For the landlocked anglers without access to a boat, having the right amount of equipment is vital to having a productive day out on the bank. Because of the mobile nature of bank fishing, equipment should be kept to a minimum to reduce carrying weight and increase mobility. Equipment selection and preparation is a process that should take place well before the actual fishing day.
Rod and Reel
While your preference in a spinning reel or casting reel makes no difference, the strength and action of your rod is an important factor to consider when bank fishing. If the body of water you are fishing has a fair amount of vegetation that you might get caught in, you should consider a medium-heavy to heavy rod to allow you to pull snags free and haul fish out of heavy cover. If your body of water is relatively clear of vegetation and heavily pressured (fished by other anglers), you should consider a finesse approach; which of course means lighter tackle and a fishing rod of medium power.
Line selection is just as important as fishing rod selection and is typically dictated by the environment of the waters you are fishing. If you have fished this location before or are able to perform some pre-fishing recon, take note of all of your surroundings. Look for the amount and types of vegetation, the water clarity, the composition of the ground (rocks, sand, mud, etc), and any trees or large structures that have been submerged. If it looks like you will be fishing through some thick vegetation, choose strong line such as copolymer or braid of an appropriate test. If there are sharp rocks or submerged trees present, consider using copolymer or fluorocarbon since braid can be susceptible to fraying and breaking around sharp edges. If you are fishing top water, monofilament is the line of choice, but you can do well with any line.
Lures and Tackle
Successful bank fishing typically requires being mobile, which means your lure and tackle selection needs to be kept to a minimum to save weight and maintain simplicity. The last thing you want to do while bank fishing is second guessing your lure selection and spending more time re-rigging instead of actually fishing. Bring a basic selection of soft plastics such as worms and craws, and several hooks & weights that are appropriate for the technique you will be using. When considering hard lures, I would advise choosing hard lures that will remain fairly weed less to reduce frustration on the bank. Chatter baits, jigs, and spinner baits are just a few weed less hard lures that are versatile in their use.
Because of the land limitations of bank fishing, it is most important to fish multiple locations to increase your chances to catching fish. Consider using one lure as you make your rounds and if you don’t get any bites, tie on another style of lure and repeat the rounds. At each opportunity, start by approaching the bank stealthily so you don’t spook fish that may be paused at the edge of the bank. Start dropping lures from behind the bank to catch these fish. When you’ve finally approached the edge of the bank, look for objects of interest such as patches of weeds, submerged trees, etc; and start casting to those locations. If there are no structures or cover, perform a fan cast pattern so that you can cover as much of the water as possible from the bank.
A piece of equipment that can be invaluable to bank anglers is a constable fish finder such as the Deeper Bluetooth capable fish finder. By utilizing modern technology, you can save time on the water by eliminating non-productive spots, and learning about the bottom conditions, which can help you find where fish might hide.
I hope these useful tips will save you time and energy out on the water, so that you may have a productive and eventful day of fishing. Of course, any of the advice mentioned above can be tailored to suit your needs or limitations, so use them as a guideline and adjust your equipment preferences as needed.