No Boat, No Problem: How to Catch Fish From the Bank

You can land a giant from shore if you know the right locations to target
Kristine Fischer Avatar
There are some giant fish lurking around shorelines.

You can catch big fish form the bank if you know where to go. Pixabay

No matter how advanced an angler you are, I’m guessing you got your start bank fishing. Access is easy and it’s certainly more affordable than buying a boat and trailer. Anglers of all experience levels crowd fishing piers, line jetties, and stand shoulder-to-shoulder below the spillways just to wet a line. Some folks have even made a living documenting their bank fishing success on YouTube.

You can catch plenty of fish from the bank—you just have to know where to go. Target these four locations and you will have the best chance at landing a giant from shore. 

Find the Best Access Points

Your best resource for finding access is Google Earth. Use it to locate and pin every marina, jetty, spillway, public boat ramp, and fishing pier you want to target. Then you will have a network of different spots to fish so you can motor (in your car) from one to the next. It’s good to have multiple options depending on the bite, just as you would if you were fishing from a boat.

Target Tournament Marina’s

There are ALWAYS big fish hanging out around marinas, especially ones that frequently host boat tournaments. After these tournaments, the competition anglers release the fish at the marina, and you can fish for the retreads for days following an event. Marinas typically have lots of structure and shade, making them a prime areas for bass throughout the year. Be sure to check the rules and regulations to ensure that the marina allows public fishing, as some do not. 

Oftentimes released fish will hang on to the first few pieces of structure they encounter to rejuvenate. You cannot go wrong skipping weightless plastics like a wacky rig or a rigged stickbait up under the docks and letting them slowly fall.

Fish Main Lake Points

There’s a reason you see many professional anglers making milk runs—a set of predetermined spots they have decided to fish—of main lake and secondary points during specific times of the year. Fish utilize points for staging, and when the wind is right, they can be especially good areas to focus on. Many points on some of the larger lakes have access roads that anglers can drive down and set up to fish from the point. Look for long tapered points where fish can move up shallow to feed with quick access to deep water.

Rock Jetties Provide Warm-Ups

During a shad spawn or earlier in the year when the fish are looking for warmth, they will stick close to rock jetties. The sun shines on the rocks, which heats them and warms nearby waters. Working the jetties from the bank is a smart way to run into large numbers of fish when it’s cool out, because schools will be looking for the heat those rocks provide. Walk down as close the water as possible and make a parallel cast tight to the bank. Work your bait back right along the rocks, and be ready for a hot bite—literally.

Spillways Always Hold Fish

You never really know what you’re going to catch fishing a spillway, but you’re almost always guaranteed to catch something. Spillways hold fish, and almost all of them have public access for anglers. Be sure to look at the generation schedule of the spillway you intend to fish. When water is released, bait fish come in from the lake, which is like ringing the dinner bell for the surrounding predator fish.