Like many other anglers, I don’t own a fishing boat. For years I’ve stalked one shoreline after the next with success.
You don’t have to let the lack of a boat prevent you from catching fish. Fishing from the shore is a bit different than fishing from a boat, as it requires commitment, practice and attention to detail.
Here are a few tips you’ll need to keep in mind if you want to have success from the shore.
A Little Recon Never Hurts
After arriving at a lake, resist the urge to immediately start casting. Instead, take a few minutes to walk the perimeter or observe the water, looking for ideal spots with structure like vegetation, laydowns and docks. Try to get a good mental layout of these spots and come up with a game plan before fishing.
Ponds, streams and other shore fishing spots don’t often have a ton of cover. This means your silhouette can betray your presence to the fish before you even make a cast. To prevent this, try to keep your shadow off the water by staying low as you’re moving or standing next to a tree, clump of grass or dock piling to blend in.
Fish are tuned in to look for the shadows of predators such as herons, so they’ll scatter when any large, moving shadow crosses their path.
It’s instinctive to walk up to a pond and send a cast as far as possible to the middle. Unfortunately, in most ponds or lakes, the vast majority of the game and panfish will be hanging out near the shore or near the first major drop-off close to the shore. Instead of aiming for the middle, make parallel casts along the bank, ahead of where you’re standing, and retrieve your lure back towards you.
Shore anglers tend to target smaller lakes and ponds where the prey of choice is small panfish and minnows. To match the hatch in these locations, downsize your presentation to increase your success. I like to use small plastic worms in the four-inch range, like Berkley’s Power Worm. If I’m throwing a spinnerbait, I’ll use a small model, like BOOYAH’s Micro Pond Magic.
Without a boat, bank anglers are only able to fish where their feet can take them, which often times means a lot of walking in a given day. Lugging around a bunch of rod/reel combos and a huge tackle box gets tiring and frustrating quickly. Instead, I go with a single rod/reel combo and pack a backpack with a plastic storage box.
I love the Plano 4700 Guide Box for this task; it’s double-sided, which lets me store twice the tackle in the same amount of space. Keeping everything in a backpack makes walking around a bit easier and saves energy because you can wear it while fishing, which means more time fishing and less time hauling gear.