How To Catch River Bass | Bass Fishing

Hey, folks. Glenn May here, with BassResource. com and
today I want to talk to you a little bit aboutfishing a river and fishing current. Today, I want a huge body water, this is the
Columbia River out west, I like to fish ata lot. So I’m gonna talk a lot about that. However, a lot of the principles I’m going
to talk about here are applicable to smallerstreams and rivers that are maybe in your
neighborhood and where you like to fish. The first thing you need to take into consideration
when it comes to river fishing is that currenttrumps everything. It is the primary thing that drives the fish,
where they’re gonna be positioned and theirfeeding activity. On a lake, sure, there’s water temperature,
there is the weather conditions, there’s thetime of the year etcetera. That is what drives the fish behavior. That is applicable too on a river but it’s
the current that drives everything. Let me give you an example. I fished the John Day River a few years ago
and in the morning, it was early April, it’s25 degrees out in the morning. The water temperature was maybe 39 degrees. Typically, when you’re fishing in those conditions,
you’re looking for one or two baits for theentire day and it might be a good fish but
it’s gonna be slow fishing. Well, the three of us crushed on that day. I think we kind of mauled on first moving
crankbaits and we caught maybe 30 fish betweenthe 2 of us or the 3 of us and I think the
smallest fish was just a little under threepounds. So the difference was is that it had been
raining a lot the week before and there wasa lot of current. It was pushing through that river really hard. So that stirred up the activity, stirred the
water, got the algae going, got the insectsgoing, got the bait fish feeding on it, got
the fish feeding. That trumped all of the other conditions. So pay real closeattention to that one, what I mean by that
is current itself. . . well, let me talk a littlebit about how it’s gonna position fish. What you wanna do is look for current breaks. Anything that changes that flow of the current
that’s where the fish typically are gonnaset up on or could set up on. You’re looking for thing like wing dams, points
coming out of water, you’re looking for bridgepilings, even logs and other wood debris and
things like that. Underwater you’re looking for humps, drop-offs,
big rocks, boulders that sort of thing thatcan break up that current. Even the channel bend, if it does a real sharp
turn, the outside of the bend is gonna havefaster moving current than the inside of the
bend. The outside is gonna be deeper water, the
inside is gonna be shallower water. Consequently, sometimes a lot of debris, when
it floods, will stack up on those shallowerinside bends and that can even block more
current. What happens is the fish set up behind those
current breaks where there’s slack water eddies. They sit behind that and they wait for food
to come by insects, bait fish that sort ofthing and they’ll dart out in the faster
moving current to grab a bite and come backin the slack water. So what you’re looking for is where that faster
water meets the slower moving water. You’ll see a ripple along at the top of
the water. We call that a seam. That’s the prime zone. That’s where the fish will set up on. That’s where you wanna make sure your lure
goes. The stronger the current is the more the fish
are gonna be positioned right directly behindthose current breaks. And if it’s really strong and they snug up
right behind it, it may get a little bit deeperbecause that’s where slack water really is. Conversely, if there’s not a whole lot of
current then those fish will back off awayfrom that current break. They may even sit on top of it or even in
the front of it sometimes. I’ve seen them do that. For example, on an Island they like to sit
behind the island’s bed when the current isreally slow, they’ll come alongside, they’ll
come up on the front. Something as that can be a really good area. If there’s no really current out and it’s
really slack, those fish may just go out intothe main channel and suspend. Okay, there’s not a lot of activity going
on so the baits are gonna be way off evenif the rest of the conditions are perfect. Again, current trumps everything. So how do you find these things?You wanna find these current breaks and you
don’t wanna spend a whole lot of time runningaround on a river trying to find all this
stuff. So first of all what you wanna do is get yourself
a map, that’s key to this. Get a map, then get another map and then get
another map. Get as many maps as you can of the body of
water that you’re gonna fish. I’ve learned that there’s not any one map
that has everything. Even the map on your GPS unit, they don’t
have everything on it, and you’re lookingfor all those things that will break up the
current flow. One of the maps that I really like to get
is this one, it’s the River Cruising Atlas. This is one that my local area they may have
been by a different name in your area butthis is for navigation. You wanna find a map for navigation. If you’re on a river such as this one that’s
navigable there’s gonna be a lot of greatinformation on that like where buoys are,
where the channels markers are, where channelsare. And I’ve noticed on a map like that, it will
tell you like where there are shipwrecks andthings like that. So little nuggets of information. But again, every map has something different. Some will show more of the rock piles, and
show wing dams and show more of the currentbreaks and channels and the little eddies. Where there’s another one make sure you’re
more with there’s say a field with a lotof stamps in it or a flat or rocky bottom. They may talk about that or vegetation or
where the weeds are. Every little bit, every map has a little bit
different and that’s gonna give you a biggerpicture of the area that you’re gonna fish. The other important part about that is you’re
gonna figure out where the channel is itself. Now, when you’re on a river and you’re not
