Shore fishing for bass can be quite challenging. Here are a few suggestions to help you catch as many–and sometimes more than–the dudes in the bass boat. There are some distinct advantages to shore fishing for bass. Hopefully these advantages outlined in this post will help you start “Kraken” bass from the banks.
Shore Fishing for Bass
There are three main advantages you have when shore fishing for bass that you don’t get from a boat. The first is fishing from shore puts you right on top of the fish sitting along the banks. Second, the wind, waves, and current don’t move you around when you are on the shore like it does when in a boat. The other important advantage is the unique casting angles you can create from the bank.
You can typically find bass shallow all year round because there is usually baitfish and other forage hiding in the rocks and cover along the banks. This is a great advantage when fishing from shore because you are able to sneak up right to where the bass like to feed. It’s important you stand back a little from the bank, so you don’t spoke them off. Make casts to where they could be holding before you walk down next to the water. There is nothing more exciting than watching a bass eat your bait right under your feet.
Boats can float around a lot, distracting fisherman from what is going on with their lines. This is one less worry to have when shore fishing for bass. You have the ability when fishing from shore to make casts parallel to the shore and walk your bait an inch off the bank. Plus, you don’t have to worry about floating off a spot that is holding fish when you have two feet planted firmly on the ground.
The angles for casting that you have from shore makes it easier to cast to the backside of cover. Hitting the back side of a tree sitting out off the bank can be hard to do from a boat. Also, you maintain better contact with the bottom when you drag your baits up from deep to shallow. It reduces the pendulum effects from your rod and line and swings your baits into the bank instead of away from it. Here are some further suggestions to help use these advantages and catch more bass from the shore.
What to use Shore Fishing for Bass.
You need a few key ingredients to fish successfully from the shore. First, is a good backpack to fill up with your fishing gear and a couple reputable rod and reel set ups for adequate casting. You’ll also need a small arsenal of baits you have confidence will catch fish.
A good backpack for your fishing gear is essential. You never know what you will need. Having your gear handy and mobile as you discover what the bass want makes it easy to switch out baits. There is one made by bass pro called the Extreme Qualifier. It is what I’ve used and haven’t turned back since. Whatever bag you use, fill it up to the brim with some of the following must-haves for shore fishing. Important pieces of equipment which often get overlooked for shore fishing are: pliers, scissors, extra line, scent, weigh scale, sunscreen, and do not forget the bug spray!
Using two different, versatile rod and reel set ups can help you catch bass from the bank. You need a good baitcasting rod and reel for fishing bigger baits. Plus, a good spinning rod and reel for finesse lighter baits. The most important factor when choosing a rod and reel for shore fishing is it’s ability to cast. The further and more accurate you can cast, the better. If the bass are out deep, you can bomb a bait out to them. If they are holding tight to cover along the bank, you can cast right to them from a considerable distance. You want to make casts far enough away so you don’t spook the fish by stepping next to them on the bank. Here is a link to a post I wrote of two essential rod and reel set ups I’ve found to work well for shore fishing: (Rod & Reel Set-ups).
A good arsenal of baits you know will catch bass is obviously a must for being successful from the shore. The 80/20 rule in business applies perfectly for bass fishing especially when selecting your baits to use from shore. The 80/20 rule is simply this: Eighty percent of your business comes from twenty percent of your clients. This rule for bass fishing holds true when selecting your baits for shore fishing. We all know those top 20% of baits in our gear that have caught 80% percent of our fish. Here are a few suggestions of some of the top 20% baits in my box, and how they lend themselves well to shore fishing.
Megabass Dog-X Jr.
Especially in summer, a solid topwater bait like the Megabass Dog-x Jr will catch bass from the shore all the time. Once the water temperature hits 65 degrees, pull out a topwater bait like this in the early morning or late evening to smack some beasts. Use a natural color like ayu. Natural colors will work on any body of water and in any water clarity. The Megabass Dog-x Jr. is a great bait you can throw with confidence from the shore.
Jackall Cross Tail Shad
The Jackall Cross Tail Shad is a staple for shore fishing for bass because it works. Throw it on a light finesse drop shot rig. Fishing from shore poses problems for potentially more hang ups because you are typically dragging baits uphill. One way to help prevent too many lost rigs is to use lighter weights like a 1/8 oz. or even lighter for your drop shot rig. Also, a good hook is an essential. Use a 1/0 gamakatsu drop shot/split shot hook and you will hook up every time a fish bites. Bomb this set up out to the deep water you can access from the shore and you will definitely get some bites.
The Yamamoto Senko catches bass all the time. It’s definitely one of those top 20% baits in my tackle box. It’s a great bait for shore fishing because it is a subtle presentation bass love. When shore fishing I like to use a senko’s weightless and rig them up wacky style. Use some small rubber O- rings, and put one in the middle of your senko. Place a nice size 1 finesse wide gap gamakatsu hook through the rubber ring on you bait, and chuck it out there. Cast it out to where those bass may be holding, letting it fall on a slack line. Then, pop it up a couple times and let it fall back down. Watch your line close because those bass will gobble it up and start swimming with it. Some great colors you can through with confidence for senkos are green pumpkin, baby bass, and natural shad.
