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River guys - how do you approach each hole you come across when fish are in summer pattern?


Ohioguy25

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Where do you start in regard to targets, presentations and section (pools/riffles/runs?)

 

I generally start out with some sort of moving presentation, and if I get on the water early enough (sunrise ideally) I am throwing topwater.  I gradually transition to something like a squarebill, paddle tail, or jackhammer depending on depth, clarity, and cloud cover.  
 

By mid day when the sun is overhead and it’s clear I will switch over to finesse, throwing some form of bottom presentation either tube or Ned. Occasionally if this isn’t producing I will mix in slow moving presentations.  
 

For all of these stages I generally attempt to cover as much water as I can, fan casting all around current breaks and slack near current, often even in current if it is moderate enough.

 

How does this compare to your routine? Do you cast downstream to avoid spooking them?

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Lately a Spinnerbait if nothing a Wacky Worm or a t rigged Rage Bug. Lightest weight possible. Seem this year everything is eating the bug 

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I start with a top water then spinner then crank then ned/tube. So we pretty much fish the same. If the top water is on I will fish that then when I seem to have caught the fish in that area I will give a few casts with a Ned rig to “clean up”. We are pretty much on the same page as far as how we do this. 

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My routine is similar to yours.  Sometimes I will start with a wakebait rather than what I think of as a true topwater.  Anytime I am fishing a riffle or fast current I am likely to start out with a 1/4 ounce Panther Martin.  Haven't had much success with bladed jigs,  but haven't really given them an honest try yet.  I have more confidence in a jig than a tube as a bottom presentation.  FWIW

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I don’t have a plan, use the conditions to determine. It’s not always fast, slow, clear, stained, muddy, high, low, sun is not always out and clear sky at midday. The only guarantee I have is I will toss a plastic worm and drag it on bottom 

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1 hour ago, TnRiver46 said:

The only guarantee I have is I will toss a plastic worm and drag it on bottom 

I think we all knew this was coming.  Any color will work, as long as its purple.

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I’m rigged up a few different ways. I don’t have a big plan either. I’ll have a Shad Rap, Slider Worm setup, split shot worm rig and a grub or tube ready to go. I have confidence in these.  But I like to fish light jigs, spider jigs and small spinnerbaits. 

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I'm normally wading my river so I am realistically not going to cover that much ground. 

I also not worried about finding smallies because I know they're there.

So given that they're seeing my lures I just need to make the presentation they want.

I find they hit almost everything depending on water and conditions. But it's almost always a finesse presentation like a 4" yum dinger in GP with a split shot. Quite often it's what I start with.

I throw upriver and aim just beyond my target allowing the current to draw my lure in. It's often a slack line that stops moving right that triggers a hookset but sometimes they hit it hard. They rarely run with it before the hookset but when they do I keep hitting that spot until I catch them all.

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On 8/9/2023 at 4:51 PM, Ohioguy25 said:

Where do you start in regard to targets, presentations and section (pools/riffles/runs?)

 

I generally start out with some sort of moving presentation, and if I get on the water early enough (sunrise ideally) I am throwing topwater.  I gradually transition to something like a squarebill, paddle tail, or jackhammer depending on depth, clarity, and cloud cover.  
 

By mid day when the sun is overhead and it’s clear I will switch over to finesse, throwing some form of bottom presentation either tube or Ned. Occasionally if this isn’t producing I will mix in slow moving presentations.  
 

For all of these stages I generally attempt to cover as much water as I can, fan casting all around current breaks and slack near current, often even in current if it is moderate enough.

 

How does this compare to your routine? Do you cast downstream to avoid spooking them?


I usually bankfish midday to evening as I’m not a morning person lol so I usually show up with a dropshot tied on, if my keitechs and flatworms aren’t working (which is rare) I will switch to a 1/20 oz nedrig. 
 

 My main spot is a man made canal and a reservoir with a road in between the 2. There are 4 pipes running under the road connecting both waters which the smallies school near very frequently (I believe they eat minnows washing through the pipe). So normally my go to bait is a little 2.5 keitech swing impact on a dropshot.

 


 

 

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Well, weather conditions and river location aside, I fish tidal rivers and tide is an important factor in what I’m throwing and where I’m throwing it. I have about 20 possible patterns that will depend on 40 puzzle pieces.  ?

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About the same as you. Start with a moving bait and slow it down until i find one that works. Except I work my way upstream and cast upstream, retrieving my bait towards me, downstream.

