River Bass Fishing

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One of the most enjoyable activities for those who love the outdoors is fishing. For many, fishing is just a way to pass the time or an activity to save for long weekends and summer holidays; but some truly passionate anglers enjoy casting a line whenever they get the chance. Whether you are a casual caster or a full-time fisherman, it never hurts to learn new ways that you can improve your skills and pick up new tips that you can keep in mind while out on a fishing excursion.

So why not take a moment and read up on what may help you out the next time you go fishing?

Today’s subject revolves around the art of river bass fishing. Bass fishing is popular all across the many waters of the United States, but rivers in particular often provide some of the most exquisite fishing for those seeking small mouth bass. Although large mouth bass can be found in many rivers and streams, flowing water is more commonly a small mouth locale.

Here are some tips, ideas, and thoughts to consider which may help you to become a better river bass angler.

Baiting the River Bass

Before you head out for a journey to the river to try to snag some fish, think about how you plan to be luring them. Baiting river bass is a bit different than that for lake dwelling bass. River bass tend to be smaller than their lake or large pond counterparts and so they will require smaller bait offerings. The current of a river or steady stream will keep the bass leaner as they swim against the rush of water. In addition to this, food is often less plentiful for river bass and as a result they require something other than those large artificial lures that catch their lake oriented relatives. In this case, smaller lures bring greater chances of success.

River bass like to nibble on small frogs and crayfish. Whatever lure you use should resemble the dark brown and green color of these creatures. A two tailed grub lure and similar plastic baits can be a good choice as they allow you to dangle what looks like the kicking legs of a swimming from beneath the water. River bass will be happy to see what looks like their regular cuisine dancing in the current.

Where to Cast

George Cochran, a two time Bassmaster Classic champ proclaims, “The most important thing about river fishing is knowing how to fish in current.”

Small mouth bass like to face toward the direction that the water is flowing from. By facing against the current they can easily locate food flowing downstream towards them and as they hover in the water the oncoming current pumps oxygenated water into their gills. Often river bass will take cover behind underwater debris such as a rock or a submerged log to break the current. This technique allows them to conserve energy and wait until the moment is right to pop out from their hiding places for a bite to eat.

This is why casting upstream ahead of structures in the water is wise when fishing for river bass. The fish will be looking for any opportunity of a break in the current for them to rest in while they await food. Bridges and fallen trees may also serve as safe havens from the current for hungry small mouth bass awaiting a catch of their own.

Pro fisher Mark Menendez of Kentucky echoes the importance of casting upstream.  “Current-dwelling fish are nearly always faced with their noses upstream,” says Menendez, “So lures worked with the current tend to produce more strikes.”

Meanwhile, Alabama pro Tim Horton warns that just casting anywhere upstream isn’t good enough. It’s important that you still cast your line with craft and precision.

“The bass will school on the structure, but it may be in one little piece of that structure.” Horton observes as he references the way the fish pile up at breaks in the current. He then adds on, “If you miss that spot by 10 feet, you may not catch a fish.”

Where to Cast from

Fishing from the shore is not always going to provide you with the best opportunity to catch river bass. If the river is shallow enough or the fish can find breaks in the current in the heart of the river, they will very likely bunker down there to provide themselves with a better chance at snagging some food in the current. This is why casting from the banks of bigger rivers might prevent you from reaching the popular spots in the water. However, the biggest rivers albeit tend to have stronger currents. In this case the fish may like to swim in the shallows where the current is not in full swing.

If the river allows it, try to access the bass by working your way into the river. You’ll be able to locate where the bass are clustered if you can get a closer look to spot structures and get a feel for the current. This can simply mean walking a ways into the water where it is shallow and safe during the warmer parts of the year. However, no fish is worth risking your safety, no matter what stories you may have heard from other anglers. Only wade into the water when it is safe. If the floor of the river drops too deep or the water is too cold or has an overpowering current, consider a canoe or float tube. Either way, by penetrating the river, you will allow yourself the opportunity to close in on some of the more populated areas of the water and hopefully your luck will improve twice over.

Going into the river is not always a necessity however.

In fact, it is possible to catch a large mouth bass or two if you play your cards right from the shore of the river, and in some aspects it might even be a bit easier. Large mouth bass don’t like to fend off the challenging current. More often than not, they prefer to hide along the banks of the river where the current is on the weaker side or in hidden areas such as underwater inlets and slower tributaries since these locations don’t tire the bass out.

If you are not feeling eager enough to go into the water, you can try to pick out some structures where the large mouths might be taking cover.

Have Patience and Have Fun

If you possess the right skills and know-how, you can convert these tips into a nice catch of bass at most rivers and well stocked streams. Cast upstream, use smaller lures, access the water if possible, and keep an eye out for those large mouth bass on the banks. Stay true to what you’ve learned and test it out at your favorite fishing rivers.

Sooner or later you’ll find that these tips will help you reel in some river bass and then you can pass these tips off to your fellow anglers; or just keep your new knowledge to yourself and show your friends how it’s done.

Either way, good luck and have a wonderful fishing season.




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