we catch a fish (or see someone catch one) out of certain spot or depth or condition, and it’s not textbook “green and black.” Bass (and other species) have the ability to alter their color and affect how they contrast with (or blend into) the bottom or immediate cover.

Yet, when we catch a “black” one or a bronze one, or some other extreme, that’s kind of how we treat then–as unique–but not much more.

You have to be smart about it. There may be that odd one, hiding particularly deep in the weeds (grass) and it comes out quite dark without much in the way of markings. It may not match any others taken nearby.

Wohlford bass

GREEN ONE from greenish environment.

El Capitan bass

PALE ONE where light penetration was low.

On the other hand, from my experience, in very weedy areas, that grass actually filters the water so that light penetration is actually better, the deeper you go in the cover–even if the water is generally dirty.

But there are other variations. Without those weeds and even in clear water at some depth, largemouths can remain pretty pale, though they hold onto the green tint. Darker fish often do come from cleaner water, but not necessarily aquarium clear.

Compare that to say, fish taken from stained or downright murky water (ala Lake Elsinore and others when there has been a lot of run-off) or those “first up” spring fish that have worked their way out of the deep “no light” zone and up into the shallows. The same “pale riders” may also appear at other times of the year where a stratum of water contains more particulate matter and the “sun don’t shine” much below it.

Any coloration adjustments are to camouflage the predator as it survives and hopefully thrives in its environment. But noting what “jacket” it might be wearing at the moment could be clue on where to look for the next one.


4 Responses to “It’s camo, but it’s also a clue”

Im at palo verde lagoon,lower Colorado river, and these murky water fish are all so pale, but when you go to a little backwater pocket,you get a dark fish that reminds me of a hodges beauty. The main river is filled with beautiful dark green largemouth. But even in the 18 miles of murky lagoon you will catch darker ones here and there…and George , the palo verde rod and gun club invites you out whenever you want.2 bedroom with air, on 1/4 acre…1978 skeeter tri hull yours to use..fishing good still, got a limit last Sunday morning in 2hours, 3.5 lbs biggest. 108 average temp, currents that make boat control tough, and evening mosquitos. Perfect if you want to make lake mead look like child’s play. Training ground for U.S. Open. Only 3 hours from Elsinore. Palo verde lagoon canals and lake Elsinore are the under appreciated stepchildren of southern California,haha.

by George Kramer

I might consider that.

Mark,Small world! It was in the Palo Verde Lagoon where I learned to Bass Fish as a preteen(I’m 81 now)& caught my 1st Bass that started my life long passion of Bass Fishing! My Great Dad, a passionate Basser & some local fisherman showed me every part of the River from the Weir, above Blythe, to the Imperial Dam Lks. of Ferguson & Martinez, with every backwater lake(Three Fingers, Cibola, Draper(Upper & Lower), Picacio(?), Et al.) in between. I still own some undeveloped property in the middle of town(formerly Mom’s Place) fronting the Lagoon, where I caught that 1st Bass off our dock. Thanks for stimulating those fond memories of long ago!

Wow Gene ,, I’d like to talk story about palo verde with you,.. If my math is correct were talking 40’s and 50’s….,I see in the palo verde rod and gun club all the old pics from you guys.. I really love the two alligators that the town trapped back in the 50’s.. The rod and gun club was the largest in California I believe at that time.. Pretty water and three finger are now lakes with dirt launch..,and last month pretty water was fishin like hodges back in the day fish bustin, gettin em on rapalas,flippin too. The rod and gun club needs old members to come back. First Saturday of month is $2 breakfast at clubhouse.. Come out after it gets cooler… We got a place for you,..bring scrapbook 🙂 matalmo@hotmail.com