Bank fishing is by far the cheapest and easiest way to get into fishing. With the bank being the port of entry for so many anglers, we thought it would be a good idea to offer up a blueprint of sorts for what a bank angler should use to fill their tacklebox. And even if you’ve been fishing from the bank a while, there may be something on this list you haven’t thought of yet. So let’s take a look.
Though bass fishing is our main gig here, getting bit is our ultimate goal. Keeping a small bait in your tacklebox to guarantee a bite from a wide range of species may be the best bet you have to keep your interest on a tough day, and especially to hold the attention of any young one you may have fishing along side you.
Small rooster tails and beetle spins are perfectly capable of luring in a pretty big bass. But they’ll also catch crappie, bream, bluegill, perch and almost anything else with a mouth that’s big enough to suck in a kernel of corn. So it’s a good idea to always have something small in the box, but that you can still cast a considerable distance.
Keeping with the bladed bait theme but stepping up a little in size, a spinnerbait is one of the best bank fishing baits of all time. You can cast a spinnerbait a fairly long way, bass will eat it in any season, spinnerbaits work in clear, stained and muddy water, and they get big bites.
Erring towards the smaller side will typically get you more bites when fishing from the bank, so it’s a good idea to have a 1/4-ounce to maybe a 3/8-ounce spinnerbait in your box.
A buzzbait is again one of the all time best bass fishing baits in general, and it makes for a great bank fishing bait as well. Typically suited more for shallow water, this is a great bait to walk down the bank while making parallel casts along the shore.
Black and white are two do-all basic colors to keep in your box, as one of these two can mimic nearly any type of prey that would be swimming along the surface. And again, if a 1/2-ounce will get bit, a 1/4-ounce will get bit even more, especially in fishing ponds and creeks loaded with smaller fish.
The best crankbait for bank fishing is one without a bill. One of the best casting baits available, a lipless crankbait, can be fished all the way across a small pond or creek. And with the ability to vary the depth of its retrieve, a lipless crankbait is likely the most versatile bait to fish from the bank in this whole list.
Basic colors like silver with a blue back and fire tiger are some of the best to keep on hand. And staying in the same vein as the rest of this piece, a 1/4-ounce lipless crankbait is probably the best bet to get the most bites. Though keeping a 1/2-ounce in the box for the added casting distance is a great idea.
Something soft and slow
A lot of ponds have mucky bottoms covered with slime and moss, but you should still keep something slow in your tackle box to fish like a jig or Texas rig. The key here is keeping your presentation light. The heavier your bottom hopping bait is, the more it will get bogged down in the muck. Opt for a lighter jig in the 1/4- to 3/8-ounce range with a decent size trailer, like a Zoom Super Chunk Jr. The large claws on the trailer will slow the fall of the bait and prevent it from plunging down into the silt and slime.
Keeping the components necessary to rig a light Texas rig in your tacklebox is a good idea too, along with a pack of worms or lizards. A 1/4-ounce bullet weight, 4/0 worm hook and a lizard have pulled many a fish up onto the bank.
This is obviously not a comprehensive list. We didn’t even get to mention hollow-body frogs, toads or Whopper Plopper style baits, all of which could elicit an awesome topwater explosion from the shore. Basically, there aren’t a whole lot of baits that you can get bit on from a boat that won’t draw a strike from the shore. The key is upping your odds as much as possible. If you pack your bank fishing tacklebox with the items on this list, you’re almost certain to get a bite no matter what stretch of bank you’re fishing from.