Clear Water Bass Fishing

Bass Fishing Tips and Tricks

I thought it was time for me to share some of my bass fishing tips and tricks, for catching bass in crystal clear waters. Clear water bass fishing, can present some of the toughest fishing an angler has to deal with. When the water is so clear that the fish can see you and your lures from a great distance, it is time to pull out every trick you ever heard of.

In water so clear you can see your lure more than a few feet from the boat, matching the hatch becomes more important than ever. The more a bass can see your lure, the more it needs to exactly imitate whatever the fish are feeding on. Over the years I have learned a few tricks that will help insure success in what can seem to be an imposable situation.

What’s Wrong With This Lake

A few miles from my house is a beautiful 38 acre lake, loaded with good healthy bass. The lake is on game management land and as such is open to public fishing. There is ample parking space, and a large clear area for launching a boat or fishing from the bank. With the awesome scenery,  and easy access it is the perfect place to take the family and young anglers fishing.

No matter what time of day I visit the lake, the lake is void of any boats, and there are no anglers present fishing from the bank. So why are all the anglers passing this lake up for lesser holes?

Talk to anyone who has fished this lake and they say it is just too hard to catch a fish in this clear water. So let’s take a look a how I fished the clear water and how hard it was to catch fish.

A Day On The Lake

My first few casts were made with a 3/8 ounce tandem chartreuse spinner bait. After a few casts I noticed that the bass would move away from the bait, and that it was bright enough for me to see it from a long distance. Results were the same for a 6 inch lizard, square bill crankbait and large jerkbait. All of my go to bass baits and techniques were failing me, and spooking the bass. Maybe everyone was right, these bass could not be caught.

For most anglers that fish this lake it would be time to head for the house, for me it was time to make adjustments.

Clear Water Bass
Clear Water Bass

This bass and several other nice bass came from this crystal clear water under high bright skies and a high pressure system. The worst of conditions and bass that were already spooked, so what adjustments did I make?

What I see determines my bait choices, and the methods I use, this is where having a good pair of polarized sun glasses comes in handy.  Looking into the shallow water, the first thing I saw was an over abundance of bait fish. I also noticed that all the bait was small in size. Small minnows and bream were everywhere. This told me that I would  need to downsize my offerings.

Since I had already seen fish fleeing from my bright colored baits, I knew that neutral colors would be a better choice. Since the bass had an abundance of food swimming around them, I knew that  provoking a reaction strike would be the only way to get the bass to commit to my bait. One last piece of the puzzle. Every where I went I noticed small green frogs with a white belly. Now I had a Plan.

I took what I had learned from watching the bass’s available food source, and made the following changes.

I replaced the 3/8 chartreuse spinnerbait, with a 1/4 ounce spinnerbait with a black and purple skirt to imitate the bream swimming everywhere. Still I needed to provoke a reaction strike, so I retrieved the bait faster to make it boil just under the surface. After about a dozen casts I had caught two bass about one and a half pounds each.

Looking around in my tackle I found a pack of 5 inch Zoom Trick Worms that had been watermellon seed, but had faded and had very little color now. I fished these without a weight, floating them over the grass with short fast jerks. Again I was trying to provoke the fish to react. This picked up several of the bass that would not bite earlier.

Next I tied on a Storm Wild Eyed Swim Shad in the 3inch 1/4 ounce size to a rod with 10# test line. The smaller sized swimbait closely imitated the minnows that were present everywhere. I fished the outside edges of the deep weeds. By letting them sink a few feet and then reeling at a medium speed with short jerks, the fish would strike as a reaction to the erratic movement. This resulted in several nice bass and a few large crappie.

Now I had a few things working well for me, and was catching fish as well as you could expect under these conditions. Still the frogs that were everywhere, stuck in the back of my mind. Time to try one more thing and maybe have some fun. A pack of Stanley Ribbit Frogs were sitting on top of my tackle bag, and were about the size of the frogs hopping off the bank.

Still looking for a reaction bite, I would make a long cast into the thicker weeds, and reel at a fast pace. The frog came across the water skimming the surface much like a buzz bait. The 7 1/2 pound bass in the picture above could not resist.


By making a few adjustments the day was a tremendous success, under the worst conditions.

Clear water adjustmenst

  • Notice the color of the clothes I am wearing in the photo above. The sky was bright blue, so I chose a blue shirt. If you can see the fish they can see you. Try to blend in.
  • A fast retrieve gives the fish less time to examine the lure.
  • An erratic  retrieve will make your lure appear to be injured, and make it stand out from the hundreds of baits you are imitating.
  • Bright colored lures appear different than anything the fish are used to looking at, and can spook them.
  • Size matters. If all you see are small bait fish, matching this size can increase your chances for success.

No matter what conditions you are fishing under, if you are not catching fish, making a few adjustments may save the day.

Let me know what you think. Feel free to leave comments about this article or any thing you would like me to cover in the future.

Go fishing and have some fun!


4 thoughts on “Clear Water Bass Fishing

  1. A very awesome story and instructional on clear water bass fishing! I got caught up in this story of yours and imagined myself on the water as well.

    Very nice to hear from you. I will be back to check out the website of yours.

    Thank you so much for the article Clear Water Bass Fishing. I wish it had been longer!


    1. Thanks Rick. Fishing clear water can be challenging. Fishing clearwater will teach you the importance of matching the hatch, and reaction strikes.I will add more to the article, as I fish this lake often. In the meantime get out and discover some of your own favorite waters. There is nothing like being there in person.

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