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A kayak can be useful when it comes to bass fishing but the good news is it’s not always essential. There are plenty of lakes, rivers and ponds where you can fish from the bank and keep your feet on (mostly) dry land. Plus, it can be less expensive than taking a boat out.
What Gear Do You Need To Get Started?
Rod And Reel
When you’re fishing from the shoreline you will probably want to have a minimum amount of gear because whenever you move to a new spot, you’re going to have to lug it all with you.
A medium power fast action spinning rod can be a good all-round rod, being able to work with a range of lures and various presentations.
When it comes to choosing a reel that can handle most bass presentations, a 3000 size reel can be a good option as this is usually an in between size. It can also be a good idea to stick to a medium speed when it comes to gear ratios, as this can offer you more versatility than either a fast or slow retrieval speed, so somewhere around a 5:1 might be useful.
It can be helpful to have a variety of lures with you when you’re fishing from the shore, as you never know what might work. But you don’t want to overdo it by having way too many. A good selection to cover all your techniques can be a good idea.
These can include spinnerbaits, crankbaits, topwater lures, finesse lures and soft plastic. Ideally, your selection should have one of each type so you can easily cover all your bases.
Four Seasons For Bass Shore Fishing
Spring can be one of the best times for bass fishing from the shore, as this is often when bass move into the shallows, and closer to the bank, to feed and spawn. Areas such as the backs of creeks or the migration channels the bass use to get there, can be good places to target and may even be easier to access than if you were on a boat.
Video: Spring Bank Fishing: Catching BIG Bass!
During the pre-spawn, when bass are actively feeding to prepare for the spawn, it can be a good idea to use faster presentations, such as with topwater lures, swimbaits, medium-diving crankbaits and spinnerbaits.
During the summer, you may need to change up your tactics, especially if the weather is particularly hot. So you may find it more comfortable to fish during the early mornings or evenings.
However, if you live anywhere where there are alligators or dangerous snakes, you may want to be extra vigilant or even avoid fishing from dusk to dawn. These animals are generally active all year long no matter what time of day it is, so they can still pose a threat in daylight whether it’s summer or not.
Topwater lures, such as frogs, can be useful during the summer, as this is often when vegetation is at its thickest, providing cover for bass and a natural habitat for real frogs.
Boat ramps and rocky banks can be good locations to target, as baitfish can often be found feeding on the algae that grows on the concrete and rocks.
Fall can be another good time for bass fishing from the banks, as they will often be actively feeding in preparation for the winter when there may be less food available. Baitfish may move into the backs of creeks during the fall and you will often find bass hunting them down in these locations, so faster presentations can be useful.
Swimbaits, spinnerbaits, lipless crankbaits and topwater lures can be effective during the fall. Because the fall is generally a transition period for bass knowing where to find them can sometimes be difficult, so it can be a good idea to have a variety of lures with you so you can fish at a range of depths. A key thing to look for is the baitfish, as bass will usually be nearby.
Winter Bass Fishing From The Shore
Catching bass from the shore in winter can be a little tricky, but bright, sunny days when there’s not much wind can be the best time, as this can be when the water is slightly warmer. It can also be a good idea to slow down your presentation, as winter is generally not an active time for bass, so they can be less likely to chase down bait.
Finesse baits and slow moving presentations may be your best bet for catching bass in the winter, with jigs, drop shot rigs and spoons being ideal lures for this time of year. Texas rigged soft plastics can also be useful for fishing around a brush pile.
7 Tips & Tricks To Catch More Bass From The Bank
1. Don’t Take All Your Gear
When you’re fishing from the shore, remember that you will likely be walking from spot to spot. This means you will have to carry all your gear every time you move. A backpack can be handy for holding your tackle, or even a fishing vest but you probably don’t want to take your entire fishing gear with you.
Consider the time of year and where the bass are likely to be, as this should help you streamline your gear to the techniques you might want to try. Lightweight, minimal gear can be useful if you might have to walk a couple of miles before you reach your honey hole. Remember, you might also want to pack a lunch if you plan to be out all day.
2. Locate The Baitfish
This may be easier said than done, especially if you’re fishing from the banks of a large lake. But sometimes you can spot schools of baitfish as you walk around the lake. This can be a good indication that there might be bass close by.
Scoping out the body of water before you settle down to a particular spot could help you catch more bass and stop you from wasting time fishing where there’s no fish.
3. Dress For The Weather
It can be important to prepare adequately for the weather, no matter what season it is. When it’s hot, sun protection and plenty of water can be essential, as don’t forget the bug spray. In the winter, you may need extra layers of clothing since you will likely be standing for long periods of time.
4. Look For Cover
No matter what time of year it is, bass will often look for cover for shelter and to prey on baitfish. The type of cover will usually vary depending on the body of water, but submerged trees, vegetation and rocks can be good spots to target. Boat docks, piers and other types of structure can also provide shelter and cover for bass.
Video: How to Quickly Find Bass on New Water
5. Try Parallel Casting
This might not be the easiest thing to do when you’re standing at the edge of the water but it can let you target the shallows that are alongside the shore.
Casting parallel to the shore, rather than straight out into the lake, can let you slowly work your lure in these shallow zones that might be holding bass and lets you keep it in those zones for longer.
6. Watch Out For Wildlife
Depending on where you fish, you may find there are other things to deal with in addition to bugs and bass. Alligators are often a common sight in waters in Florida and Southern states. But they are also often lurking where you can’t immediately see them, which can make trudging along the water’s edge pretty dangerous.
While alligators will probably high tail it into the water when you come crunching along, there is still the risk of one snapping its jaws onto your next catch. It’s best to avoid thick vegetation near the shore and maintain a distance of at least 60 feet away from an alligator if you see one.
In some areas, bears may also pose a threat if you’re fishing from the shore, and if one attempts to come near you while you’re reeling in your catch, it’s recommended that you cut the line and let the fish go (I don’t think you need us to tell you that!), and don’t leave any fish remains at the water’s edge.
7. Stay Back From The Water
Keeping a bit of distance between you and the water can be useful in areas where the bass may be easily spooked. This can give you a better shot at not being seen or suspected by the fish, either by your shadow or noise.
Once you’ve scoped out those zones, you may want to move a little closer to target areas away from where you’re standing.
Gone Fishin’ (Conclusion)
Catching bass from the shore can be fun and inexpensive. Plus, it can let you target certain areas that may not be within the reach of a bass boat. Remember though, you may want to take lighter, more multi-purpose gear with you so that it’s easier to haul from place to place when you’re looking for bass.
Do you have a favorite set-up for shore fishing for bass? Tell us about it in the comments. Maybe your buddies need some help? Share these tips with them.