Reading the Surface of a River.
Striped Bass are highly current oriented.
When river fishing try to visualize where
Stripers will be by learning to read the water.
The surface of a river will tell you about
what is underneath it.
How Safe Is Your Boat
The US Coast Guard and the United
States Power Squadrons
welcome you to this special group of pages
that can result in your becoming a safer
Visit the "Virtual VSC" page
and do a self-evaluation of your own boat,
this is just between you and your boat.
Areas you should look for are current breaks and seams.
A current break is any area of the river that changes the flow of the current.
Current breaks include rocks, downed timber, piling and chutes,
where the current is
narrowed and sped up, and holes, where the current eases and an eddy is formed.
Current breaks create seams, the primary area a striped
bass relates to.
A seam is the
meeting of water moving in different directions, at different speeds or
clarity (such as a mud line where a creek flows into the river).
Seams are really what you
are looking for; most of the fish you catch will be within 30 feet of a seam.
Seams and current breaks can be subtle, but no less effective.
A seam can be an area
where slightly choppy water turns flat.
The deeper the water, the further downstream
evidence of an obstruction will appear on the surface.
Casting to a boil in fifteen feet
of water will put your bait behind the fish using the rock for shelter.
Seams and current
breaks are where you want to fish, not park your boat.
Do not pull up behind a rock, drop
anchor and expect to catch fish.
Anchor to one side or the other of a seam in such a way
that you can fish as much of the seam as possible.
As the seam is the most effective area, you should be aware of when your lure is
seam and try to keep your lure on it for as long as possible.
There are a variety of
techniques that can be used to keep your lure in the strike zone.
One is back reeling.
Position yourself upstream of the water you want to fish, cast to the head of the seam and
reel backwards, maintaining enough pressure on the lure to keep it moving against the
Your lure will face into the current but gradually wash downstream,
impression that it is too weak to fight the current.
Once you have let the lure out as far
as you intend, simply fish back up the current.
Another is to start slightly downstream from the seam and cast upstream,
only enough to keep the lure from snagging,
allow the lure to arc through the seam while
twitching your rod tip.
This technique is used most often fishing bucktails, but is
effective with all types of lures.
Also you can start downstream of the seam and cast up
into it, retrieving quickly so the lure speeds head first down it.
Stripers will smack a lure at any speed.
An erratic retrieve will often liven up a
trip, but straight retrieves do well, too.
One tried and true retrieve is the pump and
Draw the rod tip upwards without reeling, then reel to take up slack as you drop the
Another tactic to try is a reverse twitch.
Instead of twitching upward, drop the tip
sharply toward the lure. This works really well with a floating lure, as it will cause the
lure to suspend and flush with the current.
A bucktail brought across the current on a
steady retrieve with a reverse twitch as it hits a seam is deadly.
Imagine it swimming
steadily in the current then going relaxing as it hits the slower water.
The Arkansas River has several things that are attractive to Stripers, cooler water and
current which means better oxygenated water and plenty of shad.
for striped bass
can be a rewarding experience. The fish are closer to the surface, and
will use the current to create spectacular runs
that often leave you wondering how a fish
that size can put up such a fight.
River Fishing Safety.
Safety on the river will always make your fishing trip an enjoyable experience and
possibly could save a life.
Being prepared for the unexpected can mean the difference
between life and death.
The Arkansas River can be very
It has large hidden rocks and dikes, deep holes, swift currents and
- Wear a Coast Guard approved type III-V, properly adjusted life-jacket at all times when
you are in or near the river.
- never drink alcohol while fishing
- remain seated while in a boat
- never fish alone; take a friend along Tell someone where you are going, when you expect
to return, and where to call if you don't.
- fish at least 100 yards away from a dam
- Be careful when anchoring in current
- Make sure that your water skills and experience are equal to the river and the
- Be prepared for extremes in weather, especially cold.
- Know about hypothermia and how it can affect you.
- Plan your trip and stick to your plan.
- Stay away from the river during high flows.
Extreme conditions will test your equipment.
If your boat, motor, trailer, or whatever
isn't at the peak of maintenance, don't go.
The middle of river is not the time to check
and see how much battery is left on your cell phone.
Nor is it the time to determine that
you can't get a good cell signal.
Cold weather reduces cranking capacity on batteries.
Plan for the difference and/or bring a spare.
You should assume that anything that can go
wrong will and it will ruin more than the fishing.
Create Memories not Memorials, Be careful out there.
Links I Glossary of Fish Terms I
Striper Site Map