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You can be sure regardless of where you live or cast your favorite bait at some time you will be faced with fishing muddy water. To soften the description of muddy water it is termed discolored or murky but the truth is it’s flat out muddy. I call it dirt that’s just too wet to plow. It ca be intimidating when you prepare to launch and spot water that delivers inches of visibility. I’ve learned to love muddy water.

Stop and think about it, if I had to choose between gin clear and “off” color I’ll take the stained water every time. Because I frequent moving waters I also realize that strong current often accompanies that dark waters, I do not compromise safety when deciding where to paddle and pitch my baits at fish. But the current does give strong clues as to where the fish will stage. Almost any type to of gamefish will avoid current. This can be accomplished in a few ways. First setting up behind natural or man made elements that redirect or deflect current. Bridge pilings, docks, rocks, fallen trees, points and aquatic weeds all fall into the category of structure that fish will gravitate to in stronger current. Fish may also go to deeper haunts where the flow is minimized and wait for the flow to calm down before returning to regular spots. In lakes of almost any size murky water will bring lots of bass to the shallows. Once in “thin” water they will still set up around objects, stumps, weeds, wood and any cover are likely hideouts. The discolored waters allow for a close up encounter with fish. With limited sense of sight you can get close to present your best bait choices.

To prepare to battle bass in the low visibility conditions I look at baits that appeal to the dirty water sense of gamefish, in my case mostly bass. Because bass primarily feed by sight I use lures that are heavily loaded with visual capabilities and will also occasionally employ sound chambers on jigs are cranking baits. I remain a fan of subtlety and know that bass sense the presence of life in the water with sight, sound and the use of the lateral line which telegraphs vibration. Unless you are targeting catfish forget about that overrated sense of smell in the black bass species. Limited sight also means the strike zone of fish is also diminished in muddy water conditions. Now is not the time for tiny finesse jigs and scaled down lures. First for me because I’m a jig addict is the large profile of a full size jig, probably 3/8 to a ½ ounce model depending on the current and a regular crawfish trailer. My first choice is the Strike King Denny Brauer Structure Jig in watermelon red flake. I trail it with the Rage Tail Craw in 229 Roadkill color. In the dirtiest of water I will opt for the “Ratlin” Pro-Model Jig for the sound making capabilities. Texas Craw # 8 has a little shot of chartreuse that adds to the visibility. Don’t discount soft plastics, I have had great success with a 4.5 Flip-N-Tube black neon #38 Texas rigged and worked around heavy cover. For multiple fish sense appeal a spinnerbait is a great choice. The most obvious pick on the spinner is the willow leaf versions, in the dirtiest water a double willow is your friend. The willow blades produce the maximum amount of flash and the most fish for me. I prefer to toss the gold / nickel combination so the fish can pick the color they are most attracted to. The bluegill skirt color #234 or straight black #210 offers the most contrast. To be flat out evil, throw a single Colorado black skirted spinnerbait that normally reserved for night fishing. You throw it for exactly the same reason as you would after daylight hours. The heavy vibration, noise making capabilities of rattles and bright colors bring you to the lipless crankbait. The Red Eye shad again from Strike King in color #419 fire tiger is good as is the #451 Rayburn Red Craw.

I like the weight of the Big Rig for stability and less effect of the moving water. It stays in place a little better for me. Another plus for the Jackson Big Rig is my ability to stand and fish when working the highly colored waters. Casting accuracy is a t a premium in muddy water because of the smaller strike zone. I rarely use open face spinning in muddy water situations, my choice for baitcasting equipment is Lew’s The Lew’s line of reels are dependable and there is a model and a gear retrieve ratio that fits all my styles of fishing. I’ve also found that a slower steady makes more sense and consistently produces more fish that are relying on their ability to find the bait under adverse conditions. Working cover from all angles especially on the jigs and soft plastics is advisable. Don’t be intimidated by water color, you can master muddy water!