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GoingtomissTexas

River Fishing?

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I am moving to Bakersfield, California, and i recently sold my boat, so I think I'm stuck with fishing the Kern river for a while.

A few questions, as I have never really river fished for largemouth (I'm from Texas and we have a surplus of amazing lakes, never wanted to fish rivers).

What do I use?  Where do I fish?  Is structure just as important?  Stick with soft plastics or do I switch to the rugger spinners and crank baits and rattle traps?

Any and all help is greatly appreciated.

Thanks fellas

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Repost in the Western Fishing section and you should get some good responses.  :)

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Yes structure is just as important, i fish the Ohio river all the time and do just as good there as anywhere else. Just think of how big the fish can get in that water. I use a little bit of everything from spinnerbaits to crankbaits. But mostly Texas Rig a worm and find you some structure somewhere.

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I primary spend most of my time on the Mississippi River from pools 4-10 (each pool around 30-40 miles long), however what you will need to understand is that there is cover and there is structure.

Structure is bottom contours, current breaks, eddies and the like.

Cover is an object such as a log or weeds.

You will want to concentrate on the same things that you did in a lake, the difference is that it is going to be much smaller.  For example, even a small river will have flats (inside turns) and the difference is instead of being many acres they will be yards instead.  Also on the outside bends you will have under cut banks (especially in small rivers) and current breaks around any sharp points or around cover.  That cover will also have deeper water on the back side and shallow water on the front side (typically).

Take care,

Steve

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Great post SteveF

From a tactical standpoint, always cast upstream or across stream,

never downstream. If you fish from the bank, soft plastics fished

weedless, topwater, spinnerbaits and buzzbaits are your friends.

Jigs and diving crankbaits may be effective, but you will lose them.

8-)

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Thanks Fellas, yall have helped a bunch.  I think I'll just need to scout this river some time soon and see what I'm up against and where I'll actually be able to productively fish.

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Id say if it is a very deep river that drops off quickly from on the bank then crankbaits gonna be very effective around old logs or rocks. I usually fish a small finesse worm or crawworm with a lighter weight like a 1/16 oz or 1/8 oz weight. Throw the bait upstream to your structure and let it flow underneath logs and rocks. Esp when fishing a worm or crawworm.

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A lot depends on the strength of the current.  I mostly fish my local river that I grew up on, some places you fish no different than a pond due to lack of current.    The stronger the current, the more likely I'm finding fish behind cover, saving their strength behind something that protects them from the current.   You may find some baits don't work well either with strong current, as they work on resistance, which isn't there.  Some spinners and even some cranks won't run right in strong current if you're fishing with the current.  I've had some luck in such situations fishing against the current, you can deadstick a rapala and it will swim due to the current and look like it's struggling to swim upstream.    It works best when the herring run.

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Tidal fishing timing is extremely critical, tidal fish move a lot but can be very predictable. When you catch them pay attention to time and tide level and get you a tidal chart. Some spots are good on high tide, some on low tide, and some spots are good in between. Your job is to determine when a spot is best and then to duplicate the timing in the future.

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I am moving to Bakersfield, California, and i recently sold my boat, so I think I'm stuck with fishing the Kern river for a while.

A few questions, as I have never really river fished for largemouth (I'm from Texas and we have a surplus of amazing lakes, never wanted to fish rivers).

What do I use? Where do I fish? Is structure just as important? Stick with soft plastics or do I switch to the rugger spinners and crank baits and rattle traps?

Any and all help is greatly appreciated.

Thanks fellas

Why restrict yourself to the Kern river? The Kern is a smallmouth fishery, few largemouths. Close to Bakersfield are several good bass lakes; Bass lake, Eastman, Hensley, Isabella, Haweah, Pine Flat, Success and Millerton to name a few within 1 hour or so drive. All these lakes rent boats and can be fished from shore. Isabella is up the Kern river and a very good bass lake, Kaweah is near Three rivers, both have giant FLMB population. Pine Flat is up the Kings river with current world record spotted bass.

Suggest you get Western Outdoors News weekly paper and use Google for fish reports on the listed lakes.

Also check out the numerous small lakes and pond near the rivers; Kern, King, Merced. Within 2 hours drive you have; to the south: Pyramid and Castaic, both very good bass lakes with rentals. North; you have Don Pedro, New Melones, etc.

Welcome to California bass fishing, you don't need to fish rivers, unless you want to.

River bass are like other river fish; current dictates where the bass will be. Largemouth; generally stay out of direct current areas and use the current to bring prey to them. Smallmouth will get into current areas and like LMB use the current to bring prey to them. You need to study the river and look for eddies, trees, boulders, back water areas that bass prefer. Jigs that represent crawdads, inline spinners, small buzz baits and spinnerbaits all work well in rivers.

WRB

PS; the CA Delta area is about a 3 hour drive north, then west. A vast area with over 1500 miles of rivers and sloughs full of bass. This is a tidal water area that requires a boat to fish effectively.

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The Alabama river is my favorite place to catch bass. While the current may pose some challenges it should not prohibit you from employing the same techniques you use succesfully in a lake. In the case that the current is moving very swift you will need to upsize the weight used with plastics and jigs and/or find areas where the current is slower (bends, points, deeper/wider sections). While I have a lot of luck with worms, I tend to catch more fish with crankbaits.

The neat thing about river fishing is that it is always changing. The spot you fished last week could have lost that great tree laying in the water or a few new ones have been washed in.

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