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ohihunter2014

bank fishing-what to look for?

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I'm bank bound and going to hit this bass fishing pretty hard this year. upon talking to some guys with boats and hearing about water temp, graphs, etc.

 

How the heck do I know what's a good area to fish from the bank? I spent all day Saturday at a large reservoir and didn't catch squat.

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Checking for structure. Any kind of lay downs you can see like a stump or downed tree. Rock beds are also a good thing to look for. 

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Find the baitfish and the bass will be close.

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3 minutes ago, soflabasser said:

Find the baitfish and the bass will be close.

basically look for minnows or small bluegill? I seen shad jumping Saturday and nothing would bite for me.

6 minutes ago, iiTzChunky said:

Checking for structure. Any kind of lay downs you can see like a stump or downed tree. Rock beds are also a good thing to look for. 

how do you know there is a rock bed?

2 minutes ago, Outdoor Zack said:

Rip-rap is a good place to start

so say if my reservoir has stone all along the sides try throwing along the edge?

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@ohihunter2014  Yes, try casting a squarebill about 12 inches away from and parallel to the riprap.  Then crank back and move out a little further.  Be sure to bump anything you can with the bill and pause for a couple seconds after.

 

Probably the best way to catch the most aggressive fish in the immediate area.

 

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Bass tend to be close to their prey so it would be best to find out where the baitfish are holding since bass should be close by. Under a bridge is a location where baitfish might congregate,there should be bass around/under this bridge that are hunting the baitfish.

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Look for anything different just under the water. If the shore is rock but there's a lone patch of grass, fish it thoroughly. Fish areas where the shore changes, say from rock to sand, and hit both sides of points. Get yourself a pair of polarized sunglasses if you don't have any, that will help locate fish and structure. 

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17 minutes ago, frosty said:

Look for anything different just under the water. If the shore is rock but there's a lone patch of grass, fish it thoroughly. Fish areas where the shore changes, say from rock to sand, and hit both sides of points. Get yourself a pair of polarized sunglasses if you don't have any, that will help locate fish and structure. 

would a cheaper pair under say $50 work well?

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4 hours ago, Outdoor Zack said:

Rip-rap is a good place to start

 

:thumbsup:

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8 hours ago, ohihunter2014 said:

would a cheaper pair under say $50 work well?

They work for me, I just buy the cheap ones at Walmart cause my sunglasses tend to get abused. They work fine. 

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Whenever I'm bank fishing a larger body of water, I always start in the areas where the pan fisherman fish. Those are the bait fish in my part of the world. I then branch out from there always thoroughly fan casting an area before moving on.

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Now dumb question. Do bass eat smaller bluegill and crappie? I know some spots that hold a lot of those in a weed bed I can see from shore.

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First thing I look for is an opportunity to make a cast!

 

Access: being on the bank can limit your access to many areas. Take every opportunity to make a cast & fish it effectively. Top water, mid depth, & bottom - the entire water column.

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When fishing from shore there are always locations that look like obvious bass spots.  Fish off points and in coves.  Look for trees laying down from shore into the water.  Look for stumps sticking out of the water.  Fish around vegetation.  Look for lily pads and try top water baits.

 

Once you fish all the obvious spots and still haven't caught anything then it's time to try everything else.  Sometimes you just need to cover a lot of water.  I'd throw a spinner bait, lipless crank bait and chatter bait so you can cover a lot of area and hit a lot of different depths.

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5 hours ago, ohihunter2014 said:

Now dumb question. Do bass eat smaller bluegill and crappie? I know some spots that hold a lot of those in a weed bed I can see from shore.

 

When I fished in Wisconsin back in the early 60's I caught quite a few bass with small sunfish in their stomachs. 

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5 hours ago, ohihunter2014 said:

Now dumb question. Do bass eat smaller bluegill and crappie? I know some spots that hold a lot of those in a weed bed I can see from shore.

Yes they do. 99% of the time I'm fishing some kind of bluegill imitation. When bank fishing having bluegill around is a good idea

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I'm a shore guy and jumping baitish is one of the best signs you could ask for, personally nothing is more exciting than when I see that.  There are hungry bass chasing food so keep throwing a squarebill or chatterbait near the jumping baitfish and hold tight.

