Color Me Crazy
Instant bait dyes like the Pro Cure Bad Azz Color Blast are an easy way to add color to minnows when faced with dirty water conditions or fishing deep water structure. The minnow on the top is treated with a drop or two of Color Blast and the minnow below is not treated.
By: Mark Romanack
Fishing 411 TV
These days everyone is color crazy when it comes to crankbaits. A host of custom color options are providing anglers a bewildering amount of color choices to choose from. Options are a good thing, but what about color options when it comes to fishing live bait?
Believe it or not anglers also have options in the live bait department. Minnows, cut-bait and even nightcrawlers can easily be treated to change their natural color. So the 98 cent question is why would an angler want his live bait to be chartreuse, orange, blue, red or another color?
The answer can be summed up in two words... Dirty Water. As fishermen we are routinely faced with fishing in stained, off-color and downright dirty water. Since the most popular fish species are primarily sight feeders, dirty water presents a serious handicap.
One way to deal with dirty water conditions is to dye live minnows, cut-bait and nightcrawlers using products that are formulated to not only change the color of these live baits, but to also coat them with an UV enhancement. To the human eye UV is invisible, but fish readily see the UV spectrum.
For small jobs I like the Bad Azz Bait Dye produced by Pro Cure. This product comes in a handy to use squeeze bottle. I like to put a few minnows or crawlers in small plastic container and squirt a half dozen drops of Bad Azz onto them. Within a couple minutes the bait is brightly colored and the dye job complete.
Another option is to bait up and then give the minnow or crawler a shot of Bad Azz immediately before dropping the bait in the water. If treated and immediately used the dye tends to wash off after a few minutes. A better dye job is achieved when the bait is soaked in dye for at least a few minutes before fishing.
Pro Cure produces this product in half a dozen colors but my favorites are the chartreuse/lime and Sunset Orange. The longer baits are soaked in Bad Azz the brighter the dye job becomes.
For larger jobs Pro Cure produces 16 ounce bottles of Brine n Brite Complete that is easy to use and fool proof. Simply take some fresh or frozen bait fish and place them on trays. Pour the Brine N Brite over them and within a few minutes they are permanently dyed. At this point the bait can be kept cold and used or popped in the freezer to use another time.
This option works great for treating herring, smelt or alewife that are in turn fished on cut-bait rigs for salmon and trout.
Walleye and many other species are sight feeders. When water clarity diminishes using color enhancers can make a big difference in putting fish like this in the boat.
For the angler who isn’t comfortable dying baits, I’ve also had good success using a different product called Pure Liquid UV. This product comes in a two ounce squeeze bottom. A couple drops puts a UV coating on baitfish and can also be used on hand baits and soft plastics.
To the human eye UV is invisible, but fish readily in the UV spectrum. Pure Liquid UV can also be added to baits like cured eggs used for steelhead, trout and salmon fishing.
MANAGING THE MESS
Bait dyes and UV treatments do a great job of not only making bait more visible to fish, but these treatments tend to firm up baits so they fish better and stay on the hook longer. The down side to using these products is they are messy.
I recommend using nitrile disposable gloves to avoid staining your hands while fishing. It’s also a good idea to wash down the boat after each fishing trip to clean up any dye that gets on the boat vinyl or carpet. A little soap and water washes away any spilled dye nicely.