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Fishing Clear Water Riprap

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I recently started fishing a canal (although it's wider than any river I've ever fished, maybe 100+ yards across) with about 6 foot of visibility and lined with riprap as the only cover as far as I can tell.  Lift stations and bridges every quarter mile or so, never done good bass fishing around bridges though.

 

In two trips (both about 2 hours) I've caught one 6 pounder and 4 fish between 1 to 3 pounds, all on a green pumpkin jig.

 

My thought process is to just keep pounding away with the jig, just curious how those of you with more experience on this type of water would fish it?

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I've done a lot of rip rap fishing both from boat and shore . From shore I like  to use inexpensive sinking baits like  a jig and grub . I'll fan cast it and let it fall to the bottom . Once it touches down  I pop it and then retrieve trying to keep it just off the bottom . That way it stays right over the rocks the entire retrieve . Snags are inevitable so I tend to go cheap . Once I'm finished in one spot I move several yards and repeat .

 

  From boat I use a wide variety of lures . Crankbaits , buzzbaits , spinnerbaits and a variety of soft plastics . I usually parallel cast at the depth that is getting action ..

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Let's see. Tampa in December. Warm temperatures. Good fishing.

 

I concur with the square bill and will add a spinning bait, Chatterbait, shaky head, Texas rigged creature bait, Texas rigged finesse worm, and a jig and pig.

 

The rip rap will hold the heat and the bass will come up to enjoy the warmer water and to feed.

 

Experiment. Have fun. Let us know how you do. Merry Christmas.

 

 

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It sounds to me like the rip rap is lining the sides of a wide canal to control erosion, the canal bottom is more then likely mud. Without cover growing on the bottom everything will be located along the sides covered rip rap rock.

Casting away from the sides like fan casting isn't going to be productive unless there is isolated rocks, brush piles etc put there by other anglers, or places you can cast to the opposite side.

Whatever you can cast and retreive along or in the rip rap should work, lots of choices. Chatter bait would be a good choice from shore.

I would look for places the bass can spawn on, then use a jig.

Tom

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I would definitely try a popper. Not too much action. POP, POP, then pause for about 3 Mississippi and start again!  I've caught good fish on a popper in mid-50 water. Especially on rip-rap. That Tampa water is probably warmer than that. You just might end up with a very memorable trip. 

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The best bait I have used day in and day out on rip rap is a tube with a 1/8 oz jig insert.  I loose way less of them and catch as many fish as I do with a jig.

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A lot of good suggestions here that should work. The only things I can add is like Tom mentioned fish parallel to the riprap whatever you use. Besides that I recommend a swim jig that looks like the natural forage. In really clear water swim jigs work better for me than spinnerbaits.

 

Allen

Quote

 

 

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You all need to remember the OP is located in Tampa Florida where it may be the 1st day of winter on our calendar but It's pre spawn in Florida and the bass are feeding up and moving to spawning areas. I have no idea where the canal is regarding spawning areas or if it has suitable spawning water within it's banks. Bass will make do with what they have to spawn but they will also migrate to areas more suited for spawning. The rip rap canal may be void of the major population of bass if they are migrating to nearby by spawning areas.

Tom

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I like to take a soft bait like a frog, toss it onto the front of the rip rap, then slowly work it so it drops into the water fairly gently. Enough to make a ripple, but not a thud. I do the same thing with short grass on steep banks.

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if you ever get a chance to observe rip rap with a winter drawdown what is revealed is revealing...it's a jungle down there ... 2 places i fish right now scoping 'em out for next year ...

 

merry christmas 

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20 hours ago, scaleface said:

Snags are inevitable so I tend to go cheap . 

 

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This is why why you don’t need a $500 rod.

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@CrankFate, if I made five times as much money as I do now, I would buy 500 dollar rods.

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22 minutes ago, Hook2Jaw said:

@CrankFate, if I made five times as much money as I do now, I would buy 500 dollar rods.

