|My fishin' pal Howard with a dandy largemouth caught from|
the bank, tossing a plastic worm around weedbeds.
I like to carry two rods, each with a different purpose. That purpose and how many rods you carry of course is up to you, but I prefer to have a rod with some power to toss bigger baits, like jigs, spinnerbaits, and buzzbaits, and also a rod to finesse fish with soft plastics or lighter lures. You can adapt as needed, but for an average trip, I'll carry a six foot six inch medium heavy power fast action graphite baitcasting rod and reel combo spooled with 15 pound fluorocarbon line for my bigger lures. And, for finesse fishing, I'll bring a medium power fast action graphite spinning rod spooled with eight pound fluorocarbon line or thin diameter braided line. Of course, if you have a different pattern in mind that requires a specific application, then feel free to adapt as needed. You may opt to bring a flipping/pitching rod, or a frogging rod, or perhaps two finesse rods or power fishing rods. It's up to you, but the point is to have two rods set up with different presentations. The reason that I prefer to bring both baitcasting and spinning outfits is so that if I miss a fish on a power presentation, I can follow with a finesse presentation to catch that bass. Now, remember what I said about keeping your hands free? You can certainly move about with two rods and fish hands free, but that may involve setting a rod down or lean it up against something while you fish. That's OK, but bending over a lot wastes time, and that mean less casts and perhaps a sore back at the end of the trip. So, I've come up with my own way to be able to stand upright and have both rods available to me where I can get to them rather quickly, both rigged with different presentations. I accomplish this by having a large clip on the back loop of my fishing vest, where I can clasp the rod blank with the clip and let it dangle behind me, out of the way. You simply clip it below the guide close to your reel. You nave to be careful about casting directly overhead though, but for me, I have learned to cast from different angles anyway, for various reasons including that one. I'll get to that later.
What advantages would you have by fishing from the bank over a boat? Well, other than the obvious cost difference, there a couple things that give you the edge from shore. You don't drift, so movement of the boat is not a factor on your presentation. Plus, you spend less time controlling your boat and it's easier (in some cases) to position yourself to cast. I truly believe that this alone allows you to work a specific area more thoroughly than your average boater would, maybe resulting in bass that a boater may overlook. Obvious disadvantages are that boats can reach bassy spots that you may not be able to, either because of shoreline access problems or fishy areas away from shore. Conversely, I could argue that you could reach places that most boats may not be able to go. Another advantage is that often, you can save your cast. What do I mean by that? Well, let's assume that you're fishing a particular piece of cover, and you envision a beautiful cast beyond the cover that will run right by it resulting in a big bass. But, in reality, for many reasons, your cast is slightly off target, and if you stand there and crank it back, your lure will miss the strike zone. But, alas, all is not lost, you can "mend" your cast beyond your rod position simply by moving your feet a few feet one direction or the other, and thus your lure runs right where you want it. In a boat, you'd have to move the boat, and that's fine if you have that control (and, it's easier said than done), but what if you're in the back of the boat? Finally, back to the cheaper cost thing, you don't have to pay a lot of gas money beyond getting to the lake. And, it's easier to change locations, meaning bodies of water, because you don't have to pull the boat out. I'm not trying to say that shore fishing is better, because having a boat is the ultimate in comfort, storage, and access. Rather, I'm saying that it's probably much better than you'd ever have thought it could be. Another disadvantage is that you have to make sure that you're using lures that you can toss in heavy cover and be willing to lose, while in a boat you might have a better chance of retrieving your lure.
|Sometimes when you snag your favorite lure, you might have|
to get wet and go after it, or just break it off and hope some
kind boater, kayaker, or canoeist retrieves it for you. In this
case, I wasn't about to lose my favorite fish catching buzzer.
|Quality bass can be caught from shore on a regular basis.|
|My buddy Bill caught this chunky bass from shore|
using a Texas rigged plastic worm on light line on
while using his finesse spinning set up.
|My friend Mark McWilliams found this quality bass while|
thoroughly working a likely fish holding spot from shore.
During winter months, waders allow you more insulation and protection from the elements, and serve the same purpose from shore as any other time allowing you access that you might not otherwise have. Look for similar situations diagrammed above except work the deeper areas around those spots if they are available, especially off points and the outside edges of coves. If spring is approaching, big bass will stage nearby prior to the spawn. On those "Indian summer" days when winds push warmer waters into the backs of coves, or across a point, shallow water next to deep in these situations could yield good numbers of bass on the feed. I've found that the first warm day may not be productive, but if you have two or three warm days in a row, the bite could really be hot. Use bigger baits in the spring because they best match the forage, and you'll have a good chance of catching a huge fat sow of a bass. I really like a tandem white 1/2 or 3/4 ounce spinnerbait with a large blade, up to size seven, and a white plastic worm or grub trailer to give it a big profile, to tempt a big female largemouth to strike. These same areas will also hold bass in the summer, except they are more active. Think deep, like 10-15 feet or more, and you'll find bass. Larger baits again work well in the summer, because they offer a big meal and sometimes you'll get that good reaction bite. Don't be afraid to throw a topwater over deep water. A Zara Spook or other walking plug can be deadly across a point, and big bass will attack from deep water and explode on your lure especially if the water is clear.
|Howard shows off the rewards of finding bass in the shallows|
during the hot summer months by fishing at night from shore.
Small ponds on public or private land (make sure you ask permission before fishing), provide some of the best fishing available, and in many cases these waters are underfished. As a result, many state records or citation fish are caught from private ponds. Shore angling isn't the only way to take advantage of these small waters, but it certainly is an option in many cases.
One more thing, there are times when you may only have a half day or a few hours to fish, and often shore fishing provides you the most time efficient way to fish. There are many folks that take their lunch hour at work and fish nearby waters from shore for bass (I'm not that lucky). But in my case, if I have only a few hours, I can grab my gear and go, and I'm on the water in no time catching bass. In one of my earlier posts about finding good smallmouth wading spots, I mentioned using maps or internet satellite maps to find good potential spots to fish. You can also find good spots along lakes or ponds this way. So, find a good lake, find a good potential spot with good access, grab some gear, keep your hands free and stay mobile, and you'll catch more and bigger bass.
For more info on shore angling, make sure that you check out Bass Junkies Fishing Addiction blog post titled, "Shore Angling, Anywhere Anytime", just CLICK HERE