Tips for Fishing from the Bank

If you're like me you don't always have 4-8 hours to go fishing or maybe you don't have a watercraft. There is no doubt that a boat, kayak, canoe, etc. will improve your access to water and thus improve your chances of catching fish.  But no worries, if you have an hour or two you can still catch a monster bass, aka Hawgzilla, from the bank.


How to Find a Bank:  Google maps is your friend and many good bank locations can be found by doing a Google maps search.  Look for water with trails, open banks, rip rap, fallen trees, stumps, dams, docks, retaining walls, boulders, vegetation, etc...and a place to park.  After finding that special spot do a Google search and add the term fishing. Most spots will already have information posted by a friendly angler. Trust me, it's no fun to travel 30 minutes to find out the site is posted no trespassing.  So do that search. Try this post to get you started on some “new” locations: Small Ponds...that you never heard of.


What to Carry:  Use a backpack and pack light.  Keep it simple and carry only the basics: hooks, weights, pliers, scale, line cutter, camera, senko, BayBass bug, plastic worm, crankbait, spinnerbait, favorite topwater, and a jig.  Take two of each hardbait as you will lose more baits from shore. My idea is to have baits you can fish fast, to search, and slow, to focus, as well as baits to fish the top, middle, and bottom of the water column.   A medium to medium heavy rod with a 6.3:1 reel and 20 lb braid should cover many scenarios. Use a 12 lb, 3 ft, P-line CXX or Halo fluorocarbon leader as appropriate, tied with a fg knot. If you want to carry another rod then be creative with some PVC piping, rope, and an existing external pocket.  I like to fly fish for trout so I often carry a pair of lightweight cheap waders. You would be surprised how handy they are for bass fishing too!


How to Fish:  Start out covering water quickly by casting parallel and at 45 degrees to the shore using cranks, spinnerbaits, or topwater.  Move along the shoreline by walking to the end of your previous cast and repeat. Always use an erratic retrieve: speed up, slow down, stop, use short/long rips of the rod, vary depth, etc….but remember your pattern so you can repeat it if you find one that works. When you discover cover/structure slow down and use plastics or a jig to pick the structure/cover apart. When you run into other anglers give them some room but ask them if they have caught anything.  I have learned more about new water by talking with local anglers than by any other means.


Highlights from bank fishing this past week, 24-27APR18.





Good luck and tight lines,


Peter Arnold, BayBass writer