A green pumpkin 3.5 inch tube is a rock solid bait for catching bass from the bank. Warning, these baits do hang up, so make sure you have plenty in your box to keep you catching bass. One way to prevent as many hang ups is to fish your tube on a stupid rig with a light 1/8 oz. weight. This is the best way I’ve found to fish tubes. The stupid rig keeps your tube looking natural and gives it some weedlessness to help prevent snagging and losing your bait. To use a tube, throw it out along the bank and hop it along the bottom. Experiment with retrieves and watch your line close because bass will eat these babies up.
Finding What Shores Produce Fish.
The key for being successful when shore fishing for bass is to understand basic bass behavior during different times of year. You can find shorelines on Google Earth to match the type of structure or places fish tend to frequent in each season of the year. If you are using one of the top 20% fish catching baits in your tackle box, you can walk along the shore with confidence knowing its more about finding the bass than what you are using. Here is a quick rule of thumb guide for each season to help you know what banks to look for if you are fishing from the shore.
The bass are geared to spawn in the spring. They are typically moving shallow and can be found along shorelines with a hard bottom. Plus, they usually are tucked tight to the cover. Look for shorelines in the backs of pockets or coves with some gravel and some cover. Also look for nice gravel flats with cover. Walk those banks to find bass from the shore in the spring. Since the bass are typically shallow this time of year, it’s important you don’t walk on them and spook them off. Stand back from the shoreline and make casts to the rocks, stumps, or brush you see along the shore. The bass oftentimes hang out in the shallow in the spring when the water temperatures hit 58 degrees.
When the water temperature gets into the 67 to 68 degree mark, you can count on the bass starting to move into summer patterns. Bass like to go one of two places in the summer; you need to find banks where you can access these spots. Bass go to shade and shallow vegetation. They don’t like the blazing sun, so they tuck under stuff to ambush prey. Bass will also go deep to find cooler water. Look for banks with deep water drop offs, and places you can access those deep water bass from the shore. Bass will move from the deep water into shallow water to feed in the early morning or late evening. This is a perfect time when shore fishing for bass to use a topwater and cover a lot of water. You can catch some toads moving in shallow to feed on bluegills and crawdads in the summer low light hours on topwaters like a megabass dog x.
In the fall, the rule of thumb is this: find the bait, find the bass. Shorelines holding bait and forage in the fall is where you want to be. Money spots are inlets where current is flowing into the lake. Baitfish like to congregate in the backs of coves where creeks and freshwater come into the lake this time of year. Find these current areas you can access from the shore and you will find your bass. Fall is a great time for shore fishing because bass will move in shallow to feed on bluegill and cray fish in these areas. Also remember, in the late fall, to look for the warmest water along the shore. You can usually find a couple bass. Bass will lay along the rocks, milking out as much heat as they can before it snaps off cold. Here is a post on late fall fishing to help you locate bass from the shore: (Late fall Bass Fishing).
Bass move deep and get pretty sluggish in the winter, but you can occasionally pick off a few from the shore. Look for rip rap banks that hold a little heat. Also, those deep water drop offs you can cast to from the bank might hold a bass. A drop shot rig fished with a lot of patience in these areas can catch bass. You might not catch a ton of bass from the bank in the winter, but it sure beats sitting in your house. You never know what you can find.
Know the Angles to Catch Bass on the Bank
You can present your bait differently when shore fishing than you can from a boat. What I mean by different is you have angles to bring baits along cover and structure that bass don’t see typically with a lot of boat fishing pressure. I’ve had some phenomenal days from the shore, watching boats float by without catching a bass. Here are three angles boat fisherman can’t do that you can while shore fishing to increase your odds for catching bass.
I don’t know how many times from the boat I’ve pulled fish from the backside of cover that would have been way easier to access from the bank. When I say backside of cover, what I’m talking about is the side of the cover facing the bank. Usually its a rock, brush, or stump that sits out in the water off of the shore. Boats will oftentimes fish the front and sides of the cover, but if you are shore fishing the prime backside is there for you to enjoy. Take advantage of those backside angles to catch a bass.
Parallel the Shore:
Boats have a hard time making perfect parallel casts along the shoreline. When you are standing on the bank shore fishing, it is easy to do. While on the bank, chuck your bait out about 1 to 2 feet from along the edge of the shore in front of you. This is prime real estate the bass love to frequent. A lot of shore fishermen get hung up trying to throw baits out as deep as they can, but the real money is found right at your feet. Make parallel casts bringing your bait along the edge of the bank, cover water until you find them. Making parallel casts along the bank when shore fishing will get you “Kraken” them and help you cover more water.
