Fishing Secrets: Seams and Pockets

Here you see pocket water in front of the boulder. | Jeffrey Walters

Part of finding where the fish are located is learning how to read the water. Fast-moving water must be looked at differently than lakes and pounds. Moving water tells a different story that the angler simply needs to understand so they can become a better angler. That is why understanding the fishing secrets of seams and pocket water is very important.
The Kern River, in both upper and lower sections, is a moving storybook that tells a very different story. The angler looks at the water and thinks that this or that area might be good to fish. However, do they know what to look for, the way the moving water forms “seams” of currents and how these areas hold fish? What about the pockets of water and how they form, and most importantly, how to fish in these areas? What is pocket water? This is the section in front of obstacles in the water that causes the current to separate or go around. It depends on the force of the current pushing up against the objects, such as a big rock or chain of rocks across the stream or river. It will form a different size area in front of that object. This area is called pocket water because it forms a “pocket” where fish will be waiting for food to swim or float by.
The force of the current forms the size of the pocket. Fast water makes a smaller area, whereas slower water makes a bigger area. You will seldom find slow water forming in these areas because it takes the force of water pushing up against the objects to form that buffer zone in front of them. These areas in front of objects will always hold fish if they are in that section of water. You can have “pocket water” for miles and still find nothing while just a few miles downstream you catch fish every cast. The angler not only has to read the water to be successful, but they also need to explore the water as well.
“Seams” are the area right alongside fast-moving water. Here is where the water changes speed, depth, color, temperature and length of the seam. The fast-moving water is channeled mostly in the center of the stream or river and held in place mainly by rocks, sand, gravel and solid stone walls. The water that is not as fast as the main current is where the fish will be looking for food. This is out of harm’s way from birds, but still not that fast of a current to drain their energy. They simply hang out in this area and suck up the food that washes by. Sometimes you can even see them darting here and there but still facing upstream. The darting is the process of them sucking up food. Using your bait, lure or fly by drifting it in these seams is the most rewarding. So, the next time you’re out on the moving water, look for those pockets and seams.

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