Do you ever get those days that you don’t feel like taking the boat out, or maybe you don’t have someone to go fishing with; or maybe you don’t have access to a boat to hit your favourite lake? No worries! One really great way to explore a lake and spend the day fishing is by shore fishing and wading the shorelines!
When we fish from a boat we tend to cover a lot of water and not take the time to really break the lake down to discover where the fish are holding. Shore fishing for bass provides an angler with an entire different aspect of a fishery.
When most people think of fishing from the shore they believe that they are restricted by the limited access of a dry beach or a dock. Well a good pair of waders will open the lake up to an angler and provide some of the best bass fishing to be had! Most anglers stick around the areas of the shore where they can comfortably sit and cast from. However, by wading the shallow hard surface sections of a lake, it will provide you with access to very low angling pressured zones.
A good example is my recent trip to Vaseux Lake in the South Okanagan Valley of BC. This lake is known for its incredible bass fishing but the shoreline can be somewhat obstructed by brush and trees. The day I targeting this lake the wind was blowing very strong and I didn’t want to take my pontoon boat out onto the water to be blown around everywhere. So instead, I put on my waders and waded areas that I believed that would hold bass and that weren’t too deep.
While wading with water up to my knees, I felt as if I became very connected with the fishery. I noticed the smallest things in the lake that I normally wouldn’t if I was fishing from a boat. I could feel the type of bottom that I was walking on, whether if there was gravel under the small layer of sludge or if I was walking on a very soft sandy bottom. I could see small-submerged structures in the lake such as small logs that held fish. There was a point that I looked down at my feet and watched a carp swim right over top of my boot. Regardless of catching fish or not, wading really gives you a heightened level of respect for a fishery.
To get the best out of your day when planning to wade and fish for bass having a versatile setup is essential! The more versatile your presentation is the less you will have to change up your gear selection throughout the day.
The best presentation that I recommend for this type of bass fishing is a simple 4-6 inch “plastic worm” also commonly known as a “Senko”. This bait can be rigged numerous ways from “wacky style” to “Texas Rigged Weed Less”. Using finesse methods such as this will help you slow down your presentation and really make you hone in on where the bass are holding.
Key areas that you want to watch for are submerged structure such as logs, large rocks and weedlines. Gravel areas in the spring period tend to provide optimum habitat during the pre and post spawn periods that attract smallmouth bass.
Simply cast your soft plastic along these structures and allow them to drift to the bottom. After a few seconds of allowing your bait to naturally sink, twitch the rod tip to transfer small bits of action to the bait. Work the bait back towards yourself. Fan cast he area around the structure, once the area has been covered, wade to a new spot.
A quick note for conservation; when wading through the water be careful not to destroy precious habitat such as riparian vegetation, bird or waterfowl nesting areas and be sure not to walk through bass spawning beds. Stay in areas that have hard rock bottoms rather than deep muds, as these areas are vitally important to the lake’s ecosystem. Always bring out more than what you packed in; and of course always check the fishing regulations prior to heading out.
Fishing a shoreline for bass is a very fun and effective way to fish. You don’t require a big fancy boat; just a set of comfortable breathable waders, a set of polarized sunglasses to help you see sub-surface and a versatile fishing setup. So the next time you are looking for a good day on the water; go for a walk on the waterside!
Tight lines & please take a youth fishing!