The Minnow Bucket
Several years ago, some boat manufacturers began to make boats with dark or even black colored hulls. You might not have even noticed this unless you’ve been to a boat ramp or boat dealer in the past ten years or so.
About that time, I bought one of those funny looking boats with the black colored hull because I just thought it looked cool.
As anglers seem to like to argue or discuss everything and anything regarding whether it helps to catch more fish or not, this little color variation has not escaped dockside analysis by amateur and professional angler alike.
To my knowledge nobody has ever done a real scientific study on this, but I can only tell you what I have personally noticed about fishing in boats with dark hulls. I think that most of the time that I’m fishing, my boat is too far away from the fish I’m trying to catch for the fish to be concerned about the color of my boat, and the water may not be clear enough in most of the lakes I fish for the fish to see that far anyway.
I would imagine that anything moving on the surface might be a danger signal for a fish regardless of what color it happens to be. Fish might feel safe if they maintain an adequate distance from it, but what about stationary objects like docks and the boats tied to them? We all know that fish love to be under those and must feel that they provide some form of safety for them. I think what they like is the overhead cover and dark shadow they produce, much like what an overhanging willow tree will provide.
This brings me to what I have noticed about fishing from a boat with a dark colored hull. I very quickly discovered that as I’m reeling a fish up to the boat the fish will abruptly change from fighting away from the boat to swimming directly under the boat. You can sometimes see this happening in my videos. They are attracted to the safety of the overhead cover and dark shadow under the boat. At first this was surprising to me, but after the first couple of fish did this, I have always been prepared for it and I just began to expect it to happen. It doesn’t bother me at all anymore.
Apparently, a hooked fish will seek any form of safety available in an emergency. Fortunately for fish that I have hooked, the sooner the fish gets into my boat the sooner I will release it. The fish is afraid of what will help it the most. To the fish’s credit, it just doesn’t know that help is in the boat.
As humans we often do know what is best for us but are afraid to seek the help that we need.