Stained Water Makes Fish Dumber: Clear salt water, especially in the shallows, makes fish spooky. When I couldn't hook anything on the flats during my trip, all I had to do was find milky water. In the colored stuff I was able to get closer to the fish, use bigger baits, and ultimately the big bites came more often. The same theory applies to bass. Many great bass fishermen have a motto that goes something like this: "When in doubt, go up the river, find dirty water, and power fish." If you're getting hosed in the clean water, go to the backs of tributaries or the river feeding the lake, and you'll often find a mix of colored water, which always seems to lower bass IQ and makes them more susceptible to power fishing techniques like flipping big jigs/plastics or casting spinnerbaits and cranks.