Fishing Lures - To UV or Not to UV

To UV or not to UV - That is the question

When it comes to fishing there's a big debate; Should you add a UV pattern so the Fish can see them better, does it turn the fish off, or doesn't it matter at all? Let's explore without getting too detailed.

There are several UV coatings on the Market from spray-ons to powder coat to brush overcoats. So do you need it or don't you? 

What is UV?
Ultraviolet light is a high frequency energy spectrum that can't be seen by the human eye (or any mammals that we know of), but can be detected by many species of birds, bugs and fish. They can have UV patterns on them to help distinguish between different species, and even individuals - like freckles or fingerprints. It's found on shrimp, plankton and many types of underwater prey, making them easier to spot by those hungry beasts we want on the end of our line.

UV light is given off naturally by the Sun. It can travel deeper in water than the humanly visible rainbow, up to 750 feet or more. Some scientists claim that it can be seen even as deep as 2,500 feet. In comparison the Red spectrum of light can only be seen by fish up to 20 feet, and that's in ideal conditions! It can disappear in as little as 2 feet. Then we lose yellow/green colors and lastly blues, up to about 40 feet. 

How are UV coatings different from Glow In The Dark products?
Glow paints and coatings absorb and save light energy, then release it gradually. It must be recharged. UV coatings reflect existing light in the water; it never needs charging, it doesn't fade. Yes, you can use UV coatings over Glow paints to make your lures stand out brightly like a tasty beacon.

What fish respond best to UV reflection?
The jury's still out on that one. According to CS Coatings, the manufacturer of UV Blast products, biologists have found most Salmon, chum, Weakfish and Flounder can detect UV rays in saltwater; testing on Brown Trout and Rainbow Trout, Kokanee, yellow Perch, white Suckers, Carp, and several Sunfish came up positive in freshwater. I'm sure they'll find many more Big Game Predators can see this spectrum, since most of their food - insects, crustaceans, other prey fish - have UV patterns.

When should I use a UV coating?
You can fish with UV coated Flies or Jigs anytime, it won't hurt. It really does it's job in low light conditions; early dawn, dusk, cloudy or foggy days. The clearer the water, the better it can be seen. In murky water even UV rays are scattered and diminished more quickly, but it still helps you get a little deeper than our visible spectrums.

Is one UV product better than another?
Are all UV coatings on the Market created equal? Probably not. But there are a lot of them and I haven't tested most. I'm a bit partial to UV Blast products - they're easy to use, hold up well & I've had a lot of success with them. They're also odor-free. The spray is handy to keep in the Tackle Box. Use it when the sun's hiding & you need a boost. I really like UV Blast powder Coat, it's gives a nice finish to just about any jig head. I'm not so crazy about the brush on epoxy coat - it tends to be a little tacky for quite a while. Please send me feedback on what works for you, we'd love to hear about it.

UPDATE October 23, 2019; We've found a great epoxy overcoat which you can add UV properties to. It also happens to be UV Curing, which is different. I'll cover UV cured epoxy resins in another article.

Fun Fishing Facts - FAQ

UV light and UV coatings cannot be detected by a blacklight.

Mammals can't see UV light. So far scientists say that Humans and great Apes are the only ones that can see the color Red. Red and Orange camo are worn by hunters because deer, elk and other game mammals can't see it. Note: It may not be a bad idea to spring for those red fishing hooks after all.

Tackle Box Tip - can't get your favorite hook in red or don't want to spend double the price on red fishing Line?  Keep a red Sharpie marker in your Tackle box. I've found it's just as effective at hiding your shiny gear from the fish without the cost.

UVA rays are what causes a Suntan.

Blue is the last visible Spectrum to disappear in water.
So if you want to be noticed in up to 40 feet of water - add some blue to your lure! Blue Crystal Ice Flashabou is an excellent addition to any fly or jig; it has built-in UV properties, a touch of Blue and just the right amount of bling without being overpowering or too flashy.

I hope this blog was helpful for you. It just reflects the basics and some of my opinions without getting too technical. We do carry the UV Blast products, most Retailers do. We can add UV powder coating to any Jig Head. If you can't find them please contact us, we'd be happy to get them for you. Questions? Email me, I'll post answers here as well.  

Feel free to share or link to this article, as long as you credit the Author. Thank You!

Lori Haggerty

Phone 610-373-1368