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Valascus

River Fishing Re-hash

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I have a little trip planned for a river in MO called the Cuivre River. I can't really find any great details about the river or it's current conditions. Anyway, I haven't fished any rivers for probably 10+ years, been fishing smaller to medium sized ponds and some larger MO resevoirs. To say I am a little rusty is a huge understatement. So I am kinda treating this like my first time fishing a river. I kinda remember some of the basics, but most of them are pretty fuzzy. Any advice or friendly reminders would be greatly appreciated form all you river dogs out there.  ;)

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I don't know anything about THAT river, but here are some basics for ANY river:

If you are fishing for smallmouth, look for current breaks. Smallmouth will always favor a position in current outside the break and in front of islands. Humps, rock piles, boulders and pools away from the bank tend to hold bigger fish. Think STRUCTURE not cover. I have never caught a smallmouth in an eddy or in any slack water on a river.

If the river is known for largemouth, think LAZY. Cover, tributaries and flats out of the main channel are your best bet.

I find Kentucky bass and white bass everywhere. If it looks good, try it.

Baits? If the current is slow or you are fishing slack water, Fat Ika. Otherwise, 3 1/2" Mizmo tube, GYCB Single Tail Hula Grub and Single Tail Grubs. Topwater and jerkbaits might work in low light, but I don't think they are the right choice this time of year.

One more suggestion: I am a firm believer that line size matters on a river. I recommend #6, but nothing heavier than #8.

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This particular river is known to have both smallies and largemouths. I have never caught a smallie before, so that's what I am gonna gun for.

http://www.mdc.mo.gov/fish/watershed/cuivre/contents/070cotxt.htm

This is the most up to date info I have found on this river. There is a ton of info here, but there is one problem. This information was compiled about a month before the Flood of '93, which greatly changed the fisheries of some rivers, and i know changed the fishery of the Cuivre.

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I don't know anything about THAT river, but here are some basics for ANY river:

If you are fishing for smallmouth, look for current breaks. Smallmouth will always favor a position in current outside the break and in front of islands. Humps, rock piles, boulders and pools away from the bank tend to hold bigger fish. Think STRUCTURE not cover. I have never caught a smallmouth in an eddy or in any slack water on a river.

If the river is known for largemouth, think LAZY. Cover, tributaries and flats out of the main channel are your best bet.

I find Kentucky bass and white bass everywhere. If it looks good, try it.

Baits? If the current is slow or you are fishing slack water, Fat Ika. Otherwise, 3 1/2" Mizmo tube, GYCB Single Tail Hula Grub and Single Tail Grubs. Topwater and jerkbaits might work in low light, but I don't think they are the right choice this time of year.

One more suggestion: I am a firm believer that line size matters on a river. I recommend #6, but nothing heavier than #8.

As far as line goes I am already set there. I just re-strung my pole with some Camo Green Yo-Zuri Hybrid Ultrasoft #6 and have reset my drag accordingly. I have plenty of Fat Ikas and 4/0 EWG Gammies on hand. I also have plenty of Hula grubs. However, I don't not have ANY tubes. I am retarded when it comes to tubes. I think I could figure out how to fish them, but rigging them is a mystery to me. It's probably simple and i am just overcomplicating things. Do you insert jigheads, T-rig them (which I never understood how to T-rig a hollow tube), or some other type of rig I may not know about?

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Well, I only use an inserted jig head using a 3 1/2" tube for smallmouth. For largemouth I prefer the Micro Munch Tackle El Gordo or Mizmo 5 1/2" tube. I T-rig them with a 4/0 EWG Offset Worm Hook, 1/16 oz weight with a bead, unpegged. Push the barb in and out at the crown or top of the tube (you should have about 1/8" of plastic on the hook). Estimate a spot on the tube where the bend in the shank of the hook should enter the bait and push the barb through both walls. You should be able to skin-hook the barb and the bait will be weedless just like you rig the Fat Ika, but not backwards (skirt should be down with a tube).

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Thanks for the skinny on tube riggin' RW, I appreciate it. I felt as if there were a big 'ole hole in my plastics arsenal, but no more. Does anyone else have any nifty pearls of wisdom or tips that I should try to keep in mind? One question I have is which direction to cast, up or down stream. I have always heard that bass normally orient themselves to face up stream so they can pick off passing baitfish, bugs, crayfish, or other passing prey as it goes downstream. If this is true it leads me to believe that I should cast upstream and work the bait back to me with the current, or if the current is fast enough, let the current do the work for me while managing the depth of the lure. Would I be correct in this logic, or have I got it backwards...like I said...it's all kinda fuzzy.  :-?

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Cast straight to the bank and let the drift take your bait to no more than a 45 degree angle UPSTREAM, but NEVER fish downstream.

