Fishing from the bank can seem a little limiting at times, but it’s actually quite liberating. The angler who can be content with fishing from shore is able to avoid a whole lot of expense when it comes to boats, trucks, electronics and all the other high-dollar equipment necessary to get out on the water these days.
And even for those that have the means, fishing from the bank can be a welcomed reprieve from the chaotic rat race that bass fishing from a big boat has become. But how do you make the most of a day spent fishing from shore? Here are three tips.
Travel light -
One of the coolest parts of fishing from the bank is the adventure of it all. At times, you may be limited to close quarters when fishing from a friend’s dock or a public landing. But other times, say when wading a creek or walking its shoreline, you can really cover some water and experience nature in a unique way. That is, if you travel light.
The best way to do this is to be as versatile as possible while carrying limited gear. Something as simple as a clip can make it easy to swamp between lures quickly and carry only one rod and a small tackle box. Using some sort of light tackle bag that you can carry on your body handsfree is another great way to minimize fatigue and keep a rod in your hand. Always keep a pair of needle-nose pliers in your pocket or strapped to your body as well, as these will be helpful when retying and removing fish from your hook.
Be efficient with the available water -
If you are fishing from more of a stationary point on shore, it’s important to dissect the water that you do have access to very intentionally. If you walk up and make a bomb cast out to the middle right away, you run the risk of hooking a fish and then reeling it right over others that you could have possibly caught first. Then the sloshing and thrashing may very well spook those bass that were positioned closer to you.
Instead, you should always approach the water carefully and quietly, as the bass can feel the vibration of an angler’s footsteps and may also see your silhouette against the sky. Avoid loud talking, stomping and sudden movements. Make a couple short pitches close to where you’ll be setting up shop to fish from. Then it’s typically a good idea to start making casts parallel to the bank in both directions, to catch any bass that are shallow and in striking range.
Then start casting your bait a little farther offshore, as you slowly make your way around like the hand on a clock counting off the minutes. This will give you a good shot at everything in range, while also giving the bass that might have been drawn in by your last cast a chance to find your bait on the next one.
Target high-percentage places first -
If you’re fishing on your lunch break, trying to get a few casts in before dark or have limited time to fish for whatever other reason, you’ll want to target the highest percentage places first. This typically looks like any kind of cover. If there are a few stumps or sticks within casting distance, throw at these first before starting your normal casting rotation. Or perhaps there’s only one dock on the lake, make sure to cast under it before walking out onto it.
Culverts, spillways, pipes and any other locations where there’s a little bit of current or water coming in are key. The water will be a little fresher here, typically a little clearer unless there’s been a big rain and bass know that food is likely to wash right by them in these places. The fresher water is also often cooler in the summer and more oxygenated. This is why it’s also a good idea to fish the north end of a pond, where the the creek or stream that feeds it comes in.
If you travel light, target high percentage places and make methodical casts, you can make the absolute most of your next fishing trip from shore. Perspective is everything, and every minute we get to fish is a blessing. Make the most of the gift given to you with these simple tips.