Many anglers have their tried-and-true, standby lures that they know will work in any given condition. Other anglers constantly search for the next big thing, the up-and-coming lure that’s sure to get them more big-fish bites than ever. Though UV lures have been around for ages, they are becoming increasingly popular. Field and Stream‘s Joe Cermele explains why this type of lure is being seen more often these days on store shelves and in tackle boxes, and asks if UV lures are fish catchers or just a groovy gimmick.

FishSeeUV-6-Pack-photo by OutdoorBlogger

Unlike human eyes, which require a black light to see the ultraviolet reflectivity of Jimi Hendrix posters and lava lamps, fish eyes—at least those of many predator species—can see reflected UV light naturally. And that’s driving a whole new approach to fishing lure design.

According to Zack Jud, a fisheries biologist at Florida International University, there are two reasons why fish have developed the ability to see reflected UV light. First, perceiving UV-reflective patterns on fish skin helps them recognize a mate or an enemy. The other reason is because food sources such as transparent plankton are much easier to pick out when they’re reflecting UV light.

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Photos: Wyoming Game and Fish Department (top); OutdoorBlogger (above)