A true story: I was invited to a press gig in Florida to test out a range of fishing tackle including fishing lines, some of which happened to have an unusual color. One of the manufacturer’s PR guys there pulled me aside and asked me if I’d seen their new line, which was bright red. He then explained to me that red was the first color in the spectrum to disappear under water, so fish couldn’t see it once your lure sank a foot or two. We used this line, and we caught fish.
Fast-forward three years. A bigger tackle company purchased this line manufacturer, and invited me on a similar junket. The night before we were to go fishing the PR rep for the new owner pulled me aside, and explained that when you used this type of fishing line, the fish saw the red under water—and followed it directly to your lure.
Whatever divergent theories the sales guys may have put forward, the fact that the red line worked just fine jived with my other line color experiences. When Berkley Fireline first came out I figured its black color would be the kiss of death when fishing for line-shy fish. But a months-long experiment proved this wasn’t the case. Every afternoon I took 20 casts into a crappie-filled pond behind my house with a jig tied to Fireline, and 20 casts with clear Triline XL. Net result? There was absolutely no difference whatsoever in the catch rate.
I’ve seen guys catch fish with lures tied directly to fluorescent yellow and green lines, I’ve seen multi-colored “camo” lines work great, and I’ve seen clear lines go toe-to-toe with colored lines with zero advantage. On the other hand, when it comes to leaders, line diameter does have a clear and significant effect in some specific circumstances. I’ve watched entire schools of bluefin tuna, for example, by-pass baits tied to 50-pound fluorocarbon, yet snap up baits tied to 30-pound monofilament.
The bottom line? Choose whatever line color you like. But consider leader diameter carefully—as in, go with the thinnest leader you can get away with, if you want to generate the most strikes.
And most importantly, never ever believe the PR guy.
For more information on fishing lines, read Monofilament Vs Braid: Which is the Best Fishing Line? and The Best Braid Fishing Line: Dyneema or Spectra?