Part 3: Knowing What to Use – Water Clarity Guide for Choosing Baits Bass Fishing

Water clarity guide for choosing baits bass fishing

Here is part three of a five part series of articles. This post is aimed to help answer some response’s to the question “What is your biggest challenge with bass fishing?” In this case we will discuss water clarity. Water clarity is a major factor to consider for selecting your choice of techniques and baits when fishing. This water clarity guide for choosing baits bass fishing has really helped me out fishing. Hopefully, it will help keep you “Kraken” bass as well no matter what you are faced with. Enjoy the post!


Water Clarity Guide for Choosing Baits Bass Fishing

Knowing what to use when you get out on the water can be a struggle. Identifying the water clarity you are faced with is a great way to eliminate options and focus on the best presentations. By taking what you’ve learned from the previous posts on Seasonal Bass Behavior and Water Temperature, and then add this water clarity guide to your arsenal of knowledge, you will improve your catch ratio’s. All three of these things are vital ingredients in knowing what to use when bass fishing.

Water Clarity Guide for Choosing Baits Bass Fishing – How This Affects Your Selections

What the water looks like determines what senses the bass will use to locate and feed on forage. In clear water bass rely more on their eyesight to determine what is worth eating. In dirty muddy water, they rely more on their lateral line motion detectors to identify prey and kill it. Choose a presentation to match the feeding senses a bass uses to chow down. In clear water use more natural subtle presentations and colors. If you are in dirty water, use baits that push and create more movement. Then with stained water use something in-between. Combining a natural color with a bait with more movement can be a deadly combination. Here’s a breakdown of some good things to use when confronted with the multitude of water clarity conditions you might find.

water clarity guide for choosing baits bass fishing
This water clarity guide for choosing baits bass fishing can help you if you encounter extreme clear water like this. Notice the rock you can see that is sitting at about 12 feet deep.

Water Clarity Guide for Choosing Baits – Clear Water: Visibility 8 feet or greater

In clear water bass primarily feed using their eyesight. Solid things to use in this case are natural softplastic craws and worms in green pumpkin or watermelon. Some of my favorites are a Keitech Crazy Flapper, and the Jackall Flick Shake Worm. Also, silent crankbaits or natural colored swimbaits in ayu, or bluegill are solid choices in these crystal clear water conditions. A natural presentation is key. A shaky head or a drop shot rig is a solid set up for catching bass in clear water on baits like these.

Water Clarity Guide for Choosing Baits – Lightly Stained Water: Visibility 4-8 feet

In lightly stained water bass feed using both their eyes, and the movements they feel around them with their lateral lines. In this situation use things with a little flash or vibration to draw attention, but your bait also has to have a natural enough appearance a bass will eat it. Something like a bluegill spinnerbait, or an underspin with a natural looking swimbait are good choices. Using vibration style baits will help draw the attention of the fish. Plus, using baits in a natural color will get them to bite. A chatterbait would also be another good choice for you to get more strikes. Pick a bait which will fish well at the depth the bass are holding with both some vibration and naturalism, and you will for sure get smashed!

Water Clarity Guide for Choosing Baits – Stained Water: Visibility 2 – 4 feet

In stained water of this caliber bass begin relying more on movement to detect their prey, and their eyesight to make sure they grab the prey. When water starts getting this dirty start busting out the bright colors and dark colors. Things creating a contrast with some noise are good options in low visibility water. Colors like chartreuse and white, or black and blue can really stand out in this type of water condition. Using moving baits with rattles such as a square bill or a lipless crankbait can increase the ability of a bass to locate your bait. If the water is warm enough a black or white buzz bait can be a solid choice in water like this.  Try inserting rattles into tubes or onto a jig. Any extra you can add will help draw the bass to your bait.

Water Clarity Guide for Choosing Baits – Dirty Water: Visibility 0 – 2 feet

Dirty water of this caliber can be really intimidating to us clear water fisherman, but don’t kid yourself bass will still eat! Use dark colors like black and blue, or bright colors like chartreuse. Bulk and vibration are a huge plus for getting bites. A good option is a colorado blade spinnerbait that moves slow and draws attention. Bass in dirty water primarily use their lateral lines to locate prey and forage. Also, don’t be afraid to add some sound to your baits with rattles. All these things will help your bait get noticed and eaten in these conditions. In dirty water conditions it is critical to get your baits close to the bass. Bass in these conditions can’t see from very far away. Use a presentation to get your bait close to the bass in the cover they are holding. Techniques like pitching or flipping is a common practice with water like this.

water clarity guide for choosing baits bass fishing
This smallmouth was in some dirty water, using a rattling chartreuse and white jerk bait is what drew him out to strike.

Water Clarity Guide for Choosing Baits – Final Thoughts

Hopefully, you can take this water clarity guide for bass fishing lure selections, and use it on your next outing to catch more fish. Oftentimes, you can find various water clarity on a body of water. Switching to a better suited presentation if the wind is beating up on a bank and dirtying the water can make all the difference in the world for getting bites. I’ve seen it happen on numerous occasions.

Don’t forget to subscribe to the blog for more solid details to improve your ability to “Krak” bass! Plus, feel free to check out some of my different trip reports of different lakes with varying water clarity conditions. It might help you determine some good things to use at various visibility levels. Also, to help get your soft plastic rigs set up perfectly for catching bass, snag yourself the Kraken bass professionally made video’s below. My mission is to help you glean from my experiences on the water, so you can spend more time “Kraken” bass. Thanks for your support!

As Always,

Stay Stoked

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