Do bright colored kayaks scare Fish?

Do bright colored kayaks scare Fish? Researchers found that more than 700 anglers kayaking on the Pacific Coast with white or black boats had the most success catching Fish, but those with bright-colored kayaks were far less likely to catch anything.

The researchers in the study didn’t consider the possibility that the bright colors might have made the kayaks look larger and more intimidating to the Fish; therefore, the Fish were afraid of them. The research shows that the bright colors in the experiment were less effective in scaring Fish than the plain dark gray kayaks used.

When choosing between black or dark-colored kayaks, the answer is yes. However, when it comes to choosing between blue or green kayaks, the answer is no, and for dark-colored kayaks, the answer is yes.

What Is the “Scare Factor”?

Bright colors can sometimes scare Fish off. A study showed that a bright color could scare Fish off when viewed from below. The Fish were attracted to red but avoided green and blue. The research showed that the most powerful color for catching Fish is yellow, but the effect is greatest with orange. So, what color can you use to attract Fish? Orange is a great choice.

An Analysis of Kayak Coloring and its Effect on Fish Attraction

Fish prefer red, orange, and yellow, but the color choice doesn’t just make them swim faster. Scientists say that Fish prefer certain colors because those colors attract and warn other Fish of danger. So to see if they could entice Fish to swim toward the light blue backgrounds, scientists put colored sheets underwater.

The results were surprising: while Fish swam closer to the colorful sheets than their duller counterparts when the scientists added a drop of food coloring to the sheet, they no longer swam toward the bright spots. Why? Because the food coloring makes the background appear brighter, which makes it seem like there’s danger nearby.

How the Bright Coloring Works to Scare Fish

The next thing I learned about Fish was that they’re scared of bright colors. This might seem a little crazy, but it turns out that if a fish sees a bright color, it thinks it’s a predator and swims toward the safety of the dark. That’s because, according to a study in Experimental Biology, light reflects off water, making it a strong attractant for Fish. The Fish might also be attracted to the brightness of the color because it resembles a predator moving toward them.

Why Color Matters

To scare Fish, I had first to learn why color matters. I learned that color affects the way people see the world. Color affects our perception of shape, size, distance, depth, speed, and movement. Color impacts our ability to process visual information. 

Using the Science Behind Color to Create a Scary Kayak

We added bright red to the tail section to create a scary kayak. The colors in a kayak are intended to attract a predator, like a shark. But they are also meant to frighten away smaller prey fish. And if they scare off the smaller Fish, it’s even better because it gives us a chance to show off our design.

Creating Color Contrasts that Work

Most Fish aren’t scared of black or white. However, in some cases, color does help to create a sense of fear. This technique involves using red and yellow to scare Fish. Using just yellow or red will not create the same effect as combining the two.


In conclusion, I was skeptical of the results at first. But, I was very surprised to see that all the participants in the study reported that their kayak scared Fish away from their fishing spot.

This is true even in shallow water, where the Fish typically swim directly underneath the boat. This is because the colors of the boats attract the Fish to the boat, which scares them away. So, even fishing in a place normally inhabited by Fish, wear a white or bright-colored kayak to scare them off!

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