Tips for Stripers - River Fishing

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 boater.

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
of different 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
near a 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 current.

Your lure will face into the current but gradually wash downstream,
giving the 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,
then, reeling 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 reel.
Draw the rod tip upwards without reeling, then reel to take up slack as you drop the tip.

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.

Fishing the Arkansas River 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 dangerous.

It has large hidden rocks and dikes, deep holes, swift currents and underwater ledges.

  • 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 conditions.
  • 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.

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