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kjackson

On UV materials

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I'm working on getting back into fly fishing; it's been a decade since I was serious, but it's time.  I read the thread about the flies that you know how to tie without having to be reminded when the topic of UV materials came up.

As it happens, I've written at least two articles on UV in relation to fish and did some research and have my own ideas as well. I thought it might be interesting to see what others think. 

First, the ultraviolet spectrum of radiation is just a higher frequency wave than visible light. The vast majority of humans can't see it-- a few folks can, though.  You might be able to see the edge of it in "optical brighteners" that make whites a bit brighter as it gives them pop.  

From what I've read, UV-reflecting finishes really became popular in the Pacific Northwest when it became apparent that certain Japanese hoochie lures were better than traditional colors.  These artificial squid became very popular with commercial salmon fishermen. Then sportfishermen began using the same Yamashita (I think that's the brand) hoochies for salmon. The UV trend then moved into trout, steelhead and kokanee. 

The science behind it is relatively simple: UV-reflectance just makes those things more visible (to critters that can see it); it's not a silver bullet as a rule.  UV is more visible under low-light conditions and in dirty or stained water.  I can't remember the figures, but the increase is substantial.

The kicker is that not all fish can see UV. There's been little research done on which species can and can not see that spectra.  Some fish, salmon (but apparently not all species) especially, see it in the early part of their lives but lose that ability once they hit the ocean--and regain it once they return to spawn (and this goes against the idea that UV lures are more attractive to salmon in the ocean).  Stream trout seem to be able to see UV, and some insects reflect it-- which makes sense for fish to be able to see their food. So in theory, using UV materials in your flies should make them more visible to trout. It's also interesting to note that some natural materials reflect UV. European jay is one bird with feathers that do reflect it, and fly patterns tied with natural jay supposedly do better than the same patterns using fake jay in the right color.

There has been virtually zero research done on other species of fish as of two years ago.  However, a friend of mine who works with soft baits for Berkley, adds UV enhancement to the grubs he uses when he fishes for walleyes. He also adds it to the white colors in some of the Power Bait grubs' range as an optical brightener. I was fishing with Ted Takasaki once when I was using Bomber minnows with a UV finish that were being made for the Russian market. I caught walleyes, and Ted didn't on his preferred baits. He kept the Bombers when I left. Also, I've caught a lot of crappie using lures with a UV finish. I've also caught them on similar lures without it. So go figure...but I tend to pick the UV lures first. 

TIghtlines-UV is a bass-lures company that holds a patent on UV use in fishing lures. Currently, the company is suing Damiki (think that is right) and Berkley over their use of UV in lures, according to releases. Dr. Keith Jones (Berkley's development person) said that bass don't see in UV or at least not appreciably as I recall.

What experiences have you guys had?  Good? Bad?

 

 

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It's hard to say, because most of the people studying it were only doing so because they wanted to sell it.  

UV Icedub seems to have some magic associated with it.....but so does plain old black and blue, and plain old chartreuse and white.   

We'll never really know.

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I suspect some results would vary with water depth and clarity, it might be an advantage in 30' of water and a disadvantage in 3' of water. And since I can't see it, I have no proof that the stuff is what they say it is. Does the UV light penetrate deeper in the water column than all other light?

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I'm gonna go out on a limb here and say that the consideration of UV pigmented colors, and the use of such, is not going to improve anyone's angling success noticably.   

Dr. Loren Hill spent his whole adult life (as did several others) studying and tinkering with colors and color pigments as they relate to fish, and the best thing they ever came up with was a gizmo that you might still find at a garage sale for $2 or less today.    No sense in trying to reinvent the wheel, it's a waste of your time.

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6 hours ago, fishinwrench said:

I'm gonna go out on a limb here and say that the consideration of UV pigmented colors, and the use of such, is not going to improve anyone's angling success noticably.   

Dr. Loren Hill spent his whole adult life (as did several others) studying and tinkering with colors and color pigments as they relate to fish, and the best thing they ever came up with was a gizmo that you might still find at a garage sale for $2 or less today.    No sense in trying to reinvent the wheel, it's a waste of your time.

I remember Roland Martin using that years ago.  I think it was him anyway.  Color C lector?

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12 hours ago, tjm said:

 Does the UV light penetrate deeper in the water column than all other light?

Yes it does.  Higher energy, short-wavelength light waves such as blues, purples and ultraviolet aren't absorbed by water as much as lower energy, long-wavelength light waves such as yellows, reds, and infrared.  Kind of like how infrared light doesn't pass through your skin but an x-ray or gamma ray will.

So there may be some science behind this at deeper water levels.

 

But then again, I just found this picture and it shows that reds/yellows and UV penetrate about the same while blue and green visible light extends down further so I don't know.

Fig9.7-LightPenetration.jpg

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59 minutes ago, moguy1973 said:

But then again, I just found this picture and it shows that reds/yellows and UV penetrate about the same while blue and green visible light extends down further so I don't know.

I was going to jump in and mention the graph doesn't agree until I read this last statement.  Been a while since physics in college.

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14 minutes ago, fishinwrench said:

Why is there never any mention of black or white in those color visibility graphs ?

The correspondence of a color to a specific wavelength is called spectral color. White and black are excluded from this definition because they do not have specific wavelengths. White is not defined as a color because it is the sum of all possible colors. Black is not defined as a color because it is the absence of light, and therefore color.

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