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Confessions of a river fisherman


PaulVE64
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I love minimalist fishing.

I overspend on rubber boots.

I can fish deep or shallow or shelves from the bank, boat or wading.

I fall in the river often and occasionally flip arse over tee kettle 

I've lose most of my lures on the backcast.

I use braid to leader for everything

I break 1 or 2 rods a year atleast.

Reading water is everything on the river.

I fished way too much in the past 5 years.

I just finished a 2 yr stretch of catching atleast 1 fish per outing.

 

Last 2 times I went fishing I got skunked. 

 

I'm not going fishing again until I get some good news.

 

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I can relate to the braid to fluorocarbon leader. I can relate to reading water is everything on the river.

 

I would have added jet boats are life And learning what the river gauge means for your fishing. 

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I learned when electrofishing that reading water can be overrated. The fish don’t have to be right where they should be

 

and none of my spinning reels have braid on them 

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1 minute ago, Darnold335 said:

@TnRiver46 reading water for me isn’t just about finding fish. It’s about making navigation as safe as possible  

I know what you mean, I’ve got a longtail on a semi v bottom that I run the rapids with. Dry docked it a few times 

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1 hour ago, Darnold335 said:

@TnRiver46 if I hit something it’s going 25-30mph and I hope I can make it back to the ramp to check the damage. 

The good and bad of the longtail, I can only go bout 13 so I don’t tear it up too bad and I have time to make adjustments. But it takes me an hour to go 13 miles hahahah

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@TnRiver46 yeah the best case is I just hit and bounce off things. Jets are awesome for running shallow but man when it goes wrong it goes wrong. 
 

I am sure you posted your boat before. You have one of those like “mud motors” right? Where they are air cooled. 

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@TnRiver46  the only thing I have you beat on is draft at plane, speed and storage. You have me beat on maneuverability, price and the cost to any damage will be low. I do not know if your motor could handle the flow of the river into our on at certain times. I know anything below 15hp will struggle in certain areas running 6-7ft and I will go up to 10ft. 
 

i was talking to a guy who had a big mud motor. He can get on plane with it. He told me the issue where we fish is that the second hit bounced up when it hits a rock or bottom and knocks him off plane. He can’t run in the 3-6” of water the jets can. He can however run through the grass beds which a jets can’t. It’s all a trade off. If it was a soft bottom is for sure have a mud motor.

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We don’t have any soft bottom rivers, I just grind rocks occasionally haha. I can run in 6-8” but not 3-4”. Jumps on plane instantly and will go with prop halfway out of the water. But when the dams start pushing 18k cfs, it’s a very slow ride upstream. Like 5-7 mph. I’ll usually just bring a regular prop boat if that’s what’s happening 

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Love it. I’m 60 now and no plans of ever quitting. Been in love with Rivers my whole life . Plus the Smallies who live there. If we get called a Riverrat it’s a complement No braid still straight mono 

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My confessions:

I love fishing small rivers (for smallmouth)

I’ve only ever fished a river/creek from the bank or wading, never a boat

Nearly every time I fish “big” river (Mississippi or St. Croix) I catch nothing and the frustrates the hell out of me

I secretly think the harder a place is to access (like having to hike through thick woods) the more fish it will hold

I also only fish braid to leader

I also recently broke my first rod river fishing

Fishing under dams on small rivers is my jam

I need to get better at “reading water” but don’t know of resources that can help me improve.

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@TnRiver46Can you describe your method for fishing out of your boat?  I am also running long tail and running some really skinny water.  I'm trying to access places the bank anglers can't get to but I'm afraid I'm scaring off fish if I run upriver and fish my way back down.  I would fish down first then motor back but I usually end up running out of daylight and if I have a motor problem I'm screwed.

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@IndianaOutdoors I would think a jet causes more under water disturbance then a long tail prop. With the amount of water it’s sucking in then puking out the back. A boat will always have wake. I do not worry to much about spooking fish. i will try to putt into an area I am going to fish. Sometimes though I just have to go full throttle in to clear a shallow area before the pool. I am sure certain times it hurts other times it makes no difference with the fishing.  
 

People catch tons of fish at busy boat ramps all the time. Fish sit down stream at he raging water of dams. 

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@IndianaOutdoors, best you can do it run way up and let max amount of time pass before floating down and fishing thru. Or like you already have , fish down first and come back up. Try to have some escape plan if you can’t get back up, another ramp downstream and have someone move your truck/trailer for ya. Or Uber back up haha

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On 9/21/2023 at 5:24 PM, PaulVE64 said:

I fished way too much in the past 5 years.


You lost me on this one. I can’t imagine lying in my death bed thinking “I wish I wouldn’t have fished so much!”

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I fall often. 

 

I'm learning to read the river a lot better this year. 

 

I've started to love isolated wood cover. 

 

I'll eventually get the kayak thing going more for me, even if it is just to get from spot to spot. 

 

The river relaxes me...other than when I fall in while wading. 

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1 hour ago, Turtle Angler said:


All of us river bank fishermen fall, but my fall rate significantly decreased once I got some water shoes. Also made sure to get boots with significant tread to go with my waders in the colder months

My last few have been hitting boulders I didn't see. Water shoes and better boots are on my wish list though

 

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On 9/24/2023 at 6:43 AM, Turtle Angler said:

Nearly every time I fish “big” river (Mississippi or St. Croix) I catch nothing and the frustrates the hell out of me

I secretly think the harder a place is to access (like having to hike through thick woods) the more fish it will hold

Haha.  The smaller rivers are jsut much harder to access, and therefore the fish see much less pressure than the bigger ones you mentioned.  In terms of raw numbers, I'm quite sure the big rivers hold more but they just tend to see a lot more lures.  Unpressured fish are easier to catch.

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4 hours ago, gimruis said:

Haha.  The smaller rivers are jsut much harder to access, and therefore the fish see much less pressure than the bigger ones you mentioned.  In terms of raw numbers, I'm quite sure the big rivers hold more but they just tend to see a lot more lures.  Unpressured fish are easier to catch.

Of course. I should have said “the more *willing* fish it will hold.”

 

And with smaller rivers, I can often fish the entire width of the river from the bank and thus can access the entirety of a section of river. That’s obviously not true on a river like the Mississippi or St. Croix that may be more than 100 yards wide.

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12 minutes ago, Turtle Angler said:

And with smaller rivers, I can often fish the entire width of the river from the bank and thus can access the entirety of a section of river.

Yes, I agree. Less water to cover, less pressure. And fish more willing to bite. I’m a fan.

 

Unfortunately these smaller rivers are also more at risk to drought. The last 3 out of 4 years I have not been able to fish them because of very low water levels.

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