Bank fishing for bass is a way of life for many. It is full of rewards but can be filled with frustration. These simple secrets will help you unlock the joy of bank fishing. We have used these tips and tactics to dominate the bank when others can’t get a bite.
Your Feet are Your Trolling Motor
I start with the most difficult one for me to follow. It goes without saying, I love fishing. When I am out, I can stand in one place and start switching through baits lost in the birds, the sun, and the sound of the water at my feet. This is a great way to miss out on an excellent bite.
On a recent trip, I did this. I wanted the big fish to be biting on a point that has a steep drop off to deeper water. This made sense because it was a day that was supposed to top out in the triple digits. I tried and tried but after an hour and a half, I realized I needed to move. Within two minutes I had my first fish and knew where to quickly catch five more. The fish weren’t looking for deeper water. They were looked for the shady side of grass in wind-blown coves.
There are days where dogging it out in one place for a mondo can pay off. However, 9 times out of 10 you will catch more fish moving. Think of it this way. If you have ever been fishing in a boat, you know that trolling motor is your friend. You see a stick-up and you cast to it. A couple of times and no takers? Your eyes are up looking for the next piece of structure.
Use this strategy on the bank. Keep your eyes up and your head in the game. This brings us to another important boat vs. bank-related secret.
Bank Fishing for Bass Gives you Opportunities a Boat Can’t Match
Rather than feeling limited because you can’t motor across the water, recognize the inherent advantages of the angles and position of bank fishermen. A couple of points to remember.
- Fish the cover closest to you first. Approach the water believing that the biggest bass of the day might be in the bush right off the bank. Use stealth, make your first cast before you get to the water’s edge. Land your bait softly. Remember, a boat fisherman is trying to cast as close to the cover 5 feet in front of you as they can. Why? Because that is where the fish are. Nevertheless, most bank fishermen will be casting at a 90 degree angle to try and get as deep as they can. This rarely means more bites. Don’t get caught up casting out as far as you can.
- You should fish parallel to the bank. The best sticks in a boat will be casting parallel to the bank once they find the right depth. Your position gives you an opportunity to do this effectively at a slightly different angle. This can help you coax the biggest fish into biting.
Don’t Carry too Much Gear
One key to keeping moving is carrying as little as you can. There was a time I would show up to the bank like I was loading my boat. Five rods ready to go! In addition to that, I would also be trying to lug a tackle box or two.
Years of bank fishing have taught me: two rods and a backpack tackle bag or one with a shoulder strap at maximum. If the conditions are right, I put two bags of soft-plastics in my back pocket and leave the tackle bag. I do this because picking up everything and moving is a pain. Who wants to do that?
Once I limit my equipment, I move more. When I turn on the trolling motor of my feet, I catch more bass. Who doesn’t want to do that?
Seasonal Considerations of Bank Fishing for Bass
In most bodies of water, spring brings the bass near the bank for the spawn. In fall, the baitfish move shallow and the bass follow. This means presentation choices become key at these times of the year. However, bank fishing during summer and winter can be especially tough. During both seasons, bass usually move from the shallows to the deeper channels and break lines. However, two basic considerations can help you locate bass near the bank.
There are professional fishermen who often say, “Some bass will be shallow year-round.” We have found that to be true as well. By observing one simple weather pattern: the wind!
During winter, your best days will be on the north shore or the calm side of the lake. Why?
- The sun is hitting the north bank more directly. This heats up rip-rap and gravel banks. The warmer water temps in the winter are a draw for bait fish and bass.
- The cold north wind will push colder water to the south bank. This reverses the pattern we see…
During summer, fish the wind-blown side of the lake. As frustrating as this can be, the waves created stir up silt, crustaceans, and plankton; all of which baitfish feed on. As baitfish activity increases, bass will move through on the prowl for an easy meal.
Summer-time Windy Day Power Tip
Remember, as a bank fisherman your presentation is different than the boaters. For this reason, you can get bites boaters will miss.
When the wind is blowing in your face it can create a natural drift of the bait towards the bank. If you have watched the pros, they will feed line out of their reel after making a cast. They do this to help create a more natural fall from their position in the boat. When fishing soft plastics from the bank, the wind and waves can push your bait into the outside edge of grass lines. This is the way baitfish will approach the shallows and this is the direction bass will be facing while waiting in ambush for their meal to arrive.
Cast beyond grass and then let a stick bait rigged weightless to drift into the outside edge. When using this technique, it is important to keep your rod tip high after setting the hook. Otherwise, the bass can bury in the grass and pull free from the hook.
Bank Fishing for Bass is Best with a Search Bait and a Follow-up Bait
After adopting these basic principles, there is one critical question left. If I take two rods, what two baits should I tie on? 15 years of bank fishing have taught me thePerfectCombo: (1) a search bait (2) a follow-up soft plastic.
Search baits include chatterbait, spinnerbait, topwater, crankbaits, ned-rigs, jerkbaits, swimbaits, and swim jigs.
Follow-up baits will be: Texas-rigged soft plastics, jigs, ned-rigs (yes, both search and follow-up), and stick baits.
For more on how we find thePerfectCombo and select our bank fishing bass baits, check out this article (coming soon).
Bank Fishing for Bass | One Last Cast
Whether you are fishing a farm or community pond or an area lake; these tips will help you catch more fish. We would love to know what tips you would add to this list and we thank you for stopping by. Until next time tight lines and fin times! We hope to see you out on the bank searching for thePerfectCombo.