Picking the right lure for muddy conditions begins with helping the bass find it. There are four factors involved, and they’re all related so I can’t say that one is anymore important than the other.
We’ll start with water movement. Even though bass are primarily sight feeders they rely heavily on their lateral line to find food. That’s especially true when the water’s muddy and their visibility is down to inches.
Any plastic I throw, or hang on a jig, will be big and bulky, and it’ll probably have a lot of arm and legs on it to move water. My personal choice is a Strike King Rage Tail Lobster when the water’s real bad. If it’s just funky, I might go with something a little smaller like a Space Monkey but not often.
I don’t worry much about the color of my plastics because I’ll use any color as long as it’s black. It’s almost impossible to get pure black anymore, though. It all has flake in it so I go with the darkest looking stuff I can find. I’m not interested in pretty. I’m interested in catching bass.
There are times, however, when something with a touch of color in it will work better. There aren’t any rules for when. If black isn’t working and you know they’re there, try Summer Craw or Bama Craw.
I almost always rig my plastics on a jig. Black and blue is a good start if it’s big and bulky, too. But, most important of all, it needs to have rattles on it. There’s no such thing as too many, and they can’t be too loud.
Those are pretty much my go-to setups. They’ll catch them for me most of the time. Sometimes, though, the bass will want something that’s moving, something like a crankbait or a spinnerbait.
My crankbait selection is narrow. Whenever the water’s nasty I reach for a Strike King Pro Model Series 4S. I prefer dark colors but I also like something with a little orange, chartreuse or white on it. I think that makes it a little more visible.
Whatever bait you choose to throw, however, make sure it has some size to it and that it has rattles in it. It’s the noise thing. You can’t have to many rattles in it, and they can’t be too loud.
The same things are important with spinnerbaits except for color. You want big baits with big — giant — Colorado blades. But I also want I lighter colors. It seems like bass move towards the bait because of the thump of the blade. When they get close they can see the light colored skirt.
You’ll notice that I didn’t mention anything about the size of my target bass. That’s because this is one of those times when I don’t pick lures based on the size of the bass I expect to catch. It’s all the same regardless of whether I’m targeting 2-pounders or 5-pounders. They gotta find it before they can bite it.
Don’t let dirty water get the best of you. Attack it with confidence. You’ll catch ‘em.