Clear is Dear to Fishermen
Bob McNally 06.07.16
Most seasoned anglers prefer fishing clear water. But there’s clear water, and then there’s clear water. The difference can be like comparing a Florida Keys bonefish flat to a Texas flooded lake bar. Both are 3-feet deep and may offer great fishing, but their water clarity is as different as a glass jar of air to a mug of strong coffee. Indeed, a clear water label to great fishing is a very relative term.
Sometimes water clarity can provide important information in how shallow-water anglers catch fish. For example, in some regions where water is not ultra-clear, top-water plugs can be especially effective at attracting fish and getting them to strike. Some anglers commonly use oversize “Zara Spooks” and MirrOlure “Top Dogs” to pinpoint redfish, sea trout, and largemouth bass in stained water. They make long casts and fish fast, searching for dark-water fish. Fish often miss such surface plugs, but good anglers are ready with a second rod rigged with a scented grub jig or flashy spinner-bait or spoon to dupe fish making errant strikes.
When shallow water is like air, small lures that imitate bait nearly perfectly are usually given the nod, and quiet presentations are preferred. This is much of the reason why flies can be so deadly on spooky fish in water skimpy and clear, including persnickety targets around dock lights at night.
While many fishermen search for clear water, or at least the clearest water in an area, sometimes anglers don’t have the luxury of locating clear water when conditions really go sour at their hot spots. An entire bay, river, or reservoir system, for example, may turn dark and cloudy.
That’s when it’s time to move locations.