As rivers, streams, and creeks across the country begin to flood, we're reminded that spring rains bring muddy water, which decreases visibility and makes bass fishing even more challenging. Turbid inflows prove particularly disruptive in lakes where fish are spawning, as the dirty--and typically colder--water will push fish off their beds.
Past the bedding season, murky water in any scenario demands attention and adjustment from anglers hoping to fool bass with artificials. It's all about increasing the fish's ability to detect your bait.
Go Big: Large-profile baits provide a significant visual cue while displacing more water than smaller baits, allowing fish to "feel" something coming through the murk. Upsize your jig trailers, go with a larger worm on your Texas rig, or tie on a full-size topwater plug.
Get Loud: Baits with internal rattles--be they crankbaits, jigs, topwaters, or frogs--give fish an audible beacon to follow. Bumping stumps or rocks with squarebills or crashing Texas-rigged baits into cover also keys strikes.
Shake It: Lipless crankbaits earn their keep each spring, as their shuddering motion creates the bait-mimicking tremors to which bass respond. Likewise, Colorado blades produce the "thump" that draws fish to your spinnerbait.
Brighten Up: Dipping baits in chartreuse or orange dye enhances contrast, but when the water's dirty don't hesitate to get creative with colors. For example, Texas angler Dustin Grice modifies his spinnerbaits by adding chartreuse and white willow-leaf blades with a matching chartreuse/white skirt. That's nothing new for brown bass, but Grice says the strategy also attracts the green ones.
"Most people think colored blades are just for smallmouths," Grice says. "Smallmouths love them, but they also work for largemouth when the water's dirty. I'll throw (colored blades) to docks, points, and anywhere I find off-color water."