Milking the Spot:
Standing in one spot is a great advantage you have from shore you don’t have from the boat. It is easier because the bank isn’t drifting anywhere while you are standing on it. A boat drifts, especially on windy days. Boats float by areas and oftentimes leave spots holding fish before they catch one. If you are on a shoreline with all the key ingredients you are looking for, milk it for all it is worth. Throw 3 or 4 different baits and make several casts to the same piece of cover or area. You will be blown away–when you get the right presentation going–how many bass you can catch from one place. In addition, if they stop biting switch your bait again to a different color and you will probably smack a few more. I love milking areas for bass.
My Recent Success from Shore Fishing
I’ve been using these tips mentioned above, and have been finding great success shore fishing recently. Here are some of the places I’ve gone, and some of the bass I’ve “Kraked” in the month of July fishing the banks. Plus, here are maps of the shorelines I fished on these places to hopefully help you find some yourself.
Lake Lowell Fishing:
I stopped at Lake Lowell on the evening of July 14th, 2015 for a few hours and caught a couple bass. Nothing really big, but I had several swings and misses on the Jackall Iobee Frog. Plus, I caught one under a dock on a tube. Here is a picture of one of them, and the map of the shoreline I fished to catch them on Lake Lowell.
Flaming Gorge Fishing:
Early on the morning of July 18th, I fished from the banks of flaming gorge. It was before I headed out on the boat with the family for some wake boarding. While fishing from shore on Flaming Gorge, an awesome beast of a smallmouth bass hammered my topwater bait the Megabass Dog-X Jr. I had a couple other strikes I missed, but they didn’t look like they were nearly as big as this dude. It was a fun battle. Here is a picture of the bass, and a map of the spots I fished on Flaming Gorge Reservoir from the bank.
Oquirrh Lake Fishing:
Several people have told me about this lake, pond, or whatever you want to call it. Oquirrh lake sits in the middle of the suburb of daybreak in the Salt Lake City area. I’ve had a few good mornings and evenings out cruising the banks shore fishing for bass on this place. Here are some pictures of a couple of solid bass I’ve caught out of Oquirrh lake, including one my friend Leo caught. He’d never caught a bass before and was pretty stoked to rip a few with me at Oquirrh lake one evening. The two best baits on my trips out here were the Megabass Dog-x Jr and the Megabass Pop X. These are some of the best topwaters made and you will find out why when you throw them–they catch bass.
Shore Fishing for Bass Video:
I put together this little clip of me doing some shore fishing for bass on Oquirrh Lake. It’s a little clip of some live action bass fishing to give you an idea of how awesome shore fishing can be. Hopefully this gets you stoked to get out on the banks and catch some bass. It doesn’t matter what time of year it is, you can always catch bass from the shore if you know where to go.
I really appreciate all your support. My goal is to make bass fishing easier, and fun for everyone because it such a fun species of fish to pursue. Please share this post with your friends who like to fish to help them out as well. The links in this post are affiliate links were you can pick up baits, rod’s, reels, line, and everything else you would need to “Krak” some bass from shore. Krakenbass receives a small percentage of the sales through these links. I only use links to baits, and gear I have personally used and know work. I put these links up to make them helpful for you, not for the small amount I make for the sale of the products. I hope these products can help you “Krak” some bass! Thank you for your support. Now all that is left is for you to get out and start “Kraken” bass!
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PSS… as always, I love to hear your thoughts about things you have done to be successful when shore fishing for bass. Please leave a comment below.
I just got back from oquirrh lake… i didnt even get a bite. Is there anything i can do to try and catch these bass? I also tried at salem pond this week and have not been able to even get a bite let alone unleash the”kraken” . Any thoughts you might have? I am frustrated because i have never caught a largemouth before…
That does sound frustrating. What were you using, and how were you fishing it? Largemouth bass are quite a challenge. It’s what makes them fun. Don’t give up. You’ll get one!
Thanks for getring back to me. We were using the spro frog. Also a little crank bait silver, and then in the afternoon we used a shim e stick green pumpkin and texas rigged it… we even saw the bass swimming but just couldnt get them to bite. Any suggestions?
Try using a drop shot rig. The grass is super thick so those texas rigged baits often disappear. Use a roboworm, or the jackall flick shake worm. They are great baits. The water is super clear, so green pumpkin is my color of choice. Also, don’t get locked into one spot. Make a cast, if you don’t get bit move down the shore 15 yards and make another cast. Good luck man!
I would like you to come to lake weir in ocklawaha Florida we have bass in excess of 12 to 14 lbs and always catching bass but fishing has slowed down a bit about the last two years not many guys getting the big ones I can catch smaller ones all day but can’t locate the big ones people say the lake is fished out I don’t believe it maybe they have moved to spots I can’t get my 20 foot deep v bow rider in as I can’t go less than about three and half feet of water any suggestions? Lake water is stained with sand bottom and plenty of weeds fluke minnows work the best but lately not working to well
Look for the points where there is current. Like where the wind would blow into them. Try a weedless swimbait right a long the bottom to keep you bait clean and deep. They really relate to current this time of year. Hope that helps!