Sunday, February 5th, 2023
Sunday, February 5th, 2023

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Sportsmen Since 1967

Simple summer fishing? Take it to the bank

(Photo by Rob Drieslein)

By Steve Sarley

Contributing Writer

I’ve written about bank fishing quite a bit so far this season and I’m not ready to stop yet.

One of the things I like best about bank fishing is that you can accomplish it easily and quickly. You don’t have to put aside a whole day to do a little bank fishing, a couple of hours usually does the trick for me.

I like to hit the banks early, when the sun is just climbing over the horizon. I am usually done no later than 11 a.m. when the sun begins to bake my pale skin. I don’t mind fishing all day but I want to be out there when the fish are most active. Remember that I am talking about shore fishing, not boating, in which I can hunt for suspended fish that are located far from shore or they are cruising on rock piles that I cannot reach with a cast from the shoreline.

Yes, morning is a great time to bank fish, but my favorite time is from just after dinner until dark. I think this is the period of daylight in which the fish are the most active. I’ve never done any fishing after dark, to be honest. I’m afraid that I’d trip over something or fall in a hole and be out there all night moaning from the pain a broken bone caused me.

What I do is to pick the body of water I want to attack and then go there, armed with a single rod and a fanny pack with a couple of lures. I approach the water in a way that does not scare the fish. If you pay attention to the water, you’ll see that the vibrations of your footsteps will shoo the fish away from the shoreline. That is not a good thing.

I don’t walk straight down to the bank. I approach the shoreline from a diagonal angle and I walk as stealthily as I can with my extra-large-sized body. When I wish to change spots, I don’t just walk along the shore, I will walk away from the shoreline and then move to the left or right and then back down again. I want to spend as little time clomping on the ground nearest the shoreline as possible. It’s a lot more work but it truly pays off.

I use a long rod, usually seven-feet long, in order to make longer casts. Longer casts tend to spook the fish much less than short casts do. Light line is a plus and makes it easier to make long casts.

So, where am I targeting my casts toward? I cast as closely as I can to the shoreline as possible. Either right or left, it doesn’t matter. I really like to put those casts about twelve inches from the shore. In lower-light conditions, the game fish will actually push up that closely to the banks in order to chase the baitfish. 

I’ll toss a couple of casts tight to shore and if I see no interest from the fish, Ill make the next couple of casts a few feet further from the shore. No interest again? I’’ll cast out to a little deeper water again. If I’m not generating any activity now, it’s time for me to move on. Under no circumstances am I going to throw my bait straight out in front of me at the deeper water. The fish are just not there.

I’ve been fishing at ponds and catching fish while other anglers aren’t catching anything. They’ll walk over to me and ask what bait I am using because they think that is the secret. I tell them that I am watching them and they are wasting their efforts by casting into deeper water. They usually walk away shaking their heads and not believing I word I have told them. Sorry, guys, I’m not lying. Watch me, it works.

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