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justin apfel

Swamps to Crystal Clear Water

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I grew up in southeastern Virginia fishing in a lot of stained water in Cyprus and Tupelo swamps and I moved to Denver this past summer. I’ve been bass fishing for 10+ years but mostly in stained or murky water. The reservoirs and rivers here are crystal clear in some cases and it’s been a little intimidating, I feel like the fish are staring right at me. Anyone have general recommendations here? I know some basics like downsize line (I’ve gone down to 6lb fluoro on my finesse rod, 10 lb on my crankbait/jerkbait rod, etc.), more finesse presentations, and more realistic baits, but could learn much more. 

 

I could usually depend on bass being in shallow water when it was stained or murky, but I’m noticing bass are holding deeper out here. Majority of the lakes and rivers I fished back east are pretty shallow compared to the lakes I fish now so I think I need to change up tactics a little. Recommendations on going from shallow systems to deeper ones would be much appreciated :)

 

Last but not least, the lakes in southeastern va didn’t have smallmouth so I’m trying to figure them out as well. I fished in the James River a few times every summer and did well with tubes and small senkos, but haven’t targeted smallmouth out here just yet. I’ve got a lot to learn...

 

Anyways, I fish from a kayak mostly with a small Garmin fish finder so recommendations on depth and temp are applicable. I appreciate any help!!

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I deal with this in Southern California. Most of our lakes are crystal clear. I stick with natural color baits, and if I’m throwing swimbaits, I prefer glides for a reaction bite. Plus, if I see a fish, chances are it has seen me as well. I’ll usually back the boat away, and blind cast where I think the fish is at. 

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Dropshot with robiworms, Berkeley gulp, Yamamoto plastics.

 

Tubes and seniors will produce both large and smallmouth. Seniors don’t have to be small just cause it’s clear. I catch plenty on 5”.

 

If there is a large population of Shad in the lakes you fish match your jerks and cranks to that too.

 

where I’m at fish seem hesitant to come to the bank unless we have a breeze. Once we get a little chop they come shallow. Days like that spinnerbaits and cranks can produce well. 

 

Line size i still fish 20lb copolymer on my trig, spinnerbait, tube and jig rods and don’t have problems catching fish. 

 

Biggest thing ive noticed is slow down and stay back from what your fishing. Good luck and tight lines.

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