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UV and Smallies

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I've had a lot of luck using UV in my plastic for Largemouth but we don't have many Smallies where I fish. Have a Smallies trip planned next month and need to put a few things together including some plastic. Do Smallies respond well to UV (more bites) or should I not use it?

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OK, a little lesson on UV light, and this is going to get me in trouble for sure.  Light ranges from cosmic rays, to gamma rays to x rays to microwaves to visible waves ......... but I will refer to only the ones that we deal with.

The light spectrum is as follows, and this time in order; infrared, red, yellow, green, blue, indigo, Ultra Violet.  Infrared is the longest wave, and we as humans feel it as heat, but mostly ( more species are being identified as being able to see it) only carp and some minnows can see that "color range".  Humans cannot actually see infrared.  Long waves are filtered out by water very quickly and as a result red disappears first, next yellow, next..... you get the point. The shorter the wave length the longer it will penetrate into water, the clearer the water the deeper it will penetrate as well.  I don't care, and neither should you, what the fish see, the waves themselves simply do not exist because they are absorbed by the water.

(note: we take the cells in the eye of the test specimens and expose it to the light bands.  An electrical and/or chemical reactions takes place indicating that the cells see this band width.  Most cells can detect most strongly in one band width, but they react to varying degrees with adjacent band widths.  For example, walleye cones, the component that detects color, are mostly for red and green, so go figure that a deep water fish sees colors that disappear in shallower water.)

All of the other colors we see are a mixture of the colors I mentioned, mixed by our brain, and assumed mixed by their pea sized brain, except for some special conditions I will get into later.*

As we go through the spectrum, we come to blue, then indigo (which some people can't see) then to UV which no human, and extremely few fish, can see.  We do know that Trout/Salmon can see the lowest of the UV range, known as UVa, to some degree.  We do know that Bass, LGM and SMB, cannot see UVa.  Yet, you, and a lot of other fishermen say that it works for them.  Is it a case of angler confidence or is something going on here?????  By the way, UVa and UVb comprise most of all of the Ultra Violet light we get from the sun.  Most UVb and almost all UVc is absorbed by the ozone layer.  (We don't even have a clue on what colors most fish species see, too many fish, too little time and money to test.  LOL.

Now, UV issues.  UVa does penetrate a pretty good distance in clear water, and in salt water deep water corals depend on it.  UVb happens to be absorbed much much faster if any impurities are present, like salt and a hundred thousand other natural chemicals.  But, even UVa does not penetrate very far in muddy water.  Studies I have seen in the past showed that in muddy water UVa was lost before red was.  That shocked me. 

So, what does this book I seem to be writing tell us?  First, UVa is going to depend on the clarity of the water to even be there, and second, it is usually not even detected by fresh water fish.  So how in the world can it help us to catch fish? 

First, I am not sure it does.  On many trips I have emptied the contents from my spray bottle of UV spray and filled it with water.  I have told my unsuspecting co-angler that it was the UV spray (no, I am not going to talk brands, etc., that is not my point) and they were so fired up that every fish they caught was caught by it.  I would then change lures on them, same color, same everything, and they caught nothing or fewer fish.  I am quite sure that spraying water on the lure did not help, but, maybe I should be bottling it and selling it as a fish attractant.  ROFLOL

Still, on the other hand, I have had days when using brand A, water, verses brand B, the UV spray, did help.  Go figure!

Here is what I see is going on.  It is not the UV light that is being seen.  It is the fluorescent colors on the lure that are absorbing the UV light and then retransmitting that light as visible colors.  *I promised that I would discuss this a little.  Fish, or Humans, or anything that sees colors ** still only sees the colors I mentioned above, but we should still discuss phosphorescent light and fluorescent light. 

Fluorescent light is created by absorbing available light, whatever is available, and then retransmitting it back at a specific wave length.  Take your paints into a dark room at night and shine a blue light on them.  The blue paints will be easily visible, as will the white (but will look like blue), and all Fluorescent paints.  Only the Fluorescent paints will show up as the colors you expect to see.  Now, do the same with a red light, only the paints with red will show up, plus white which looks like red, and again the fluorescent paints looking as you expected them. 

Glow in the dark lures use phosphorescent light.  Essentially they absorb light, then reemit it back at specific wavelengths (a blue-green range) over time.  If the source of the light is radiation, then the material is always glowing because it has a constant source of light (radiation radiates light, in this case x rays, etc.).  Most of us are more familiar with the paint we change with a light source and it glows for a specific amount of time.  So, how do we get phosphorescent paint to glow other colors?  We add fluorescent pigments to the phosphorescent pigments.  The phosphorescent pigments glow blue-green, absorbed by the fluorescent pigments, then retransmitted as the desired fluorescent color.

OK, I could go on for hours, but I have created enough trouble with this one.  So, let's answer your question.

Do UV paints help with LMB?  Yes, in as much as there is UV light and enough fluorescent pigments in the paint job.  Because most paints have some white in them (which reflects all visible colors) and because most dyes/paints have at least some pigments that can fluoresce to some degree, the effect is to "brighten" the lure some.

Will UV paints help with SMB, or any other species? Yes, for the same reason that it works for LMB above.

It should be noted that Artist, Laundry Soap makers, cloth makers, etc., have known that adding UV enhancers can make color appear brighter, 'more colorful' for a long time.   This is why, in my opinion, that any UV product can, at times, make any lure more appealing.  The only question I really have is how much it actually makes it more appealing to fish, not just humans.  LOL


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Don't know anything about UV but I do know that we caught over 30 smallies Wednesday afternoon on the Zman TRDs with Midwest finesse 1/1/6 heads.  Most any color will work.

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That was one hell of a read!  My old mind is still looking for the translation button, but still.........:lol:

Seriously, great stuff, and thanks for sharing! 

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