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#11625632 - 05/25/16 12:20 PM Bass fishing in River systems
CowboyVet Online   content

Registered: 08/26/14
Posts: 72
Loc: Drippin Springs
Hey guys,

I was hoping y'all would be willing to share some tips about how you approach river systems here in Central TX.

I have read up on the basics in regards to fishing channel swings with structure, flats on the inside on the channel swings, bluffs, ect.

Where I struggle is locating fish when there is miles of river to narrow down in an 8 hr day.

I definitely have my good days where I happen to get on them but find that I am not very consistent.

I am sure the responses will come down to spending time on the water but in an 8 hr day what is your general game plan for the post-spawn - summer period.


#11625692 - 05/25/16 12:39 PM Re: Bass fishing in River systems [Re: CowboyVet]
David Welcher Online   content
Extreme Angler

Registered: 06/02/10
Posts: 2008
Loc: Weatherford
Most of the time the river will have a drop in it on the longer deeper pools. At the drop you will have timber, rocks and even trash accumulated along that drop weather it be parallel to the river or perpendicular, and that is where the majority of the fish will stack up. Unless you have a depth finder on your boat it's hard to see those breaks with all the murky water, but when the water clears up, you will see it. A good example of this is a mile down stream of the hwy 16 bridge below PK, there is a long deep pool, and the river is clear enough right now that you can see one side of the river is 2' deep while the other side is 8' there is a drop in it that runs right thru the middle of the river. Tons of timber and large rocks in there, and that is all the cover they need.

#11625742 - 05/25/16 12:58 PM Re: Bass fishing in River systems [Re: CowboyVet]
militarybrat Offline
Extreme Angler

Registered: 06/02/11
Posts: 2698
Loc: dalllas texas
You have to be aware of everything including river flow. Where the fish set up when the current is strong and when normal flow is happening. The down current side of the inside of a river bend can hold lots of fish. I grew up fishing the tidal rivers of the north east. I have seen so many bass anglers fishing the outside of a river bend catching nothing while I was catching lots because I was inside of the same bend. There is an eddy on the down current side of the bend fish stack up in them to feed out of the current. Most bass fisherman never check it as the outside of the bend is textbook. Not every bend holds fish and some contain some form of cover the only way to find out is to run and gun them. Remember you are not really fishing you are searching the inside and outside of the bends for anything that blocks or slows the current. During this search you will catch some really pay attention to those areas find out why the fish are there. It's a puzzle you have to figure out takes time lots of hauling water in the beginning then payoff lots of catching.
Who ever said nothing in life is impossible.
Never tried slamming a revolving door.

#11625775 - 05/25/16 01:08 PM Re: Bass fishing in River systems [Re: CowboyVet]
bronco71 Online   content
Extreme Angler

Registered: 02/05/06
Posts: 1445
Loc: Farmers Branch/Sulphur Bluff
I used to float down the Brazos in a jon boat with a trolling motor and small outboard. I had a place to launch and another to take out miles downstream. The current would take me downstream and the trolling motor was used to adjust or hold in an area. When a fish was caught I would stay in that area until it wasn't producing, then fish similiar areas on my way downstream. If I stayed in a spot for a long time the little outboard got me to the take out point before dark....

#11625863 - 05/25/16 01:48 PM Re: Bass fishing in River systems [Re: CowboyVet]
bigbass94 Online   content
TFF Team Angler

Registered: 05/27/12
Posts: 4340
Loc: San Antonio, Texas
The 2 biggest keys for river fishing are current and location, with current being the biggest factor. If you have current, go to the nearest current break and fish. Anywhere there's a place for bass to get out the current is good, be it rocks, timber, docks, grass, bulkheads, whatever. It can become overwhelming if you have a lot of targets that can be current breaks. The best advice I can give you there is to fish the type of cover you have confidence in and to look at the surrounding area. If you like to flip shoreline brush or flip docks, then try those places first before you move to others. If your surrounding area has a steep drop, a creek, or a channel swing close by, that would be where I'd fish first. You don't have to fish a current break that's near any of those places just to catch fish, but your numbers and size will usually be in those areas. There are times when you can pick off a fish or two here and there if the cover is significant. You must remember to be accurate with your casts too. That's really important because largemouth in particular, don't like a lot of current. So they'll get up really tight to those current breaks.

