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“Of the Outdoors” Shore Fishing Tips

Entered by Gary Howey

Former tournament angler, hunting and fishing guide. Inducted into the National Freshwater Fishing "Hall of Fame" in 2017. Active member of the Association of Great Lakes Outdoor Writers (AGLOW), Past Executive Director (AGLOW). Howey has been an outdoor communicator since 1980 with his award winning syndicated "Of the Outdoors" columns appearing in magazine, newspapers, and tabloids throughout he upper Midwest and nationally.

October 30, 2018

“Of the Outdoors” Shore Fishing Tips

by | Oct 30, 2018 | Gary’s Thoughts from the Field

  Not all anglers’ fish from boats, and because of this, I decided to pass along a few tips for the shore angler.

  Some of those anglers in boats will hug the shoreline, casting and jigging in along the shoreline, locations holding fish the current breaks located there.

  There are several methods anglers use to catch almost all species of fish from shore, but before we go into those methods, here a tip on where to locate the fish.

  * Look for slow current areas or slack water pockets.  Fish these areas behind points, behind rock piles, wing dams or timber, that has fallen in the water, these area s will all hold fish.

  * Try to fish as close as possible to the area where the fast water joins the slow water. This area is where the more aggressive fish will be waiting in ambush for a meal to swim by.

  Now that you know where the fish could be, we can talk about “how” to catch them.

  * Many anglers, especially those that fish from shore use too heavy of equipment.  Those anglers that using lighter gear, their line and tackle, will catch more fish.

  * Here is a tip that you can use throughout the year, I like to use a live bait rig when shore fishing.  A slightly modified crappie rig will do just fine.

  *As any shore angler knows, the worst thing about shore fishing is the snags.  They will eat you alive if you let them,

  *This is why I modify my crappie rigs.  The piece of equipment that snags up on a rig generally is the weight.  When the weight snags up you will lose the whole rig unless you modify it.

  * When using a crappie rig, add a heavy rubber to the snap at the bottom of the rig and then hook it to through the eye of sinker, and then over the sinker, then pull the rubber band tight to the sinker. When the sinker snags, you can generally pull back hard on the line and let it snap back, the tension from the rubber band should flip the sinker loose.   If the sinker does stay snagged, the only thing you lose will be the sinker, and quickly get back in the water as all you need to do, is to replace the sinker and your back in business.

[et_pb_image_n10s _builder_version=”3.15″ show_in_lightbox=”on” image_as_url=”off” overlay_orientation=”to right” overlay_orientation_hover=”to right” src=”” caption_overlay=”At times, when there are current breaks holding fish tight along the shoreline, boaters will come in close along the shoreline to catch active fish, even they are shore fisherman. (Gary Howey Photo)” n10s_type=”seattle” text_font_size=”18px” text_font=”Droid Serif||||||||” /]

  * I like to use Shiners whenever possible for bait, as the flash given off by these bait fish helps to attract prey fish.  With Shiners, you will have to change bait frequently, because Shiners are delicate baitfish and die quickly.

 * The black darker Fathead Minnows that you see in many bait shops will stay alive a long time, but in dark water, they blend in and are hard for prey fish to locate.

  * If Shiners are not available, I  have used part of a larger blackhead  minnow, does not matter if you use the head or body as either bait leaves a scent trail for the fish to follow,  I have also  had  good luck using a whole Fathead along with a piece of another minnow.

 * You might also try hooking my minnow in the tail, as at times, I have had good luck do this.  The minnow will move around a lot more when hooked this way, the extra movement, allowing the prey fish to zero in on the vibrations given off by the minnows struggle.

 * Another thing that you will want to be aware of when bank fishing is the noise, as sound travels faster in water than in the air and fish detect vibrations in the water with their lateral line.  The noise from a heavy weight landing in the water will spook any fish within 100 yards. Try using a smaller weight to present your bait as quietly as possible, as any loud noise on the shore carries out into the water.

 * I also like to use floating crankbaits and in-line spinners m(Mepps)when shore fishing, I cast them up stream and then crank like a wild man to get them to dive and run faster than the current.

 * They also work very well when cast downstream using the cranking and pause method.  When you pause, the bait will float up resembling a wounded or injured baitfish and when you start to crank the bait in, fish will go after it thinking the bait is trying to escape.

 * Use a shallow running floating crankbait such as the standard Rapala or a Storm Thin Fin whenever possible as the deeper divers will bury into the rocks, weeds and other junk right on the bottom.

 *Another thing that I will do is to cut off the trailing part of the treble hook, the one that hangs off the bottom. This is the hook snagging up all of the time, and by snipping off the one bottom hook of the treble, you will still catch just as many fish but you will not lose as many crankbaits. 

 * No matter what type of bait or rig you are using, make sure that your hooks are sharp.  There are more fish lost because of dull hooks than any other reason.

 * A hook may look sharp, but unless it digs into your finger nail when you drag it across it is not sharp enough to catch a fish.

 * It is a good idea to carry a small diamond hook sharpener, if you do not have one, a small file will work just as well to dress up a dull hook.

 * Check your hooks often as the bottom, sticks, weed and rocks can quickly dull the sharpest hook and if a hook is bent, do not try to straighten it and reuse it. Bending the hook creates a week point and is where the hook will break when you are fighting a fish.

  Shore anglers have the advantage when it comes to fishing those fish that hug the bank to get out of the current and with food lively bait and a few simple tricks, your catching of fish from shore will improve.

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