Making the best of dirty water

When water systems are high from excessive rain or flooding the result is normally dirty water. For a successful day on the lake there are a few key factors to keep in mind and some great baits to use when fishing in dirty water conditions.

When the water is dirty bass typically stay shallow due to the fact that they feel safer. They don’t have the desire to use cover as much because the dirty water acts as a big blanket. Unfortunately this means that they tend to scatter and can be hard to locate, so spend time trying to find a unique area or even an area that is holding current.

Bass have great eye site, but when the water is dirty they really rely on their lateral lines to detect pray through vibration and noise. So it only makes since to choose baits that create sound and vibration in order to trigger a reaction bite.

Square billed or flat sided crankbaits are a great choice. They move a lot of water making it easier for bass to locate the bait. Try using Lucky Craft or Strike King’s 1.5 series in splatter back pattern.

When using spinner baits selecting the correct blade combination is crucial. Lunker Lure’s Triple Rattle Back Vibratron has a funky looking blade that creates a lot of movement and works well in dirty water. If you don’t have this bait, then Colorado or even Indiana blades work well.

I love to fish jigs and will use almost any excuse to throw one. They are a great choice for dirty water as long as the body is big, bulky, and has a rattle. I like to use black, blue black, red or blue sapphire colors.

Two other bait selections that I like to use when targeting fish in dirty water are chatter baits and Rattlin Shakin Shads. These baits are vibrating machines. They move and displace more water than anything I have in my tackle box…they flat work.

Big trailers are a great addition. They slow the bait down and disburse even more water. I really like Missile Baits Shockwave do to its big boot tail and vibrant color choices.

Fishing dirty water is one instance where I don’t worry about line size too much, but I do prefer 20lb Gamma Edge fluorocarbon or 50-lb Torque braid. I’ll use a rod I can really lean on them with – 7’ Denali Noirwood, and just have a blast.

A slow retrieval speed and making repeated casts is an important part of the bait presentation when fishing these conditions. It takes time for the bass to locate the bait and move in for the strike.

Fishing dirty water can present some challenges, but it’s also a great opportunity to have a lot of fun and catch a lot of fish.

Chad Morgenthaler is in his 12th season as a professional angler currently competing in the BASS Elites and BASS Southern Opens. He is a four-time Bassmaster Classic, five-time Toyota Texas Bass Classic and a FWC qualifier. He is also a past President and Vice President for the Professional Anglers Association. For more Information

Find me on Twitter & Instagram @CCMorgenthaler and Facebook Chad Morgenthaler.

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