Claire Corlett

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How To Catch River Bass | Bass Fishing

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 about fishing a river and fishing current. Today, I want a huge body water, this is the
Columbia River out west, I like to fish at a 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 smaller streams 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 current trumps everything. It is the primary thing that drives the fish,
where they’re gonna be positioned and their feeding activity. On a lake, sure, there’s water temperature,
there is the weather conditions, there’s the time 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’s 25 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 the entire 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 between the 2 of us or the 3 of us and I think the
smallest fish was just a little under three pounds. So the difference was is that it had been
raining a lot the week before and there was a 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 insects going, got the bait fish feeding on it, got
the fish feeding. That trumped all of the other conditions. So pay real close attention to that one, what I mean by that
is current itself…well, let me talk a little bit 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 gonna set up on or could set up on. You’re looking for thing like wing dams, points
coming out of water, you’re looking for bridge pilings, 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 that can break up that current. Even the channel bend, if it does a real sharp
turn, the outside of the bend is gonna have faster 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 shallower inside 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 of thing and they’ll dart out in the faster
moving current to grab a bite and come back in 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 behind those current breaks. And if it’s really strong and they snug up
right behind it, it may get a little bit deeper because that’s where slack water really is. Conversely, if there’s not a whole lot of
current then those fish will back off away from 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 is really 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 into the main channel and suspend. Okay, there’s not a lot of activity going
on so the baits are gonna be way off even if 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 running around 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 looking for 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 but this 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 great information on that like where buoys are,
where the channels markers are, where channels are. And I’ve noticed on a map like that, it will
tell you like where there are shipwrecks and things 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 current breaks and channels and the little eddies. Where there’s another one make sure you’re
more with there’s say a field with a lot of 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 bigger picture 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 channels is really important especially when you come
off that channel, you need to know what’s there, how shallow it is, where the bottom
of your contour is because you’re gonna lose a 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, remember that the red markers, the red marker buoys
and the red channel markers are gonna be on your 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’s telling you where the channel marker is or
where the channels are and those marker buoys don’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 move and 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’s on 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 find those 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 against the current. Cast your bait upstream and let it drift across
in the faster current through that seam that I 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 right there. 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 or I cast into that eddy because sometimes the
fish will be in there and you can catch a few out of it before you stir them up and
scare them by putting the boat right in the middle of that eddy. So work that eddy first. Then when you get into that current break,
that’s when you start to throwing out into the 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 one spot if the conditions are right. I like to fish Islands, the back of Islands
because then I can fish the seam on one side when 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 use in 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’re using 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, instead of throwing six-inch and seven-inch lizards,
go down to a four-inch, go down to a three-inch tube. Tube is my favorite. I absolutely love throwing tubes on this body
of water or any river because that does two things. That mimics the bait fish and also craw fish
and that’s what’s abundant in these types of 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 anything that 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 you downsize 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 weight that I normally do when I split shot, now
I’m using more like a quarter ounce to a half ounce 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 get hung up on the bottom. You’re gonna get hung up anyways but you will
get hung up less using the cylindrical weight that 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 you are 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 other rods that have a heavier weight because where
the river opens up like this, you’re not gonna have 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 effectively without 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 visit BassResource.com.

39 comments on “How To Catch River Bass | Bass Fishing

  1. great input and guidence man. I admire you doing what you love doing, fishing.. most importantly sharing what you love with others. thanks for all you do!!!

  2. Great information and guidance! One question, how do you fish a slow river in high water? My local river is very slow and dirty. I've had somewhat consistent success at normal water levels but when the water gets high I can't seem to find them. Also this river mainly contains smallies. Thanks!

  3. Great video! Finally a river fishing video. How would you classify the Delta in terms of clarity? What about marinas, can one use those to switch current intensities when bank fishing a river? Just a hopeful suggestion, maybe explaining the components of the river, like eddy, wingdam, a sharp turn etc. Is there a way to reliably measure the current in terms of, fast or slow current? What 'speed' is the cutoff between a fast and slow current?

  4. Great, and informative as all of your videos are. Since you spend some time out west, are there any lakes dams or rivers that you can recommend on the Olympic peninsula that produce? Thanks bud.

  5. Also, I think it's interesting how similar it is to fish a large river as a small one. I fly fish for trout on small fast rivers often and when you were talking about fishing eddys in the Columbia it just kinda took me by surprise because it's so huge that I don't even think about it producing eddys, ha. I guess they're just super-sized.

  6. Another great video. Been fishing the flats and islands on the Columbia with ok results, but haven't been out "chasing" the eddies in the current, gotta try your suggestions. BTW what part of the Columbia do you fish? looks flat and calm compared to Stevenson…. , thanks again Glenn.

  7. very helpful. just moved from south Florida's small slow moving shallow streams that we call rivers to West Virginia's large fast moving rivers. Its a totally different world so thank you for the exact information I was looking for.

  8. Thanks for an overview of river fishing. I've had a difficult time catching fish on rivers because it is difficult to read. Tides, shoreline, shadows, depth all pose a challenge finding bass. What works on one river doesn't necessarily work on another. Where do bass go in the river when the tide changes? Are they supposed to be lazy and stay where they don't need to expel energy? Deeper water? Thanks for any helpful advice.

  9. Awesome information. It is very helpful. I live in Charleston sc have you ever fished the Santee river? If so do you have any specific suggestions for that river. I have a hard time catching anything on it. Thanks

  10. This video has helped my catch so many bass on the Willamette River! Any tips for targeting bass right before the pre-spawn in rivers?

  11. Great stuff. Thanks. Going to fish the Vaal River (RSA) this weekend after heavy rain. This has been very useful. As usual.

  12. do these tips and tricks for river fishing apply to Smallmouth creek fishing (current breaks, etc.) as well?

  13. I'm fishing a system that is very slow moving I have tried to fish bends and structures with no luck any tips

  14. great tips i fish the Savannah river in augusta ga a lot for base and have caught some good fish but this will help me catch more thankis a lot.

  15. Good to see someone on the big c I fish it all the time but on the lower side and the john day river might be one of the most fun places to catch smallmouth bass

  16. Fishing a river in Alabama called the tensaw river having such a hard time caching ANY bass thanks for the help I’ll try and use your tips

  17. I have a bass tournament on the Connecticut river in new Hampshire .I do well on lakes but not so good on rivers .this was good information and will try out these tips .

  18. I was wandering. The bass that come in off deep in river up creek channels ,,where do there go when sun is high. Early morning shallow,but where next?

  19. To make it easier: on a map. Red markers will always be on the left of a map and green always on the right. They always come in pairs.

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