If you are anything like me, you don’t own a boat. This is a normal aggravation for many of us shore anglers. It’s such an aggravation for me that I listen to Chris Jansen’s “Buy Me a Boat” every day I head to the lake. Shore fishing for the boatless angler can be difficult, but boats are not needed to catch trophies. Does it make it easier? Yes, but I have caught my fair share of keepers, and it is easier than you think.

Nobody Likes a Surprise

Bald Eagle grabbing a trout with no shore fishing in sight.
Fish don’t enjoy surprises, even from Freedom.

This holds true for fish too. No predatory fish wants to be sitting shallow, feeding or just getting some sun, and then see a tall figure quickly show up behind it and start making funky moves with its arms. Instead of just running up to the water when shore fishing at your home pond or lake, sit back a second.

Polarized sunglasses will help more with finding fish in shallower, clearer water; at least they will help you find places where fish might be. What I like to do is either walk a bit further away from the water’s edge and locate any structures, or fish habitats, or walk on the bank and look ahead of me into the water to try and catch a shallow fish off guard. Polarized sunglasses help cut out glare from the sun reflecting on the surface of the water, and you can actually see fish clear as day.

Change Spots While Shore Fishing

Holding a bass caught while shore fishing
Fishing from shore still provides plenty of biting fish, especially around docks.

Unless the bite is hot at one spot, don’t be afraid to move to a new one. I’ve sat, many a few hours, waiting in my favorite spot for a bite just to leave in frustration. Why didn’t I get a bite? Why didn’t I even see a fish? The simple answer is the fish just weren’t there. So instead of sulking on your way back to the truck, take a walk around the pond and cast as you move. Or jump in the truck and find a new spot.

I like to have two or three spots that I absolutely have to hit no matter what the conditions are. These spots are typical fishing spots; docks, and visible objects like submerged logs or boulders. I let the conditions determine which spot to start at; then I look for secondary spots to hit that are also condition dependent. Examples of these are windswept coves where bait fish are most likely pushed into and creeks. Finally, I cast while walking in-between primary and secondary spots and occasionally stop in places that piqued my curiosity.

Travel Light, Know Your Knots

I don’t care who you are; you are not going to walk around the bank of a pond with 15 rods with 15 different lures attached “just in case.” Travel light when walking around the lake or pond. I bring two fishing rods with me when I go to the local park, and I bring my Plano tackle box that has four containers in it. In those containers, I have all of the lures I use most often, plus some other experimental lures and baits. Most of the time, I only actually bring one rod which is pretty versatile. You don’t have the hands, nor the motivation to carry a boat full of equipment, so don’t try.

fishing lure I use while shore fishing hooked on the rod
Changing lures quickly, and tying knots correctly while shore fishing, will give you more time with line in the water

Now, changing lures becomes the issue. To be able to change your lures quickly while shore fishing, to allow a minimal waste of time, know your knots. I use three knots, and I tie them very well. Whether or not you use 1 or 10 knots, make sure you are capable of tying them correctly and quickly. Nothing is more frustrating than seeing a school of fish, just to have them disappear while you’re re-tying a lure.

As frustrating as shore fishing can be, my wife constantly reminds me of one simple fact: Every time you get to go out to the water and drop a line, you are doing something that makes you happy. Don’t worry about the headache of payments and winterizing a boat. Just grab your favorite rod, some lures, and take a stroll around your local pond. Mark a couple of spots on the closest lake to you, drive out and enjoy the fact that you are out fishing and not stuck at work. Any fishing is a better day than a working one!

“Every time you get to go out to the water and drop a line, you are doing something that makes you happy.”

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