It's not uncommon for fishermen to be surprised when they find out that shore fishing can produce a respectable catch. With the proper knowledge, it is possible to have an excellent day of fishing from the shore.
If you don't have access to a boat, don't let that stop you from bass fishing. Bass fishing from shore or bank can be an excellent alternative to boat fishing.
It's also an excellent option for those pressed for time and who want to catch fish without spending the whole day offshore.
Nowadays, with technology advancing and everything being available at our fingertips, there is no need to purchase expensive gear or spend hours researching what tackle you might need.
This article will discuss some basics on how to go about catching bass from the shore.
Advantages to Shore Fishing
Traditionally bass fishing is done from a boat, but there are also advantages to fishing on shallow shores and banks.
Bank fishing is a great option if you want to spend more time fishing without worrying about how your boat reacts to strong winds or bad weather conditions.
Maybe you don't have a boat and still want to go bass fishing. Shore fishing is perfect for enjoying a day fishing without the need to spend a fortune out on boats.
When fishing from the shore, you get a lot closer to the bass in the shallows than you would on a boat.
Bass love to hunt for prey in the cover that's close to the bank, so bass fishing from shore can give you more opportunities to catch bass.
You can create unique casting angles than you would typically be able to create on a boat. For example, getting much closing and reaching behind cover and Lilly pads would be near impossible to do fishing from a boat.
When largemouth bass fishing from shore, you have both feet on solid ground, so there is no worry about your boat waves moving you around, as well as fewer distractions and less vulnerability to be distracted.
Best Shore Locations to Fish
Bass can be elusive and tricky to catch, but there are a few patterns that will help you reel them in more often when shore fishing.
Throughout the year, bass behave differently due to spawning times, water temperature changes, etc., so it's essential to know when these events occur and how bass respond at different stages of the year.
I always use google earth to check out which spots look the best. You can zoom into local coasts and shores to find the ideal spot.
Asking local anglers is also a great option. People who fish the shore regularly will be able to point you in the right direction.
It's essential to pay close attention to weather, seasons, and temperatures and knowing how the bass will react. Understanding where the fish are will set you up for easy success.
As seasons change, so do the bass. Temperature changes cause the bass to move into deeper or shallower waters and a different cover.
Here are my favorite places to target during different seasons when shore fishing.
Spring shore fishing
In spring, bass are usually in the shallowest water.
Bass will move into new spawning areas in late spring when water temperatures reach about 58 degrees.
Male bass become very aggressive and will attack most baits and lures you present to them while they guard their nests.
During this time, bass tend to get very active and venture out of the deep cover into shallows and sandy areas.
This makes for great fishing opportunities because you can target bass during their most vulnerable stage.
Runoffs, where water runs off the bank into the lake, is a great spot to target the bass. Natural bait like worms and insects will attract the bass to these areas.
Look out for nice flats with plenty of cover, and they are the perfect place for bass to spawn.
Underwater rocks and structures are also a great place to catch bass from the bank in spring.
Summer shore fishing
Bass hate the very high temperatures and blazing sun they encounter in the summertime. So Bass will move deeper into the more shaded and cooler areas of the water.
During this time, bass are generally found around docks, piers, shallow flats shaded and covered with trees or lily pads.
Bank fishing gives you an excellent opportunity to get much better positions and angles than you would have been able to with a boat.
You want to target dense cover and fish as tight as you can to it.
Find a shore with a close deep water drop-off, where you can access the deeper cooler waters without having to cast out too far.
When the sun is at its lowest, summer mornings and evenings are a great time to use a topwater lure. Bass rise in the coolest part of the day to feed on crawdads and bluegills.
I always love to night fish for bass in the summer. I recommend you try it. The cold waters as the temperature drops can trigger a feeding frenzy for the bass.
Fall shore fishing
Like spring, fall is one of the best months for catching bass from the shore. Bass are looking to feed and gain weight for the cooler months ahead.
Bass will be hunting baitfish, which will attract them to shallower waters.
Choosing a shore location with good cover and fast-moving water from entrances to rivers and streams will give you the most success.
Minnows, shads, and crayfish love to congregate around the fresh moving water coming into the lake.
Check daily weather updates and target the warmest water along the shore.
Fish around shallow underwater rocks. Underwater rocks warm up from the sun's heat, and bass will lay on them, milking the heat before the cold of the winter hits.
Winter shore fishing
Winter bass fishing from shore can be pretty tricky. As a result, Bass move to deeper water in the colder months to keep warm.
Choose an area of shore that might be holding some heat.
Target parts of the lake with deep drop-offs close enough to the bank that you can cast too without much difficulty.
Patience is the key in the winter. Bass will be hard to come by, and you might not catch much at all. Trying a deep-diving crankbait or a drop shot rig gives me the best success when bank fishing in the winter.
Best Shore Fishing Equipment
Fishing from the bank requires moving around quite a bit. However, unlike fishing from a boat, you will need to downsize the equipment you use and travel much lighter.
Packing your tackle correctly and being prepared for shore fishing will give you the most success on your fishing trip and make it so much more enjoyable.
Good quality light fishing gear will allow you to move about more easily and target more shore areas, increasing your chances of success without causing too much strain and frustration.
Below is all the type of gear I recommend you invest in when shore fishing. Thus, making your fishing trip much more enjoyable.
Storage and Organization
Once you invest in a quality fishing backpack, it will be your best friend on every fishing trip.
Shore fishing requires a lot of moving around to find the perfect spot. A good tackle bag will save you from back pain and the frustration of being unorganized while on the bank.
