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Wading low water


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Some day I'll figure out how to post things. Did a couple drawings, again real low water and this is just the next step. After you worked the pool from a distance and caught a few or none at all. You can get a few more or at least learn about the pool by wading. I usually work upstream doing this, but a lot of people think kicking up some mud will get them biting. What I'm always looking for is a change in bottom content, sand to gravel or rock or a change in depth. As always care must be taken while wading, shuffle and feel your way along, no big steps. The nice thing about an in the water approach is usually the transistion line or break line often runs the lenght of the pool. Casts can be made parallel upstream or downstream as in figure D casting from position 1 toward position 2. This parallel cast is covering fish holding water the whole way. Make a few casts and work your way up one foot on sand the other on rocks.The alternative is to stand on the shore and slice across the break line figure D postion 3 casting toward 4. This has your lure in the prime area for only a fraction of the cast.

The appeal of gravel or broken rock is possibly an easier place to swim or hold since the rough bottom disrupts the current also a great area for fish to find food hiding among the rocks. Abrupt changes in depth provide shade, breaks in the current and again feeding opportunities as ambush points.

Be careful wading. Don't wade into the water if you're fishing with others. Allow your fellow fisherman to go ahead of you casting from shore and you can out fish them working the breakline from an in the river position. The last 2 or 3 times out searching with my feet paid off. I recently fished an area like diagram A below a bluff. I casted across river into what I thought was deep water. Finally getting snagged I waded over to find I was working a shallow flat. The drop off ws in the middle of the stream. Wading to the edge and casting upstream I caught on of the best fish of the day. Because these slots and transistion areas are so narrow without a parrallel casting position the fish that live in them don't see many lures.

What about spooking fish. I'm pretty good at this and it can be quite comical and dangerous at times. One thing I do a lot is cover the same water twice in a trip. I spook a lot of fish on the way in but on the way out I know the terain a little better. I'm covering less water but pulling more fish out of each spot. Pretty basic stuff but on tough days getting right in feeling around and casting parallel can pay off.

Phil

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Nice post--good food for thought. Only thing I'd say is that I would rather take the 3-4 combo in scenario D over 1–2, and those aren't the only options. I like 3-4 because if you factor in the current--which is a must--the lure isn't cast on top of fish and it swings at a slightly sideways angle but facing upstream when entering the strike zone (deep slough). This is a very natural presentation that doesn't spook the the fish, and can entice them to eat. To cover the potential length of the strike zone, I repeat this process as I walk downstream a few steps at a time. Casting from position 1-2 either brings the lure/fly up behind the fish or swims it directly into its face, neither of which seem to appeal to fish. Fish tend to spook or ignore such offerings in my experience.

 

The other, unmarked options are quartering casts on either side of strikes one and either upstream or downstream. Quartering upstream can help a lure/fly get deeper before brought under tension, and quartering downstream can get the current under the line quickly for a suspended presentation (quick swing into/over strike zone).

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. Tim

I would always work the first two options you mentioned 3-4 or quartering. If I had no takers or tried several presentations and caught fish on say a tube, then instead of leaving the pool I would work a tube casting parallel to what ever break I could find. It might be cheating but I've literally fell into good fishing spots while wading. Many times my feet will find something to give me confidence to work over an area.

In the first article Fishing low water I'm using the casting positions you recommended. This article is sort of one of the next things to try as opposed to hitting the next pool.

One of the things I've been working on is the danger of fishing success. You find a good spot or river or good lure that catches fish. You're successful. But you miss out on a better spot or a lure that catches big fish quicker or a river that turns an average guy into a pro. This wading in and casting parallel might get you a few more fish or get you drowned ( lets hope not). Fishing this week in Indiana there was no way to get out deep enough to find a break but I realized the deeper water was closer in then I thought and caught a few fish close in.

I will try to do a drawing of a lift/ back of the pool presentation next. The quartering down stream for a suspended presentation is great here. I need to work on different downstream techniques especially on lifts. Good reminder.

Phil

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"Casting from position 1-2 either brings the lure/fly up behind the fish or swims it directly into its face, neither of which seem to appeal to fish. Fish tend to spook or ignore such offerings in my experience".

Don't fish have better vision looking straight ahead since both eyes are involved? Kind of a 3 d thing going on.

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i do quite well bringing crankbaits and rattlebaits upstream from behind the fish. if you go back the the old In Fish study reports on rivers they mention that bringing lures upstream doesn't bother the fish.

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All relative to the water and you're both right of course.

 

When we talk about low water, often that is ankle deep with up to 18" of depth maybe a 3' hole somewhere. Certainly now in many places. Bringing something noisy through a sucker school will net you a couple hundred spooked fish and nothing to hand.

 

If you can isolate smallmouth away from the huge pods of rough fish, they often react more violently to the same presentation.

 

Not all methods work all the time, and certainly not on all flows. Smallmouth act and react differently given different variables.

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