Simplifying Plastics: How to Pick the Right Colors

This is what you will typically find for soft plastics in my boat and what I think will catch fish almost anywhere you go.

This is what you will typically find for soft plastics in my boat and what I think will catch fish almost anywhere you go.

Pro-staff Contributor: Rich Lindgren

Whether I am giving a fishing seminar, working a show or just running into other anglers at the boat ramp, one of the most common questions I get is: “does color matter to bass?”  In short, yes, color matters to bass, but to what degree is up for debate.  Personally, I think an angler could write a thesis on color, but today, let’s just talk about soft plastics—we’ll break down other baits in the future.

As a person that has tubs and tubs of soft plastics in my basement, I feel like I am an expert on this topic.  I used to get caught up in new colors. To make matters worse, every time I fished with somebody that caught fish on a color I didn’t have, I would rush out and buy 3-4 bags in a few different shapes and sizes. After a few years of this behavior, I have Rubbermaid tubs of plastics that rarely make it out of the basement.

As I have gotten older and—I believe—wiser, I’ve gotten tired of rummaging through and carrying all these plastics. Lately I have really pressured myself to simplify what I buy and carry in my boat and/or tackle bags.

I think the best step for achieving this simplification is to limit the colors that I use. I like to keep it to a few colors that look natural and suit the water color I am fishing.  For me, a couple variations of Green Pumpkin/Watermelon and Black make up most of my arsenal.  I also carry some white for shad presentations and bed fishing as well as a few red/purple colors of worms.  There are always exceptions to the rule in certain water systems, but for clear to stained water I typically use my lighter greens and for dirtier water I use the darker greens and black tones.

From there, I still need a fair variety of shapes and actions for the conditions.  Stick baits, finesse worms, ribbon tails, craws, beavers, creatures, etc, all have a time and place.  There are a lot of options, so find a few of each that you have confidence in and stick with those!

Try to simplify things for yourself and hopefully this will save you time and money when out fishing!

Rich Lindgren is a tournament bass angler living in Lakeville, MN chasing bass all over Minnesota and its adjoining states. Bass blogger, podcaster and fishing promoter. You’ll see him fishing the Minnesota bass tournament scene representing and Dobyns Rods among others. You can like him on Facebook (


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