3 Guaranteed Lures For Fishing Dirty Water

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3 Guaranteed Lures For Fishing Dirty Water

3 Guaranteed Lures For Fishing Dirty Water
Photo via Jason Kaefer

When fishing for bass in dirty water, one scenario anglers will encounter on the water is the issue of poor visibility. You may find that your favorite fishing hole has been replaced by a light muddy tinge due to farmland runoff, erosion and rainfall, and your only option is to change baits quickly. 

That said, a tinged body of water isn’t the end of your day — not by a long shot! The following bass lures have helped me stay on top of these adverse conditions. 

Texas Rig Worm 

Bass, like any predator dealing with a reduction in visibility, will resort to other advantages. In this case, they’ll head to shallower water and hunt small by taking up an ambush position in and around vegetation. Aquatic plants filter water and provide more oxygenation and a slightly clearer environment – perfect time to throw a soft plastic worm

Fishing from the bank? Try working the corners and edges and points. Remember to work the shade as the sun crawls to center sky above. Poor water clarity doesn’t effect the temperature, and you can bet those bass will seek out shade at the onset of heat. 

I like to work those small pockets among reed lines and retrieve first with a slow crawl, almost with a dredge motion. If no bites are detected, I will hop it back.

Search out the docks and piers on your lake and try hitting them with a worm or 3/4 oz jig with a craw trailer

Given the small area, you can even dead stick (remain motionless) and watch closely for your line to jump, or a subtle thump. Remember, the vast majority of hits occur on the drop, so keep an eye out for movement. Don’t be hesitant to dead stick into the smallest corners and crevices you can find, in and around docks especially. 

When deciding the best colors for bass fishing in dirty water, start with dark colors and work toward lighter and brighter, all the way up to chartreuse. 

Chatter Baits 

One reason these baits dominate in poor visibility are the tight vibrations similar to a rat-l trap – a dangerous marriage between sound and movement.

Like a jig, you can change out your trailer to match the hatch or the environment to imitate shad, bluegill, craws.  I like to outfit my chatter baits with a Rage Craw (dark blue or pumpkin green to start) and move up to light red, then chartreuse, to entice a reaction bite if the water clarity is poor. 

The versatility of these baits sets them aside as they can be deflected off the structure, and you can pitch it anywhere – skip under docks, run it through grass, near and around brush piles, and lay-downs.

Spinnerbaits

Booyah Covert Spinner JC Special

We can talk at length about the effectiveness of the bladed jig, but one lure that is often overlooked and works well in cloudy water is the Blue Fox Classic bullet spinner (my preference is in gold and silver).  An underrated lure in my opinion, this spinner produces a flash similar to a bladed jig and has a profile to match a mouthwatering bait fish. 

Anglers in the San Francisco Bay Area will often fish Lake Merced using only a bullet spinner due to runoff from a nearby golf course that had disrupted visibility years back. These old-timers are no strangers to 10 lb+ monsters.

Their advice for year round adverse water conditions is to “keep it flashy and bright. And if that fails head deep into the plants and reads.” 

Make long casts and try bringing your spinner along the edge of grass lines, docks, and reeds with a steady retrieve, then slow your retrieve bringing your rod tip up, gently lifting that spinner toward the surface. 

General Tips for Catching More Bass in Dirty Water

My general process in these conditions is to begin with flash – either a chatter bait, chartreuse square bill crank or spinner and cover the water column. The square bill is good for hitting the upper half of the water and your chatter bait can cover the lower portion. 

If need be, you can use a deep-diving crank to cover the lower portion to locate the bite. My next step would be to, as the old timers say, head into the plants and flip a worm or jig, feeling for those subtle bites, and covering a range of retrieval techniques from dead sticking to burning it back. 

All in all, you will experience bad water in your fishing life, so try out these techniques next time your on the water! 

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