If the river you're fishing has little to no current, then the majority of the fish in there are gonna be around cover that's close to a drop, a creek channel, a channel swing, some sort of structure that offers deep water access, cover, and bait. Typically, I catch most of my fish around pads, rocks, and wood that are near to some sort of deep water. You can catch fish in cover that isn't near any of those places, but they're few and far between. I don't fish docks too often but docks that are deep or are next to deep water are best.

It's super important to notice the subtle differences in structure and cover in rivers, as those places typically hold the best fish. What I mean by this is, if you idle over a single stump or tree that's near deep water or in deep water and don't fish it, you're missing out. Most anglers tend to head straight towards the biggest, baddest cover, skipping over those subtle differences. This all holds especially true if the river is a small body of water. Those fish get conditioned to anglers beating up those typical places, and they move off to the more subtle places. Believe it or not, I've hardly ever found large schools of bass. Most of the time there are maybe 3-4 fish in certain areas. You have to cover a lot of water!

Of course, at any given time you can catch a 10 pounder in the most obvious, shallowest place on the river, but I'd say the majority of the quality fish are gonna live deeper, on some sort of structure, near some good cover.

It's also very important to match the hatch on river systems. Typically, the majority of forage species on rivers are smaller, but they're plentiful. Rivers are very fertile and baitfish/prey species often exist in large numbers. I fish the Guadalupe River lakes a lot and I can prove to you that there are some HUGE (6"-10") gizzard shad in there. However, I have my best luck imitating the smaller (3"-5") baitfish/prey species. If you fish a giant swimbait long enough, you'll catch a 10 pounder. But you can also catch a 10 pounder on a 3" bait. You just have to fish the conditions!

If it's early Spring, cloudy, and pre-frontal conditions, I'll normally upsize my baits a good bit because I have an excellent chance at catching a big fish.

Spring: I throw normal size to larger size baits because the fish are active and not too picky. Bluegill baits are a HUGE key to river fishing, and they'll often get you a quality bite. Go as shallow as you can go. Imitating crawfish can be deadly as well!

Summer: This is the toughest time to fish rivers. 90% of the time I downsize or finesse fish. However, early and late I'll use standard size baits. If I'm gonna throw a larger bait, It's gonna be a deep diving crankbait, swimbait, or a plastic. I downsize my jigs, spinnerbaits, crankbaits, etc.

Fall: It's all about the baitfish! Spinnerbaits, paddle tail swimbaits, traps, chatterbaits, anything that resembles a shad. Cover water and go shallow!

Winter: I typically fish pretty slow but hit a lot of different spots. Deep water next to spawning areas are key around January. I stick with a small paddletail swimbait, jig, jigging spoon, and a beaver style plastic. Make sure your bait colors are dull and not lively. Colors like green pumpkin, black/blue, brown, and black are good choices.

I've spent a lot of time fishing river systems and they are hard to figure out. Most of them have their own ways of seasonal changes and they fish differently than lakes or reservoirs. It's all about covering water and spending as much time on the water as you can.

Hope this helps and good luck!
"If people concentrated on the really important things in life, there'd be a shortage of fishing poles." - Doug Larson

#11625978 - 05/25/16 02:38 PM Re: Bass fishing in River systems [Re: CowboyVet]
S Pape Offline
Green Horn

Registered: 06/04/14
Posts: 9
Loc: San Angelo
Great info bigbass94, thx!

#11628514 - 05/26/16 02:47 PM Re: Bass fishing in River systems [Re: CowboyVet]
CowboyVet Online   content

Registered: 08/26/14
Posts: 72
Loc: Drippin Springs
Thanks for the tips. Do you scan large chunks of the river looking for bait or fish with side scan or di prior to fishing an area or will the fish usually be so tight to cover that you wont see them on imaging.

What are your favkrite ways to target those suspended river black bass?

#11638489 - 05/31/16 06:39 PM Re: Bass fishing in River systems [Re: CowboyVet]
TXwelder Offline

Registered: 11/28/15
Posts: 233
Loc: Arlington,Texas
Stay Positive
PB:9.08 lake arlington


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