Bill Dance Outdoors
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Shoreline tips, you can bank on

Posted: October 1st, 2015 by Bill Dance

Beating the banks, shoreline fishing.

Why do so many people fish the banks?

Well, one reason is obvious – that’s where they catch fish.

Of course, the percentage of time bass spend in the “shallows” (which can be a relative term, depending upon the body of water you are fishing) is relatively low. They spend more time in deeper water, yet people, “beat the banks” and fish the shoreline more than open water. This is especially true of novice or beginning anglers.

Again, why?

More than anything, I expect it’s a comfort thing. The bank or shore gives anglers a target, whereas in the open water they have to rely more on electronics (which really, shouldn’t be that big of a deal anymore with advancements literally arriving daily).

At the very least, anglers want a “target” to fish around. Of course, fish congregate around such “targets” be they standing timber, stumps, logs, points, etc. And most of this is, well, often found near the bank, especially in small lakes or ponds.

So, with fishing the banks in mind, here are a few things I want you to consider:

  • The major concept of shoreline fishing is that the configuration of the visible bank and ground behind the bank does not stop at the water’s edge. It really doesn’t matter whether you are fishing a manmade impoundment or a natural lake; the lake floor should be a continuation of the surrounding area.
  • As you cruise along the shoreline look at it closely. If you see a ridge shoulder its way across a field and bow down toward the shoreline, you can assume that it continues under the surface of the water.
  • If the bank is rocky, there should be rocks beneath the surface. If the bank is muddy, there is likely mud beneath the surface. Again, think of the bank as a continuation into the water, because more than likely it is.
  • If you are going to continuously fish the shoreline, make sure you select baits that work best in the shallows. Which baits will most often do the job required to catch fish in your area? What applications are needed?

There is absolutely nothing wrong with fishing the shoreline, especially when it’s the best time of the year to target these areas. And too, it’s a learning process, most folks start fishing shallow water, near the banks. Heck, most people start fishing FROM the shoreline. But, to grow as a fishermen, remember you have to expand your territory…get some good electronics and venture out there in the open water and experiment/learn. Fish different baits and learn how to apply them at different times of the year. You don’t have to know how to fish 50 different lures to enjoy bass fishing. But knowing different techniques will certainly help you be more successful at catching fish.

You will never be able to count on fish either being deep or shallow. Radio-tracking studies indicate there are sub-populations of fish within a given lake. Some fish do move offshore after the spawn, returning to the shallows in the fall and then back to the depths in winter—the classic pattern. But not all fish follow the same pattern.

As always, catch one for me!

Bill Dance


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