Bass Fishing in Muddy Water Conditions
Muddy water is often a byproduct of rains and fronts. As a general rule we avoid fishing in severely muddy water, but when this is unavoidable we only fish shallow. In muddy water, the light penetrates only a few feet and the resulting darkness keeps the bass shallow.
We use only two baits when fishing muddy water:
(1) a jig-and-pig,
(2) a single bladed (#6 Colorado, gold or copper) spinner bait.
Please bear this in mind; there are degrees of muddy water. We like to fish dingy water, but if we can see raccoon tracks on top of the water, it is too muddy.
When confronted with raccoon tracks, we move toward clearer water, constantly assessing water clarity. We think the bass do the same. The bass move from muddy water toward clearer water until they find conditions they can live in, then they stop.
So as we are moving toward clearer water we are constantly testing for fish. When we find where they stopped, we start fishing in earnest.
As we are moving toward clearer water, we often come upon a mud-line, and this is a signal to start fishing intently. We throw into the muddy water, and bring the lure through the mud-line into the dingy water. We expect the bite to come within inches of the transition between the muddy water and the clearer water.
Windy conditions makes for excellent fishing during late spring, summer and early fall. It makes for poor fishing in the winter and early spring.
Here is why wind improves fishing. First, the wind causes waves and waves oxygenate the water. The additional oxygen invigorates the fish and causes them to feed. But more importantly, the wind blows algae and plankton to the windy shore where it stacks up. Shad feed off of plankton and bass feed off of shad. Both the shad and the bass like to actively feed shallow along a wind-blown shore.
When waves are breaking over a point or along a shoreline, we look for deeper water nearby. We expect the bass to be holding in deep water but close to the shallow, breaking waves. When fishing a shoreline, we hold the boat off shore, throw lures into the breaking waves and retrieve them to where we think the bass are holding in deeper water.
For this type of fishing we prefer crankbaits. Our favorite crankbaits for this purpose are 6A Bombers and Wiggle Warts. We throw three different colors.
First, we try a lure that matches the local crayfish. If this doesn't work we throw shad colored lures, and if this doesn't work we throw lures that are predominantly chartreuse.
We also throw spinner baits into the waves, pull them to the deep water and let them drop, shaking them all the while. When the lure hits the bottom we slow-roll it for a few feet, then rapidly crank it back to the boat to repeat the process. If the wind is blowing across green vegetation, we will fish this vegetation much the same as we fish a wind-blown shore.
We love to fish a rocky point that has wind blowing over it. This is one of our favorite fishing places. We begin by positioning the boat on the lee side of the point. From this position we toss lures into the wind and beyond the point, then we retrieve slowly over the point, expecting the bite as the lure enters the deeper water on the lee side.
A cardinal sin often committed by novice fishermen is to fish the lee side of the lake when the wind is blowing.
Our experience is this: On the lee side of the lake the bass will be inactive, while on the windward shores the bass will be active. The wind makes boating and fishing tougher, but the improved bite makes it worthwhile.
These words apply to fishing in late-spring, summer, and early-fall, but it is vice-versa for the rest of the year.
When the water is colder than 60 degrees, the wind makes it even colder, so the place to fish is where the water is sheltered, and it is even better if the spot is fully exposed to sunshine.