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Fishing in Very Stained or Dirty Water

Fishing in Very Stained or Dirty Water Fishing in Very Stained or Dirty Water
By Jim Hammond

Fishing in stained water is a task that we all have to endure at least some of the time. Here are a few tricks to help you put a few fish in the box when these conditions plague your favorite fishing spot.

When we have heavy rains, big winds or strong tides, the water clarity sometimes reduces to a visibility of a few inches. When this happens, we all have the same problem, can the fish see the bait. Like most guides, I do not have the option of fishing only the good days. I have to fish in all conditions and very dirty water is right up there on my list of conditions that make it tough for everyone.

When fishing under normal conditions, you toss your bait in an area that you expect to hold fish and you are depending on the fishes ability to see the bait. When the water is very dirty, from days of big winds or a lot of rain, the water clarity will decrease to the point that you cannot see the bait for more than a few inches. Well, can the fish that you are targeting see the bait any better than you or do they have other means of finding the bait.

When fishing these conditions, I like to employ all of the resources that are at my disposal.

Smell, is one of the best ways to attract a fish to your bait when fishing these conditions. There are several ways that you can use scents to attract fish. One very easy way is to attach something to your hook, is to add scent or attractant. One product that will do this and is easy to put on the hook and does not affect the movement of the bait is Fish Bites. Fish Bites is a synthetic fish attractant and feeding stimulant. This product comes in several colors, flavors and sizes. Fish Bites was developed by Dr. William Carr, a marine biologist that has spent many years testing and developing scents that attract and motivate fish to feed. In very stained water I like the chartreuse and hot pink colors. These two colors seem to show up best in dirty water.

If you fish rubber baits, you can let them soak in pogy oil for several weeks, before attaching them to the hook. This will add a scent to them that will last a long time and for some reason the pogy oil makes these rubber baits very tough and difficult for the fish to get off of the hook.

There are also several types of sprays that you can squirt on your bait, but they will not last near as long as the Fish Bites or letting your baits soak for weeks in pogy oil.

Cut bait is another way to add scent to the water. A piece of cut mullet works well in dirty water. Take a mullet and cut off a piece of the side as if you were filleting him. This is by far on of the best ways to add scent and flash to the water.

Sound, Vibration:
A way to add extra flash and sound to your jig is to add a small spinner blade to the eye of the jig. I like the size blade that you will find on small crappie jigs or beetle spins. You know what I am talking about, the blade this is attached to a small piece of wire with a blade about the size of your finger nail on your pinky. With this blade you will need to tie your fishing line to the loop in the wire. You will also need to back off a little on your drag because the wire is not very strong and a big fish will straighten this wire out and Mr. Fish will be gone. If you have a small vise or fly tying vise, you can take a small blade and attach it directly to the eye of the jig and still be able to tie your line to the jig head eye, thus eliminating the wire. The blade will also add vibration and sound as you work it through the water.

Sound also helps to attract fish and one easy way to add sound is to purchase some small glass rattles. The kind that bass fisherman use on their soft plastics. Take your jigs and glue one of these rattles to the hook, using super glue. This will add a clicking sound to your hook and this seems to at least get the fishes attention and get him looking for the sound.

I recently found another way to add sound to my baits. I have used the Cajun Thunder float several times over the past month and the clicking sound that this float makes DOES attract fish. I tie on a leader to the bottom of this float, attach a hook and for bait I like something live. Toss the Cajun Thunder in an area that you think holds fish, take up the slack in your line, let the bait sit there for a few seconds, then using a wrist action pull back briskly on the rod. This will cause the brass beads on the bottom of the Cajun Thunder to clack. Last week I was out with Vic Tison and Ron Waterman where we used these Cajun Thunder floats to scare up a few fish that were all around out baits but did not seem to want to eat one until we clacked the float.

Try a hard plastic bait that makes noise, like the MirrOlure She Dog, Top Dawg Pup or one of the many lures that have rattles in them. Work the baits slower so the fish can home in on them.

Spinner baits work well in dirty water. They not only have a lot of flash but the blades make noise that attracts the fishes attention.

Extra Flash:
Take your favorite jig and tie on a small piece of crystal flash or tinsel. I like to tie on several colors, gold, blue, silver or what ever you think will work. This adds extra flash to the bait and this little added flash can make the difference in a fish seeing your bait or passing it by.

Give one of these a try next time you have to fish dirty water and I bet you will see an improvement in the number of fish that take your bait.

Good Fishing

Capt. Jim Hammond
[email protected]

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