Capt. Ethan Hamrick
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5 Tips for Catching Bass in Crystal Clear Water

Targeting bass in crystal clear water is often a struggle. Fish are much more wary when the visibility is high and are much more likely to spook when fishermen are around.

Today, were going to discuss multiple techniques that anglers can use to help them catch more bass when fishing clear water.

1. Downsize Tackle

The first thing I like to do when on a fishery with real clear water is downsize my tackle. Instead of using 20 pound line, I’ll go down to 12-15 pound line. Or instead of throwing a ½ ounce lipless crankbait or jig, I’ll use a ¼ or 3/8 ounce bait.

Other tricks include cutting a piece of your jig trailer off or using smaller blades on a spinnerbait to reduce the profile of the lure. Using baits with smaller profiles and that don’t make as much noise often lead to more bites in clear water.

2. Use Natural Colors

When water visibility is high, using natural colored lures is the way to go. Because bass can see much better than in murky water, it’s best to use baits that look normal to them in their clear water habitat.

For soft plastic baits, watermelon green, watermelon red, green pumpkin, and brown are all natural color patterns that work great on a clear body of water. For hard baits, try to stick with translucent colors, such as gray, silver, or light blue. 

3. Throw a Jerkbait


When fishing clear bodies of water, my favorite hard bait to throw is a suspending jerkbait.

Jerkbait fishing is a very visual technique, so it’s a lure that works extremely well when water visibility is greater than two feet. I like to fish jerkbaits year round if I’m fishing on a clear fishery.

I’ll fish them in a variety of depth ranges and around all types of cover and structure. I’ve seen from experience that they are one of the most effective lures for targeting bass in clear water. 

4. Throw a Senko

6 pound bass caught on senko worm
6 lb bass caught on a senko worm

My favorite soft plastic bait for clear water fishing is definitely a senko. It is an extremely versatile bait that can be fished so many different ways. Anglers can wacky rig, Texas rig, Carolina rig, ned rig a senko, or rig the bait on a shaky head or drop shot.

A senko provides a subtle presentation that isn’t intrusive and doesn’t spook wary fish. It’s the perfect lure for targeting those bass that won’t commit to other baits.

5. Stealth is Important

Another important thing to remember when fishing in clear water is to stay a good distance from your target. Anglers should make sure they aren’t right on top of the fish they are targeting especially when fishing shallow.

Casting beyond your target is important no matter what the water clarity is, but this is particularly true when the visibility is good. Fish are naturally more alert in clear water because they can see more of their surroundings. Therefore, making sure you cast your bait several yards past the fish is crucial.

Anglers should be as quiet as they possibly can anytime they’re fishing, but even more so when on a clear fishery. Try not to make any unnecessary noise, whether fishing from the bank or a boat. Fish can pick up on even the slightest sounds, so is important to make minimal noise when around those fish. 

In addition, anglers help themselves by not casting a shadow on their target. Fish can see those shadows and will oftentimes spook off when they do. By positioning themselves or their boat in a way that a shadow is not falling on the area their fishing, anglers are increasing the chances of catching more fish in clear water.

Back to You

Try to keep some of these tips in mind the next time you tackle a clear water fishery. I typically like to apply these techniques anytime I’m fishing water with visibility better than two feet. Applying these clear water tactics could help you turn an average day into a great day, so be sure to give them a try on your next outing!

Let us know what you favorite lure to throw in clear water is! We’d love to hear from you!

As always, happy fishing and keep your hooks wet!


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