5 Shore Fishing Tips

5 Shore Fishing Tips and Techniques You Need To Know

Top, Middle, Bottom (2 of 5)

Since shore anglers don’t always have the luxury of carrying a boatload of tackle—they need to pare it down to a minimum. Depending on the target species, you can pretty much break things down into water column sections. Here are some shore fishing tips for each section of the water column. 

On Top

Bass, pike, trout and panfish are the most common fish species to feed on the water’s surface. Species-specific surface lures should always be tried from shore during the early morning and late evening. And why not? It’s fun and effective. Poppers, walkers, propellers, and dry flies will all work.

Top water frog for shore fishing
Topwater baits in the low-light periods are effective and fun.

Fish like walleye feed closer to the surface during dark or low-light conditions. Fish like catfish rarely fit into this category.

Through The Middle

The mid-section of a fishing area is probably the easiest to cover. Fish roam around in this zone a lot more than you might think. Since Ang and I have been using Garmin’s LiveScope, we see it firsthand. 

A float, suspending or even sinking jerkbait is an awesome shore fishing lure

Lures like suspending minnowbaits, medium-diving crankbaits, spinnerbaits, chatterbaits, inline spinners, spoons, etc. are all amazingly effective at covering the mid-section of the water you are fishing.

A float, suspending or even sinking jerkbait is an awesome shore fishing lure.

With all these baits, make sure you vary the retrieve if the fish aren’t biting (if they are, stick with whatever you’re doing, of course). Try faster or slower; try twitching or pausing. Get that fish’s attention by catching it off guard.

Hitting The Bottom

This is the area of the water column where most anglers feel all the fish are. At times that is very much correct—but not always.

When fish are feeding on the bottom, lures like jigs (all types), plastics, live bait, deep-diving crankbaits, etc. are all extremely effective. Walleye and smallmouth bass are fantastic examples of fish that, at times, want their meals directly on the bottom of the waterbody that an angler is fishing.

A jig is a solid choice for an angler to work the bottom section of the water they are fishing.

A great instance is jig fishing with artificial plastics for walleye. So many times in my Walleye fishing, it has been evident that the fish wanted nothing to do with a bait above the bottom; they wanted to pick it up off the bottom. For instance, that jig is effective up off the bottom for attracting the fish, but the only way they wanted to eat it was after bottom contact was made.

All three of these sections of the water column are easy to cover from shore.

Continue to Page 3 for more indispensable Shore Fishing Tips!

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20 Replies to “5 Shore Fishing Tips and Techniques You Need To Know”

  1. Fan Cast? Top, Middle, Bottom? Cover Water? Slip float vs. Bobber? Waders, Shorts and Sandals? Wow! For a minute there I thought we were heading towards a wardrobe malfunction.

    I have done a lot of shore fishing in my life time and have come realize after reading this article, that shore fishing is quite similar to a Sonar Sweep. The logistics are so elementary. You never hunt down your target by confining your search to the same area.

    The “Fan Casting Sonar Sweep” technique, with a constant “left to right” and “right to left” motion, allows your bait to search for your intended target. A relentless pursuit that keeps the fish guessing. Alternating the length of your cast would be an added bonus that confuses your quarry and keeps it off guard.

    The “Top, Middle, Bottom” aspect goes hand-in-hand with the “Fan Casting Sonar Sweep”. We all want to know at what depth that gill-bearing aquatic craniate target is located or at least feeding. As you all know, various types of baits allow us to do just that. Locking on to your intended target gets quite easy. As you see, the bearing, range and depth, plays an important part in every presentation of angling.

    “Covering The Water” by constantly changing your shoreline location, is akin to being aboard a ship under sail, while utilizing the above mentioned techniques. Your so called “Attack Mechanism” is now multiplied, giving the shore angler an advantage very similar to those who fish from a boat.

    The “Slip Float vs. Bobber” is one of my favorite instruments in locating a target. We have all heard of “Variable Depth Sonar”. Oceanographic Documentaries utilize this type of equipment all the time to overcome temperature layers. The slip float is just that, an average persons variable depth fish locator.

    Finally we come to the “Combat Gear” portion of the program. Waders in the Cold, Shorts and Sandals in the Warm. Everyone knows, military personnel or in the this case Anglers, require the appropriate uniform to carry out their appointed rounds. Safety and security is utmost, allowing the attack and defend response to coincide and ultimately succeed.

    Man, this Sonar stuff is great. Just one word of caution, watch out for the Conservation Officer Shore Patrol. I hear their Brig is a nasty place.

  2. using drop shots ,bobbers and top water baits are my to go to techniques looking for structure and overhanging banks.I use to struckle with snaggs all the time but watching Fishing Canada they really have helped with my shore fishing 100%

  3. Fishing from shore was everything to me and my brother as kids , it helped us pass the long days until Dad could take us out . Great read thanks Pete !

    1. Your welcome Mike, glad you liked it. I too did the same, fished as much as possible from shore and then on the odd weekend, dad would get us out in the boat. Shore fishing is a great way to learn the basics and then some!

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