There are some key things to remember about bass fishing from shore regardless of whether you will be bait fishing or fishing artificials of some kind. Once we have discussed these keys, we will discuss some of the methods of fishing from a good location.
Just like fishing for bass from a boat, they first and foremost matter is to key on areas that hold bass during the time you will be fishing. Bass are found in different locations throughout the season, and you will have to adjust your tactics accordingly. Also, if you are fishing a public area that receives a fair amount of fishing pressure, no matter how great the structure is, the bass may be driven off the area from over-fishing. Keep this in mind as we discuss some of the areas to look for when shore fishing for bass. If you are in one of those public areas, consider skipping over the easy to access spots that look great, and be willing to beat through some brush to get to the less accessible spots that could be holding bass.
Know where the bass will be depending on the season. Bass spend time in the Spring on spawning beds. In this author’s opinion, if you do choose to fish these beds, spawning sized bass should be returned immediately and unharmed. In this author’s opinion, bass on spawning beds should not be targeted with baits as the mortality rate is much higher than with artificial baits. After the bass are finished spawning, there will be a short time where they will move off their beds and rest. The shore fisherman is at an immense disadvantage here for a time. Shortly, they will return to areas where they can be caught by shore fishermen.
Once the bass return to shallower waters and return to their normal activities, the shore bass fisherman is back in business. Look for weed beds. The best option is in a corner of a pond or lake where you can stand across the corner and cast to the outer edge of the weed-bed. If you are fishing heavy line and weedless, like a texas rigged rubber worm, you can even cast directly into the weed bed. If weedbeds are not an option, try casting from shore at approximately a 30 degree angle to the shore. The idea is you are coming as close to fishing parallel to shore as possible while still covering some water in the 10-30 foot depth range.
Fishing these areas, use plastics, crankbaits, jigs, top waters, or other traditional bass rigs. Adjust depths, sizes, and colors until you find something that is working. As Summer proceeds, concentrate on morning and evening feeding hours. Fish can be caught in the heat of the day, but the fishing will be slower.
Bait fishing for bass from shore can also be quite effective. The traditional baits are worms, crawdads, minnows, and occasionally crickets. Also, where legal, live bluegill fished under a large float can be a killer bait. There is nothing that draws the attention of a big bass than an injured prey fish. We have caught numerous 5+ pound largemouth bass using this strategy. Typically, the bass will bring the float under once or more momentarily before truly taking care of business, When he does it will be under for at least two seconds. This is when the hook should be set with authority.
So, whether you have a boat or not, fishing from shore can be a lot of fun. Try these tips and you will be in the fish.