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11 hours ago, JacobB006 said:

About the same as you. Start with a moving bait and slow it down until i find one that works. Except I work my way upstream and cast upstream, retrieving my bait towards me, downstream.

Yeah that is an unfortunate disadvantage of kayak fishing, although I’m not entirely sure how much the whole “baitfish don’t swim upstream” theory factors into a split second decision the fish makes. My PB for the longest time (19.75”) came on an upstream retrieval. 
 

The biggest advantage of wading/motoring upstream is not spooking the fish.

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1 minute ago, Ohioguy25 said:

Yeah that is an unfortunate disadvantage of kayak fishing, although I’m not entirely sure how much the whole “baitfish don’t swim upstream” theory factors into a split second decision the fish makes. My PB for the longest time (19.75”) came on an upstream retrieval. 
 

The biggest advantage of wading/motoring upstream is not spooking the fish.

Fish definitely swim upstream, and bass definitely will eat something feeding upstream. Personally, for me, I feel that I can get a much more natural and controllable presentation when I work a bait towards downstream. That, and the fact that when I wade, I am not kicking silt and mud downstream towards the fish I am trying to catch. Its more a matter of preference to me. Casting upstream gives me confidence, so I continue to do it. I still cast and catch fish casting downstream. One thing I also do if I'm in my kayak too, float to the side of where you want to cast, and then cast either across current to it, or float slightly below it (still to the side) and cast upstream to it. Like I said, its just a matter or preference to me. But I do believe bigger fish (20"+) will be caught more easily if worked from downstream. 

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50 minutes ago, Ohioguy25 said:

That is probably the biggest thing, huge actually.

Actually, when i wade fished the smallies would gravitate to the gravel and mud I displaced because I also displaced craws, hellgramites and any other bugs/water larvae as I waded.  

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4 hours ago, TOXIC said:

Actually, when i wade fished the smallies would gravitate to the gravel and mud I displaced because I also displaced craws, hellgramites and any other bugs/water larvae as I waded.  

Interesting, so this doesn’t spook fish? Even if bait is stirred up I would think they might be less likely to eat a lure if anything is out of the norm.

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My go-to is a Texas Rigged Craw. Recently I caught a nice Smallie on a Texas Rigged Lizard. This morning I caught a Smallie on a small Swimbait. Not much luck yet with Spinnerbaits or Neds but I haven't given up on them. Last week I heard from a veteran fisherman of the river who swears by a Split Shot Rig with a small tube bait. That's one I'm going to try soon.

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@Ohioguy25 the river I wade fished (the Shenandoah) always had enough flow that and mud I kicked up dissipated pretty quickly and in the process left food sources dislodged for them to eat. Nymphs, Hellgramites, bugs, small minnows, etc.  I actually would target the downstream area from where I was wading. 

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I rarely go to finesse in a river. Sometimes for example low water, mid summer, bluebird sky, I will use a tube. Otherwise I am always starting with a presentation that will allow me to cover water, draw some reactions, and then adjust if needed. For bank fishing that is usually a spinner or spinnerbait. You might go to the river after a time away, and find there is some x factor you have to deal with, like high water, floating weeds, etc 

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4 hours ago, TOXIC said:

@Ohioguy25 the river I wade fished (the Shenandoah) always had enough flow that and mud I kicked up dissipated pretty quickly and in the process left food sources dislodged for them to eat. Nymphs, Hellgramites, bugs, small minnows, etc.  I actually would target the downstream area from where I was wading. 

Exactly what I do on the Juniata. It works.

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4 hours ago, MassBass said:

I rarely go to finesse in a river. Sometimes for example low water, mid summer, bluebird sky, I will use a tube. Otherwise I am always starting with a presentation that will allow me to cover water, draw some reactions, and then adjust if needed. For bank fishing that is usually a spinner or spinnerbait. You might go to the river after a time away, and find there is some x factor you have to deal with, like high water, floating weeds, etc 

I'm guessing you're on a fairly big river. It makes sense to be filtering water.

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17 hours ago, PaulVE64 said:

I'm guessing you're on a fairly big river. It makes sense to be filtering water.

Yes, but you can usually cover water on any river. I think bigger rivers you can actually slow down more and soak each spot more thoroughly, any moment a fish could swing in from somewhere else. A small river that you can cast across and see each pool, it's less likely that pool is going to suddenly show a fish after you have already initially tried.

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I can't tell you how many times I've stopped and tied on something new and suddenly turned the bite on in the same water I had skunked.

In my experience.

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