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Trophy striped bass are one of the most sought after freshwater, game fish. For most, this means deep reservoirs, bay boats, down lines, live bait or jet boats and guided trips. Fortunately, the Spring and Summer months mean striped bass run up the rivers and tributaries to spawn and then seek thermal refuge from the Summer heat. Here, they hide in log jams, deep holes, creek mouths and shoal water feeding on bait fish and even sizable game fish. Treacherous rocks and shoals keep most boaters and fishermen out of these prime waters.

The Jackson Coosa provides the perfect platform to navigate difficult waters and target these apex predators. The ultimate river boat, it drafts shallow and turns nimbly, putting you in position to make the proper presentation to these voracious, yet wary fish. Simplicity is the greatest asset for me. No drilling or modding required, I simply strap on my Elite Seat, stow a large Plano box under the seat, and clip my rods into the multiple rod holders or stagers. Focus on your boat location and cast placement, not on your accessories and doo-dads.

I target river-run striped bass with big shad or trout imitation swimbaits; the Bull Shad by Mike Bucca is my striper candy bar of choice. These heavy baits must be presented with long, accurate casts made possible by long, swimbait rods. A stout rod with plenty of backbone, but a forgiving tip will load up and bomb long range casts with extraordinary effectiveness and minimal fatigue; the Dobyns Mike Long series rods are my favorite. Get a sturdy reel, fill it with 25lb monofilament and make long, accurate casts toward creek mouths, deep holes, shoal water, and log jams. Striped bass are notoriously gun-shy in clear water and will often follow the lure all the way to the bow of the boat. I can’t tell you how many time I have almost jumped out of my skin when a 20 plus pounder swims to your boat and staring at you through half-dollar size eyes.

In still water I alternate between a straight burn and a slow, steady crawl with most fishing coming on a simple, straight retrieve. In shoal water I like to work my swimbaits across and down current, keeping tension on the line to manage a fluttering, floundering retrieve.
Look for cool water, current, holes, logjams, creeks, and shoals and you will certainly find some big striped bass. Nothing is more exhilarating than the explosive, violent strike and drag peeling runs of river-run striped bass. Let Jackson take you there…..