 

Otherwise coves are a great spot to start, main points/secondary points, and dropoffs as well.  You don't have electronics to help you so basically you're going to have to tie on something where you can feel the bottom (I like to use a dropshot) and visually map out the bottom as you fish.  Each cast should give you a little more information about what's under the water - how deep is it, is the bottom soft and muddy, is it gravel, are there larger rocks, is there a patch of grass or milfoil where your lure is always getting stuck, etc.  Look for any cover like cattails or dead tree stumps, mudlines if it's windy, any place that might be a good ambush spot for a bass.  If you look in the water you'll usually see bass cruising back and forth in the shallows so there will always be some bass around, even if they're not hunkered down and stationary.  Keep moving and moving and moving and eventually you'll find some good spots to fish.

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The place i was at last weekend is a man made reservoir and when throwing a ratl trap and texas worm i could feel the lures hitting something on the bottom so I'm assuming rocks? i found a map of this place from odnr and it shows the depths. what depth do you guys like?

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I bank fish a lot and here are my 3 rules (repeat of what others have said):

 

1) breakdown a reservoir into sections (quadrants, hemispheres, into smaller lakes) whatever you can to mentally not overwhelm yourself with a large body of water.

 

2) Identify where the channel is. The channel can serve as a 'freeway' where baitfish and predators flow thru during various times of the year (especially true for stripers and catfish - I'm discovering). A lot of warmwater species like to head to the mouths of channels to gorge before they spawn, as it's instinctual to move 'upstream' <---- say this loosely.

 

3) Favor rip-raps because crawdads, bluegills, minnows seek shelter and feed here. Seek docks and marinas (shelter, structure, food). Lastly, favor coves (especially in the Spring when those offer great spawning habitats. When it gets windy too, the currents will push food into the coves and offer the bank angler some protection too *win/win

 

side note: fish windward sides too. At first, I thought that was counter-intuitive because who likes casting INTO the wind right? However, the chop pushes forage into the banks and disorientates them, causing a feeding frenzy if you hit the window right.

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My advice..... find a much smaller body of water to fish. Reservoirs aren't the best for bank fishing. Find some small ponds in public parks, etc that allow fishing. These usually have much better access & are much easier to fish. Google maps is great for locating spots like this. 

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Don't think about it too much. IMO, structure has always been the most important. Sometimes they just aren't biting, but I rarely get skunked when focusing on sticks/rocks/old junk laying in the bank. Change up the retrieve speed too.

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1 hour ago, iaYakker said:

Don't think about it too much. IMO, structure has always been the most important. Sometimes they just aren't biting, but I rarely get skunked when focusing on sticks/rocks/old junk laying in the bank. Change up the retrieve speed too.

i was thinking about the speed also. i was going pretty fast with the trap lure cause it got caught on something a few times so i went a little faster. ended up getting stuck and lost the lure.

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2 hours ago, ohihunter2014 said:

i was thinking about the speed also. i was going pretty fast with the trap lure cause it got caught on something a few times so i went a little faster. ended up getting stuck and lost the lure.

Don't worry about going too fast with a lipless crank when the weather is warm. Some of my best days have been burning a SK Redeye Shad or Rattle Trap as fast as I can with the occasional 1-2 sec pause. 

 

That being said, might still be chilly where you're located. 

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As always, the very first step is to get your hands on the best hydrographic chart available.

For the bank-fisherman, the most convenient contour map is on the micro-SD card in your handheld GPS unit.

 

Did you say the waterbody is uncharted?  So much the better!

Go to Google Earth and scrutinize the lay of the land, the surface vegetation, tributary streams,

associated swamps, ad infinitum. No need to wet a line before your homework is done. 

 

In the field, study the entire shoreline closely, the grade of the slope entering the lake (declivity).

the soil composition of the bank (sand, clay, marl, rock ~), and note the emergent plants growing

along the shoreline perimeter. Due diligence always pays dividends   :wink7:

 

Roger

 

 

 

 

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