sure where everything is, being in the channelsis really important especially when you come
off that channel, you need to know what’sthere, how shallow it is, where the bottom
of your contour is because you’re gonna losea lower unit really quick. So pay a close attention to that. If you’re navigating a water like this, when
you go on upstream against the current, rememberthat the red markers, the red marker buoys
and the red channel markers are gonna be onyour right-hand side. Red right returnings, think of that, “returning”
returning from the ocean. That is what it means so you’re going up against
current. The green marker buoys and channel markers
will be on your left-hand side. The other thing I want you to pay close attention
to is if you’re looking at your GPS and it’stelling you where the channel marker is or
where the channels are and those marker buoysdon’t align to what your GPS is telling you,
go by what the maker buoys are telling you. These rivers when they flood, sandbars move,
they shift, the channel can shift and moveand your map may not be completely up to date. But the channel markers they get moved around
to adjust to that. I’ve known some of my friends that have followed
the channel markers or the channels that’son their GPS and they’ve had some damage
to the lower units because the channel shifted,or it wasn’t correct on their GPS. So pay close attention to those channel markers. So again, it’s current, finding those current
breaks which you wanna do now, once you findthose current breaks, how do you fish them?Go up ideally in a laboratory situation, you
wanna fish. You wanna get kind of, you wanna move your
boat, position it so it’s going up againstthe current. Cast your bait upstream and let it drift across
in the faster current through that seam thatI told you about and into the eddy. Okay, that’s perfect condition. You want that bait to go right across that
seam so bass can come out and nail it rightthere. So how I approach those on those larger current
breaks is I’ll actually bring the boat up,behind the eddy I’ll slowly get to that. I’ll be actually be on the faster moving current
and I’ll slowly work way into that eddy orI cast into that eddy because sometimes the
fish will be in there and you can catch afew out of it before you stir them up and
scare them by putting the boat right in themiddle of that eddy. So work that eddy first. Then when you get into that current break,
that’s when you start to throwing out intothe faster moving water and bringing it right
down that seam. And sometimes you can set up and you can catch
fish all day long doing that, just on onespot if the conditions are right. I like to fish Islands, the back of Islands
because then I can fish the seam on one sidewhen the bait dies down I can shift the boat
around and fish the seam on the other side. Once that bait dies down I can go to the other
side and pick right back up again. The kind of baits that I like to throw, you
can throw just about any bait that you usein the lakes, however, it downsize a little
bit. I don’t know what it is with rivers but the
big huge baits don’t do as well. If you’re used to throwing three-quarter ounce
spinnerbaits downsize to half ounce, if you’reusing half ounce all the time, downsize to
three eights or quarter ounce. Same thing with your crankbaits, downsize
a little bit and with your plastics, insteadof throwing six-inch and seven-inch lizards,
go down to a four-inch, go down to a three-inchtube. Tube is my favorite. I absolutely love throwing tubes on this body
of water or any river because that does twothings. That mimics the bait fish and also craw fish
and that’s what’s abundant in these typesof river systems that’s what the fish are
biting on the most. So the tube is one of the most versatile baits
that you can use in a big river like this. As for color, I like to throw white, white
crankbaits, white spinnerbaits and anythingthat mimics bait fish, perch color and sometimes
I’ll throw a black if the conditions are right. Not very often but black works. As far as plastics, green pumpkin works really
well. That’s your mainstay, that’s the bread and
butter. One thing you’ve got to think about is just
because you’re downsizing doesn’t mean youdownsize on the weight. You’ve got to go up in the weight to make
sure that you can compensate for the current. So I maybe be fishing little three-inch tubes
but if I put it on split shot for example,instead of using an eighth ounce or one thirty
second ounce or one-sixteenth ounce weightthat I normally do when I split shot, now
I’m using more like a quarter ounce to a halfounce weight. I might even go up to three-quarter ounce
if the current’s really strong. I know you might be thinking, what the heck!If you’re going that heavy, why not use a
Carolina rig?It’s for the simple fact that a Carolina
rig has so many components to it, it can gethung up on the bottom. You’re gonna get hung up anyways but you will
get hung up less using the cylindrical weightthat I use for mojo rigging and split shot
rig. Same with my tube baits, I use a heavier jig
head in it. Just keep in mind you’ve gotta bring a lot
of your terminal tackle with you because youare gonna get snagged up on the bottom. You are gonna get to hung up, that’s just
the nature of doing it. I usually rig two different ways, I have some
rods that have a lighter weight and otherrods that have a heavier weight because where
the river opens up like this, you’re not gonnahave a stronger current and when it narrows
down you’re gonna have stronger currents. So I wanna have the two different weights
so that I can fish those very effectivelywithout having to re-rig every time I change
position. Anyway, I hope those help. I can go on and on and on with all the different
ways you can fish river. If you have any questions please leave a comment
down below. I’ll be happy to try and answer them. I do read all those comments and for the answers
to all your questions about bass fishing visitBassResource. com.

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