Rain, rain, go away — come back after the water's cleared up!

About the author

Stephen Headrick

Stephen Headrick

Stephen Headrick is better known to the bass fishing world as the Smallmouth Guru. He lives in Celina, Tenn., and is the owner of Punisher Lures.

I don’t think it’s ever going to stop raining. I’m thinking it might just rain from now on until maybe the end of days. So, if we’re going to catch brown bass, we’d better learn how to do it when the water’s high and muddy.

We’ll start by my saying something you’ve heard me say before. Most guys fish too shallow for smallies.

That’s especially true now. Earlier the bass moved up into water 5-15 feet deep to spawn. Then, the rains started. Water has been pouring into the lakes and rivers at an unbelievable rate. The places that were 5-15 feet deep are now anywhere from 18 to 25 feet deep. But, the bass didn’t move. They stayed right where they were. Instead of fishing 5-15 feet you should be fishing 18-25 feet.

The water has a lot of color to it, too. That makes a big difference when it comes to picking a lure. Instead of dragging a jig along you should be swimming one or maybe fishing with a swimbait.

My favorite jig is the MagWag by Punisher. It’s marketed as a flipping jig, but it’s a great swimming jig, too. I like white. It has a shad look in dirty water and the fish can see it. For the depths I’m talking about, I recommend 1/2-ounce. That’s heavy enough to get you down where they’re at but light enough to let you swim it up off the bottom when that works best.

As far as swimbaits are concerned, we’ve been fishing a new one — new to me, anyway — made by Big Hammer. It has a square tail instead of the rounded ones you get on most plastic swimbaits. They say it gives you more vibration.

I didn’t believe that at first, but after I tried a couple of them I’m a believer. You can actually feel more vibration as you wind it in. I think that really helps in this muddy water. Smallies aren’t used to not being able to see their prey. We need to give them all the help we can.

The 3-inch version works best for me. They have more colors than you can count. Any of their chartreuse shad combinations seem to catch the most fish down here, but other colors will probably work just as well. Just make sure they can see it.

No matter which lure you use, however, you’ve got to fish it deep, but not right on the bottom. Fish look up to feed a lot more than they look down. Keep it up where they can find it, so they can kill it and you can catch them.

Use a steady retrieve at first. If that doesn’t work don’t be afraid to mix it up a little bit. Don’t do the same thing over and over again if you’re not catching fish. That’s always good advice.

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