Q: My question is about eye color. We make our own jigs and use the 3-D eyes that are available. We’ve mainly used red eyes that have a black pupil. You can also get them in many other colors, including silver and gold. My granddad always said to use red eyes only. What do you think? We fish for flounder, red drum, kings and dolphin.
A: I believe very strongly that eyes are not necessary on almost all lures. The most likely exception would be a fly, where it barely moves at all and might get looked at very closely by a stalking fish. A trout looking at a dry fly might care about eyes, but the ocean fish that I’ve fished for do not. When fishing offshore, fast-moving lures get bit, and I doubt that any predatory fish could pick the eyes out of a lure traveling at 8 knots.
When you’re fishing inshore, the different actions of your various lures become more critical in whether you get a bite or not. We have proven this to be true many, many times with homemade lures for marlin and tuna. The size of the lure matters a lot, but the presence of eyes absolutely does not matter, and there are only a few species of big-game fish with more than very limited color vision.
If this is for your own use, and you’re trying to get some sort of secret weapon, I suggest experimenting not only with the color of the eyes, but also the size. Keep good records and get at least 100 bites before deciding that you’ve discovered any real difference.