If I made five times as much money as I do now, I’d still buy rods around $200. They are better because that’s where the money is in terms of sales and profits. Everything else is specs on paper. There are no major technological advances available over $300. Needing a more expensive rod is purely psychology and good marketing. I can buy only $500 rods now. I still don’t. But most of my combos are about $550. And 99% of the time people are laughing at me using a $550 rod in a little pond. Especially while spending hours and hours donating $50 - $200 worth of rigs to the water God’s per outing, or more.

 

Fishing rods are one item where price is not what determines utility. A pencil thin, light rod that bends 1/2” at the top 2 guides has no utility for me at any price.

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Squarebill is something that I've considered as well, see a lot of recommendations for that.  We did have a pretty decent front move through this past week, Florida bass don't really seem to care for aggressive presentations when the temperature drops. A week of warm weather or so and I'll definitely give it a shot.

 

11 hours ago, greentrout said:

if you ever get a chance to observe rip rap with a winter drawdown what is revealed is revealing...it's a jungle down there ... 2 places i fish right now scoping 'em out for next year ...

 

merry christmas 

I'm not sure if the area gets drawn down, I would think that if it does this would be the time of year the water would be at its lowest but the main use of the canal is stormwater control and we've had way more rain than typical for this time of year.

 

13 hours ago, WRB said:

You all need to remember the OP is located in Tampa Florida where it may be the 1st day of winter on our calendar but It's pre spawn in Florida and the bass are feeding up and moving to spawning areas. I have no idea where the canal is regarding spawning areas or if it has suitable spawning water within it's banks. Bass will make do with what they have to spawn but they will also migrate to areas more suited for spawning. The rip rap canal may be void of the major population of bass if they are migrating to nearby by spawning areas.

Tom

We're probably about two weeks away from when I expect to start seeing beds, about a month till the spawn is in full swing.  My assumption is that the bass have to spawn within the canal, it's dammed right before entering into the bay at the bottom end and dammed where it meets a natural river roughly 6 miles upstream.  Guessing from counting down lures, the edge of the riprap is 30 feet off the bank in 7ish foot of water.  From there on out it seems to be about 15 foot, with a flat rectangular bottom, very soft (probably mud). 

 

In this situation what do they key in on during spawn? I'm guessing open patches of sand within the riprap that are out of the current but could they just spawn right on the riprap?

 

It's also possible that all the bass have been washed in from the river when the dam is opened. I've been told there are snook in the canal as well so unless someone put them there they just moved in when the bayside floodgate opened since they can't spawn in freshwater.

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You are saying the bass are captive within the canal that is dammed on both ends. Bass eggs take a week or more to hatch requiring no current and something  to help the male bass to protect the eggs from predators. Large flat rocks work if they are protected from current, sandy pockets work, bass make do with what they have. You should be seeing cruisers seeking bed sites, the beds are going to be deeper to the male to be protected from shore birds like herons, if no over head cover is available.

A buzz bait can work cast paralell about 3' to 4' of water, the bass may not strike it but they blow it up letting you know where they are. A bluegill slow sinking swimbait would be ideal for cruisers, drop shot or jig for bed fish.

Tom

 

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10 hours ago, WRB said:

You are saying the bass are captive within the canal that is dammed on both ends. Bass eggs take a week or more to hatch requiring no current and something  to help the male bass to protect the eggs from predators. Large flat rocks work if they are protected from current, sandy pockets work, bass make do with what they have. You should be seeing cruisers seeking bed sites, the beds are going to be deeper to the male to be protected from shore birds like herons, if no over head cover is available.

A buzz bait can work cast paralell about 3' to 4' of water, the bass may not strike it but they blow it up letting you know where they are. A bluegill slow sinking swimbait would be ideal for cruisers, drop shot or jig for bed fish.

Tom

 

The trick is just throw as many rigs into the rocks as it takes to pull one big fish out. Sometimes it can be 100 rigs per fish. Yes, you can get smaller ones that aren’t disciplined enough to stay on their rock or who were already beat and didn’t get a good rock. But the big ones don’t chase far in these conditions. And for me when they blow it up, I’ll keep topwatering them with a crankbait zig zagging over the area until they eat it. You’d be surprised how good this can work at times. 

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