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if you are targeting smallmouth i would definetly bring along some tubes.  i use a jighead anytime i am able to.  often this translates into jigheads for smallmouth and t-rig for largemouth.  RW gave me a good tip about using longer slower hops than i was using and then letting the bait fall on a semi slack line.  the straight fall is important in my opinion to get that death spiral, dying baitfish look, along with a tubes abvious craw impression.  if the going gets tough i would definitely break out the single tail yamamoto grubs on a 1/16 or 1/8th oz jighead.  they are such a versatile river lure that can be fished in a lot of different ways.  id make sure that you have at least 3 colors, something to immitate craws, something to imitate sunfish, and a 150 (smoke with black) or something similar,perhaps with some gold, to imitate other baitfish.  

i wouldnt forget your 4 and 5 inch (and maybe even 3 in depending on size of smallies)senkos either.    sometimes when the fish are finicky i will just bite down my 5 inch baits for a slightly fatter, shorter senko.  they have saved a few river trips for me when the conditions are tough.

while it is not really ideal topwater times you can bet id have a splash or popper lure along for early mornings.

i love river fishing and there is nothing better to me than catching a nice smallie.

good luck and let us know how you do,

matt

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That river is a little east of my home range and I have never fished it, but I do fish Ozark smallmouth rivers year-round. During the mid/late summer always have a topwater handy, even in mid-day. Buzzbaits, walkers, poppers,and torpedos all work great.

Soft jerkbaits like flukes and sticks like senkos ripped and twitched across the surface fast will get you jaw dropping strikes, sometimes 3, 4, or half a dozen smallmouth will charge out at a fast paced topwater.

Compact spinnerbaits are great, too. Shallow diving cranks like the Rebel crawfish, the Norman Tiny N, and similar baits are another fun way to cover water and catch lots of fish.

If you stick with soft plastics tubes are good, but I never use them this time of year. I try to cover water fast and find bigger fish. If I don't connect with the faster lures in a hole I think has a bigger smallie I will drift a beaver bait texas rigged with just enough weight to tick bottom- usually 1/16th or 1/8th--sometimes up to 1/4 or 5/16 in faster water. Another sleeper is a 4 inch finesse worm texas rigged and worked the same way as the beaver bait. Or I'll let a Fluke drift in the current with a few twitches.

Cast at any cover that has deeper water near it, but deeper water in an Ozark river can mean 2-3 foot.

To work a soft plastic in the deeper section of a pool try to get on the shallow side and cast upstream at about a 45 degree angle, let the lure drift back in the current and reel in slack as you go, trying to keep in touch with the lure as it swings past you downstream. When it gets more than 45 degrees downstream reel it up and go again.

More impotant than even line size is to stay stealthy on the river. If you are in a canoe or jon don't bang tackle around or drop stuff in the bottom. When wading don't splash around and step slowly(gravel crunches and can be heard a long way away). I catch good smallmouth in sections of float streams that other folks report as not having much numbers or size. It's not because I'm some master fisherman, but I am quiet.

For more river smallie info than you can stand:

http://riversmallies.com/

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We will be fishing out of a small jon boat, one of the few times I have boat access. I can vouch for my own stealthiness and maybe one of my other friends. But the other one is kinda loud sometimes...he doesn't get to go fishing very often and doesn't seem to understand the value of quiet...especially in an aluminum jon boat.

Thanks to everyone for the tips. RW, how fast do Mizmo and Micro Munch ship out their tackle? The trip is on Aug. 26th. Also what size jig heads do you use in your 3 1/2" tubes? Do you ever use the jig heads that have rattles in the head, I have seen some of those and believe that can only help a tubes craw imitation, but being that I have never fished tubes...what do I know. ;)

Which tube is the 3 1/2" tube? I am looking on both sites and can find the larger tubes, but can't locate the smaller ones. Color: Kent's Classic and Black Neon, right?

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Cast straight to the bank and let the drift take your bait to no more than a 45 degree angle UPSTREAM, but NEVER fish downstream.

Could you clarify this statement for us slow south dakota boys?  I just don't follow that.

thanks ;)

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Cast to the bank like you would if you were stationary. Your boat generally drifts faster than your bait, so as it lingers up river, work it back to you until your bait is at a 45 degree angle UPSTREAM. Sometimes your bait will drift faster than your boat. When that happens, reel in and recast- NEVER fish your lure downstream or against the current.

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Thanks RW.  That is what I thought you meant but, just wanted to make sure.   I always appreciate your comments and the time you dedicate in sharing your knowledge over and over again.

People say that I live close to a great small mouth fishery (Missouri river).  I just don't feel that comfortable navigating on it yet.  Lots of channel changes and moving sandbars.  One of these days...

I'll get out there and get some of those bronzebacks.

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I am looking at some of these to insert in the tubes.

http://www.basspro.com/servlet/catalog.TextId?hvarTextId=58622&hvarDept=100&hvarEvent=&hvarClassCode=10&hvarSubCode=6&hvarTarget=browse

They seem to be made of good quality components and I like the weights they come in. Has anyone ever used these before?

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I only follow a few tips for river fishing:

1. Fish every part of the shoreline whether it looks like it holds fish or not

2. In the summer, only use soft plastics

3. In the fall, only use crankbaits and plastic worms

4. Use smaller lures

Keep in mind that I fish rivers in Florida that hold a lot of suwannee bass, so number four might not apply.

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