Lure Color, Glow and Flash

Lure Head and Skirt Colors

Nothing in the world of marlin, tuna, dolphin fish (Mahi, Dorado) and wahoo (Ono) fishing draws more discussion than lure color. Pelagic fish feeding habits, water temperature and clarity, seasonality, prey base life cycle, light conditions, location etc. all play a role in color selection. There are lure color patterns that have been effective certain times of the year for decades.

Eric White
Eric gives instructions for his tuna at auction


Only years of on-the-water experience can narrow the thousands of possible combinations to a few dozen that produce results. BFD’s Eric White (known by many as ‘allyearfishing’ on eBay) has decades of experience in open water commercial and sport fishing,  and his expertise helps narrow the field. BFD’s skirt combinations are produced from Eric’s recommendations. 

When he isn’t busy skirting lures, Eric contributes to the website with a blog article now and then. Be sure to read his seasonal installments that discuss the intricate changes in the ocean at different times of the year, and the effect these have on our quarry as well as their own prey.  You will quickly see that his knowledge of marlin and other pelagic fish behaviors is extensive, and extremely helpful when considering what to use in your spread during different seasons.

You can always ask us for advice when you order lures: we’re more than happy to help.  But if you read up on the sizes and colors of baitfish teeming in the oceans during the different seasons of the year, our choices and recommendations will mean that much more to you, and will make more sense.

Glow and Flash

We’ve done a lot of research and spend a good deal of time and energy thinking about glow and flash in our lures. Why?  Because we’re trying to replicate baitfish, of course, and as Humboldt discovered, baitfish basically ‘glow.’


Around 1802 Alexander von Humbodlt wrote:

“The luminous animals of the ocean appear, from these conjectures, to prove the existence of a magneto-electric light-generating vital process in other classes of animals besides fishes, insects, mollusca, and acalephae. Is the secretion of the luminous fluid which is effused in some animalcules, and which continues to shine for a long period without further influence of the living organism merely the consequence of the first electric discharge, or is it simply dependent on chemical composition?

You can read a full article about Humboldt and bioluminescence here or you can read this article in it’s entirety here in our blog: Nature’s Bling.

Today, we know that Ultraviolet (UV) light is invisible to human beings.  UV light has shorter wave lengths that contain much more energy than the longer wave length light humans can see.  As a result of this higher energy, more materials and things will glow under this shorter wavelength light. The shortest of the UV wave lengths have so much energy that they will burn your eyes & skin – which is exactly why they are used in tanning machines. This high energy UV light is the only light that penetrates several hundred feet below the ocean’s surface.

These short light waves excite certain atoms in things that populate the pelagic zone – like fish, algae, plankton, crustaceans and bait fish. These atoms absorb the invisible UV light, change it and emit the changed light that predators apparently associate with prey. Some of this changed light is in longer wave lengths that can be seen by humans. We attached the words “florescence” and “phosphorescence” to this re-emitted light that we can see.


floUV light also activates atoms in fish causing them to temporarily emit visible light of various colors. This light emission is known as “fluorescence”. They glow with an amazing array of vibrant colors in sharp contrast to their color under conditions of normal illumination.



Firefly Squid display phosphorescence.

Ocean dwellers said to be fluorescent, stop glowing when the light source is turned off. Ocean dwellers with “phosphorescence” can glow for a brief time after the light source is turned off.

Super bright and super long glow time powders are a new generation of Phosphorescent (Glow in the Dark) material based on Rare-Earth elements are the brightest, longest lasting, non-toxic, glow-in-the-dark material known and are at the cutting edge of chemical phosphorescent technology.

You are probably familiar with the old Zinc Sulfide based glow-in-the-dark material that is commonly found in glow toys and glow paints found in hobby stores. As you know, that material only glows for a very short time and then is completely invisible – even in a totally dark room.

Rare Earth elements are nothing like that.

Rare Earth elements produce some of the most spectacular fluorescence and the longest lasting phosphorescence….of any mineral known that can be safely used in a manufacturing process.

The additives we use were developed after years of research. It is doped with Rare-Earth elements that give it an astonishing glow time as long as 30 hours… and equally important… it can be recharged indefinitely. Even after 1,000 hours under direct exposure to intense mercury vapor light it retains 96% of its glow output. Ordinary glow material properties are permanently reduced to a fraction of original after only 15-100 hours of exposure.

Charging Up

Sunlight, ordinary indoor lighting as well as UV (blacklight) can be used to “charge up” our Glow lures. The more UV wavelengths the light contains, the faster it will charge. Sunlight will charge the fastest, requiring only 5 minutes of exposure. A ‘workshop type’ Fluorescent lamp is rich in UV light – holding the powder close to a bright fluorescent lamp will charge it up in about 10 minutes. An ordinary 60 watt incandescent bulb will take 30 minutes. UV (black lights) will charge up the material extremely fast as well.

When fully charged, all glow powders will produce a very bright afterglow for a short time, level off to a moderate level of brightness and slowly dimming over the remainder of their glow durations.

The Green and Aqua colors will remain clearly visible for as long as 33 hours. The Green and Aqua are comparable and by far the brightest and longest afterglow. Obviously, the level of glow at 14 hours is not nearly as bright as it is at 10 minutes after light exposure, but you can plainly see it in the dark.

The Blue glow has a lower glow brightness and shorter afterglow duration compared to the Green and Aqua. This is partly due to the response of the Human eye. Our eyes are much more sensitive to the color green as compared to blue. Green will always appear brighter to the eye.

Newly developed, Violet powder is an absolutely stunning color in the dark. Different than our ultra-long glow time Blue, Green & Aqua colors, Violet requires a much longer charge time and has a shorter glow duration and brightness as compared to the other colors. But it is truly a breathtaking color.

One or more of these Rare Earth based additives is used in BFD Glow lures.


Take Marlin Off the Menu

Take Marlin Off the Menu is a joint campaign of Wild Oceans and the IGFA. For more information, go to

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