In my barn, there’s a motorboat, a raft, a canoe and three kayaks. To say I enjoy spending time on the water would be an understatement. Yet, there are times when a lawn chair or blanket spread on the shore of a lake or river is all one needs to thoroughly enjoy a little fishing.
Fishing from the shore, often referred to as “bank fishing,” is where many anglers get their start. Little children armed with snoopy poles try with all their might to cast a simple rig of hook, bobber and sinker baited with a worm to whatever species of fish will bite. Bank fishing can be much more intense, though. Anglers of all skill levels utilize bank fishing to pursue their fish of choice.
Listing all the ways to fish from the bank would be as difficult as listing all the places one could do so. Yet, a few tried and true favorite methods for a few favorite species of fish stand out above the crowd.
Bluegill are spawning now. Fishing for bluegill is favorite of bank fishermen because this schooling species—fish that often live together in large numbers—of panfish are often found holding near structure that is close to shore. Fishing from the bank with bobbers and live bait for bluegill may be a great way to get a child or new fisherman hooked on the sport because this particular method of fishing can be action packed. Once you entice one bluegill to bite, the chances are more will be caught from the same area using the same methods.
Catfish are another bank fishing favorite. Since catfish cruise for food, a favorite tactic for catfishing is to cast an offering from the bank, then let it settle on the bottom. Catfish eat a variety of food, including nightcrawlers, bait fish, shrimp, liver, and more. Scent is an important aspect of catfishing because these fish rely heavily on their powerful sense of smell to locate food. Catfish can be found in many areas of lakes and rivers. They often hang near drop-offs and deep holes, so fishing near a bridge is one favorite method of locating cats.
Knowing where to fish from the bank is as important as knowing how to fish from the bank. Missouri fishermen are fortunate to have countless locations from which to pursue fish from public shores. City, county, and state parks all offer public access, as do many conservation areas. Lakes and ponds are probably the most popular bodies of water for bank fishing, but don’t overlook rivers, creeks and streams. They can provide exceptional bank fishing opportunities as well. Many people feel fishing from a boat is going to produce more or better fish than fishing from the bank. This myth is disproved each day from banks across our state. At certain times of the year, most species of fish are attracted to the shoreline of the water they live in. With a little practice and some exploration you can develop methods and discover locations to experience excellent fishing from the bank.