What is the Best Color Fishing Line for Striped Bass?


Updated on December 8, 2022 by
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Striped bass is one of the most prized catches for anglers of all levels. There’s nothing like getting a photo with one of these hefty fish to cement your reputation as a real fisherman. Plus, they taste delicious, so you’ll be feeding your family and your reputation all in one go. With such valuable fish on the line, it’s no wonder that anglers turn to any strategies they can to try to improve their chances.

Some fishermen wonder if the color of their line will increase or decrease their chances of catching striped bass. The color of your line doesn’t matter very much for catching striped bass because these fish are not line shy. Arguably, the color of your lure matters more. The best color fishing line for striped bass is red to help you see a strike or a clear line to make the bait stand out.

Here is your guide to properly setting up your fishing rig to get one of these prized fish on your line.

What Colors Can Striped Bass See?

Whether fish can see color or not is still a matter of debate among scientists. Most fish have cones in their eyes for seeing some color, but we don’t really know how they experience color. It also varies a lot by species.

The Virginia Institute of Marine Science conducted extensive research on color vision in striped bass. Researchers found that striped bass are most sensitive to yellow and similar colors, such as chartreuse. Most of their natural prey, such as juvenile weakfish, have yellow fins or some yellowish tinge. That explains why striped bass evolved to see this color best.

The world of a striped bass is not necessarily monochrome. They can detect colors all along the blue-red spectrum, although they are most sensitive to yellow and similar shades. Nothing can get past these fish.

a striped bass caught at lake texoma, texas
I have also written a guide to the best fishing line color for bass if you are interested in other species.

What Colors Are Visible at Different Depths?

One reason why scientists have so much trouble establishing how fish see color is that their environments are very different from ours. We can’t tell how fish can see color because the way color looks underwater is very different from the way it looks on dry land.

The reason has to do with physics. When we see color, we actually see different wavelengths that the light gives off and which reach cone sensors in our eyes. Underwater, the water refracts and absorbs the light’s wavelength, changing how colors look. The water disperses the light, making all colors seem faded underwater. The deeper you go, the further away an object is from the light source, and the light wavelengths become so diffused some colors disappear completely. 

Colors disappear in the order they are on the rainbow, starting with red at about 15 feet deep. Then they disappear as follows:

  1. Orange
  2. Yellow
  3. Green
  4. Blue

What does that mean for striped bass? These fish can live anywhere in the water column. While many of them prefer the deep waters, they will go into shallow waters to try to hunt. Depending on the type of fishing you are doing, you can adjust your line and bait color.

Graph of Visible colours at different depth

Are Striped Bass Sensitive to Color Fishing Line?

The reason why anglers worry about the color of fishing line is that some species are line shy. They realized that a fishing line means the free snack isn’t so free after all, and if they notice a line, they will avoid it. When fishing for line shy species, you have to choose a line color that blends in with the water.

However, the line color doesn’t matter very much with striped bass. These fish are not line shy at all and will go for the bait even if they notice the line. 

Choosing the right bait or lure color matters a lot more than the color of the line. Anglers find the most success when they focus on the color of the bait, making sure that it mimics the markings of a bass’s natural prey, such as weakfish. That is why there are extensive guides on choosing the right lures for these striped fish. 

The Best Color Fishing Line for Striped Bass

Although bass are not line shy, there are a few other reasons you might want to consider the color fishing line you use when going out on the water. 

Despite the fact that these species are not known to be line shy, you will still want to maximize your chances that they will take the bait. A line color that blends in with the water will help you fool the fish.

Another reason why anglers choose certain line colors is for their own visibility. If you have a few lines out on the water, you want to be able to tell immediately which one has a bite. So choose a color that is visible against the water so you can see any movement.

The best colors are:

  • Clear
  • Green
  • Red

Clear

Clear line is the best for camouflage when you’re fishing in clear water, such as saltwater or deep rivers and lakes. Although bass aren’t line shy, this way you’re playing it safe. Plus, you can use the same line to fish for species that are line shy without needing to buy more gear.

Green

Green can help you blend in with more brackish water with a greenish tint. Bass like to frequent river mouths and other areas where the water is muddier. Plus, green is easier to see than a thin clear line.

Red

If you’re more worried about your own eyesight than that of the fish, get a red line. The line will stand out against the water, making it easy to see if you have a bite.

Final Thoughts

While some fishermen prefer to catch bass with a clear line, the color of the line doesn’t matter for these fish since they will bite anyway. For success, focus on choosing the right color lure.


Photo of author

Russ Egan

Russ is an avid fisherman. He has fished all over the world for more than two decades, primarily for saltwater game fish but also for local trophy fish. Russ writes reviews for all of his fishing gear to help others achieve their own fishing goals. There is nothing I prefer than heading down to my local tackle store, buying the latest fishing reel, and taking it to the water to test. My favorite reel is a Shimano Curado Baitcaster. My dream is to catch a Black Marlin.