While a boat is nice to have it is not absolutely necessary to catch fish. There are many quality shore fishing opportunities available, which offer the chance to catch a wide range of game fish species.
Many anglers fish from shore, but to be a successful shore fisherman, you need to follow a strategy that gives you the best opportunity for success.
No matter if you are fishing from a boat or from shore, location is one of the key elements to a successful outing. Many bodies of water offer public fishing piers or docks for shore anglers, but often these locations are not ideal for catching quality fish. They are often placed in areas, because they are adjacent to a park or public access point, not because they are in a good area to catch fish.
In order to improve your odds for success, you need to use the same strategy you would use when fishing from a boat. That is, you need to look for locations that are likely to hold quality fish. Points, weedlines, drop-offs and underwater structure are all good places to start.
Fishing the weedline in a boat is fairly simple. You position your boat near the weedline and cast toward it or work your way along it to try to catch fish. However, when fishing from shore, working the weedline seems much more difficult, because the weeds are between you and the edge of the weeds. And often, the weeds are thick and growing right to the surface. While this may limit your options, it is not an obstacle that is impossible to overcome.
One of the best strategies for fishing the weedline from shore is to use a slip bobber and live bait. Determine where the weedline is located and cast to the edge of it.
Another effective approach is to use a top-water bait or weedless lure and cast beyond the weedline; then retrieve the bait towards the weeds. Fly fishing with a popper or other dry fly also works well in thick weed cover.
While some shore fishing locations allow shore anglers to catch fish near shore with the same gear they would use in a boat, other locations may require a different approach.
If you are fishing a lake or river, where you need to get your bait a considerable distance from shore to access larger fish, an effective strategy is to buy a surf casting rod. These rods can launch baits a long way and give you the freedom to cover a remarkable amount of water from shore.
One of the best times to shore fish is at night. Often, gamefish such as bass or walleyes will move into shallow water at night, in search of food. This offers a tremendous opportunity for quality shore fishing.
Some of the best shore fishing for catfish and bullheads can also be found at night.
In the water
Do not be afraid to get out in the water. Some areas, such a points, sand bars or shallow flats allow an angler to wade 30 feet or more into a body of water, which dramatically improves access to fish.
A good pair of waders or water shoes are recommended for wading, to avoid cutting your feet on sharp objects.
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