Most good backpacks come with many different compartments and are fully waterproof.
Waterproof backpacks are a must when bass fishing on the bank. You'll have no worries about placing your backpack down in puddles or mud. Also, you never know when you might get caught in a downpour. All your tackle will be safe and dry.
Rods and Reels
You want to be as light as possible. But, unfortunately, this means we cannot take the hefty gear that we would typically take on a boat fishing trip.
The good news is that plenty of bass rods and reels are more than capable of doing the job, and most of them are lightweight!
I recommend using a good lightweight spinning rod and a medium-heavy baitcasting rod.
Your baitcasting rod will allow you to fish heavier lures and reach the deeper waters from the shore.
Also, a good light spinning rod will allow you to fish the shallows efficiently and accurately.
Look for rods that are shorter in length, so they fit in your car easily. The shorter length will also make navigating trees and bushes along the shore easier and less frustrating.
If you are hiking a great distance, a good telescopic rod might be a better choice. It will fold down very small and make it much easier to carry.
When using lighter rods, remember to use lighter lines so that you don't damage your rod.
Baits and Lures
Shore bass fishing is not very technical. However, Bass will be easy to catch as long as you fish in the correct location.
I recommend you invest in a small tackle box that will fit in your backpack and keep everything organized while you fish from the bank.
For shore fishing, you will want to carry:
- Your fishing license
- Multiple hook sizes in different options.
- Weights in different sizes.
- Hard lures
- A few different soft plastics.
Try not to weigh yourself down by carrying too much. Instead, select only your favorite lures and tackle.
I always carry a few different crankbaits. I have had many successes fishing crankbaits from the shore by casting into the rocks and sweeping the lure back. The sweeping motion attracts the bass, and they love it.
Taking a selection of your favorite soft plastics and creature bait then rigging them with different styles is a great and effective setup for catching bass on the banks.
Some of the baits and lures I always carry when I go bass fishing on the bank:
Bomber Lures Fat Free Shad Crankbait
Bomber Lures Fat Free Shad Crankbait is a brilliant crankbait made for shallow-water fishing.
I use it along the bank in areas of cover. With the kick-out paddle lip, it will dive to 6-feet on a 10-lb line.
The crankbait has realistic eyes that will attract bass from all over the lake and uses XCalibur Tx3 trebles, which significantly improves hooking.
Heddon Super Spook Topwater
Heddon's Super Spook Topwater is a versatile lure that I use to target largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, spotted bass, and even panfish.
I find this lure has its greatest potential in the mornings and evenings on warm summer days.
The Super Spook features two super-sharp hooks for increased hookups, and the solid and durable plastic construction makes the Super Spook capable of handling big fish.
I really like this topwater bait because it simulates a wounded baitfish, which attracts predatory fish like largemouth bass.
It comes in multiple colors so that you can choose your favorite lure color.
Gary Yamamoto Senko Bait
Gary Yamamoto Senko Bait is the most effective Senko on the market. The secret to its success lies in a proprietary plastic formulation that produces a unique shine as it sinks, which bass love.
I have tremendous success using this Senko when fishing from the shore. Works great used in a drop shot rig or even texas or wacky rigged.
Shore Fishing Techniques
Once all your tackle is packed and you have picked which shore you want to fish, then it's time to fish.
Suppose you want to hit the morning bass frenzy. Always try to arrive early. Bass love to feed in the morning before it gets too hot, especially during the summer months.
I always try to arrive at the lake by 5 am and park my truck as close as possible to the shoreline I'll be fishing.
Try to be as quiet as you move to your fishing spot. Bass are easily spooked if you make too much noise.
Way up your locations; choosing a spot with great cover will give you the best success.
Angles When Fishing From the Bank
The benefit of fishing from the bank is the angles you can achieve. In addition, you can fish in many locations that are not easily accessible from a boat.
Here are the angles and fishing techniques I use when fishing from the shore:
- Parallel to the shore - Trying to fish parallel to the shore from a boat is hard. This is the perfect time for you to take the opportunity to fish parallel to the shore. Cast your bait out about 2 to 3 feet from the edge of the shore. You don't always have to cast as far as you can to get bites. Sometimes the bass are right under your feet! I have used this technique on many occasions and have hit one after the other more times than I can remember.
- Backside of cover - Fishing from the bank allows you to reach the backside of cover, lilies, and trees. It's tough to reach these areas when on a boat, so take the opportunity to capitalize and target the bass that are hidden away. Cast your lure or bait into the hard-to-reach spots with ease from the shore and watch the bass go wild for it. Remember to fish quietly, so you do not spook or scare the fish away will help to catch more.
- Milk the same spot - Shore fishing allows you to target the same spot over and over. Fishing from a boat doesn't allow this due to the continuous drifting and moving on the water. This will allow you to find hot areas where bass are feeding well and keep catching and target them.
Your Next Shore Fishing Trip
If you haven’t tried shore fishing yet but are thinking about giving it a shot. Hopefully, this blog post offered you some tips on how best to prepare yourself before heading out onto the water!
Fishing on the bank is a great way to pass the time and enjoy nature. The best part about shore fishing is that it’s accessible to everyone.
It's a great way to get out with your family and friends and enjoy the outdoors, without having to go too far from home or spend a fortune out.
Choose the best location using google earth and ask local anglers to find your ideal locations to fish.
While you are fishing, fish can hear every step you make. So avoid spooking them by moving slowly and create as little noise as possible when on the bank.
From bait selection to angling technique, it pays off with an excellent day of bass fishing.
All the best on your next fishing trip from the shore!