Have you been around the dock before or after a tournament and hear things like "The water's like chocolate milk", or "The water is gin clear" or even things like "just stained"? And then realize you have NO idea what the heck these people are talking about!
I know that has been my experience. There is no real standard for just what exactly these various terms mean with respect to water clarity. So in this article I am setting out to clarify (no pun intended) just what these terms mean with respect to depth of clarity.
So to set the stage a bit, understand that everyone else you talk to will not have read this article and therefore what they mean by dirty or stained or whatever term is used, may very well be completely opposite of what I am defining here. So where do I get my data? I polled local fisherman, members of bbcboards.net (Bass Boat Central) and various Bassmaster Elite pros and FLW pros to get the most comprehensive data I could find.
What I did discover is that there are a lot of factors that go into the terminology. The definitions I found were often regional in nature where what you would called stained in one part of the country would be almost clear in another.
And the ranges for various terms were wildly different. So for example, Stained saw data points of 6-12" of clarity to 2-4' of clarity! And we wonder why the topic is so muddy (yeah that was bad).
If you want a real scientific view point of water clarity (or turbidity), take a look here:
But my method is much less exact. What I did was compile what I felt was the most common clarity levels and document them here. And in our other blog posts or Pro Tips (coming soon on each of jig descriptions) we will use these definitions and clarity levels.
Muddy: Less than 3" visibility
Dirty: Less than 6" visibility
Stained: Less than 12" visibility
Clear: Greater than 2 ft of visiblity
Gin Clear: The best description I received for this was "Seeing big smallies on beds is 30ft of water"