Written by Andrew Schadegg
No boat? No problem!
One of the most requested topics for videos and articles that we receive is about shore fishing. What are the best baits to fish from the shore of lakes in Florida? Do you have tips on fishing from the banks of Lake Michigan? How do you fish from the banks of a river? How do you fish from the shore of a pond?
Though it would be difficult to get into specifics for your local pond or the lakes you fish in your state, the same principles of good bank fishing apply universally. You can catch more bass from the shore of any pond, lake or river if you follow some basic principles.
What is the Best Bait for Bank Fishing?
This is the big question and it doesn’t have a straight answer. The best bait from the shore, is the one that you can throw the easiest for the cover you’re fishing, that will get the highest percentage of bites.
You don’t want to be walking down the bank with 10 rods rigged up with a bunch of different stuff. Try to keep it to two rods, one if possible. This allows you to spend your time casting and working your bait, rather than messing with rods or switching to much.
That’s why 9 out of 10 times your best bait is going to be a finesse rig. It might be a creature bait, worm, weightless Senko-style bait or smaller drop shot worm. If you’re fishing a shoreline with a lot of weeds near the bank, these baits can be Texas-rigged so that you can work around the weeds without a problem. Anything to keep your bait in the water and not on the shore picking out garbage.
If the fish are a little more active, a second rod rigged up with a hollow-body frog would be a good choice. You can throw it over the cover, work it around the thick stuff and avoid getting hung up. When weeds aren’t an issue, a reaction bait like a lipless crankbait or spinnerbait would be a good option.
What are the Best Tips for Bank Fishing?
A lot of times, bank anglers get beat before they even start fishing. They approach the shoreline way too fast and too loud, so the fish in the area immediately spook out to other places. So the first tip is be quiet. Walk softly and approach the bank very slowly. Pay attention to what you’re wearing. Just like camouflage for deer hunting, blending into the background makes you less perceptible to those shallow fish.
A second tip would be to practice casting at home. Unfortunately, shore fisherman have less area to fish on a given body of water and typically those areas get beat up pretty hard. To put the odds more in your favor, learning to cast to areas that other people can’t reach is really important.
Finally, make sure you’re trying new techniques. Bank fish in a certain area, may see a ton of the same baits over and over again. Maybe instead of throwing a Senko, toss a soft jerkbait. Instead of a 6-inch worm, throw a 10-inch worm. Mix it up a bit to give you the advantage of fishing a bait they haven’t seen before.
What are the Best Times for Bank Fishing?
Fishing the right conditions can play a really big role in whether your bank fishing trip is successful or a bust. When the weather is warm, bass tend to move up shallow to feed in the mornings and evenings. If you can make it out during those times you’ll have better odds. Also, cloudy days will extend those feeding times longer and many times improve the bite.
Don’t avoid the wind! The wind can be the bank fisherman’s biggest ally. Make sure that you’re fishing the bank that the wind is blowing into and you’ll have a big advantage, as the wind blows the plankton and baitfish into the shoreline. This calls the bass straight to the bank like a dinner bell.
Night fishing from the shore can also be very productive, as bass tend to feed more heavily when things cool down and activity on the water is a little calmer.
Next time you’re heading to your local pond, lake or river to beat the banks for a while, remember some of these tips and you will find success and hopefully some big bass!