Some Bank-Fishing Wisdom And…

…Does a Bassin’ Boat Improve Your Fishing IQ?

Lately I’ve been doing more bank fishing than I’ve done in many a year. Just circumstance. My boat’s at my folks’ place, about 75 minutes away, and my 9-year-old son is eaten up with fishing. “Can we go fishing, dad?” – I hear that daily, and what am I supposed to say…no?!

So we bank-fish at a local lake, and recently at lakes and rivers in Maine – we’re up here right now visiting family. Plus there’s the fact that my 7-year-old daughter would rather fish from a bank, where she’s mobile, than a boat.

I guess I like bank-fishing. Any fishing. And after I got past the wanting to be in a boat to fish here or there and just enjoy my kids fishing (was tough!), I started to reprogram my brain for bassin’ from the bank.

That’s background. What I’ve found is that fellow bank-fishermen or folks you meet on the bank at a dock or whatever are full of fishin’ tidbits. These are everything from the basic – “that’s a smallmouth bass” [even my wife wanted to laugh at that one] – to the more sophisticated description of fishing a bait and fish biology info sort of out of the pages of In-Fisherman.

“Sort of” because it ain’t quite right. One example: A guy fishing a pond told me figured all the fish were stacked up at a small inlet because fish like current – but he said it much more technical In-Fish style than that. I told him I was pretty sure some fish never moved from certain spots in that pond, and they for sure would be cruising the bank at that hour (dusk). Maybe he was right, or maybe just thinkin’ out loud, but my knee-jerk was like, “Am I in some kind of alternate reality?”

So it was among such well-meaning folk (they are) that I took my kids out to a dock yesterday. Dock was on the right side of a boat ramp at typical rocky Maine lake. Had the loon swimming around, islands jammed with trees, the whole thing.

The locals of course were saying there weren’t any fish to be caught there. One guy’s throwing what looked like a tree off the dock so his half Chessie/half Lab could go get it and drag it back. A boat backed in once in a while. You get the picture.

So I tie on a couple 1/4-oz jigheads, slap on watermelon-pepper dual-tail skirted grubs and let the kids have at it. They’re fishing the right side of the dock, away from the ramp where there’s deeper water.

I explain how to fish it – hop it or swim it slow above the rocks – so naturally they crank it back a couple times, get bored and then decide to cast the baits out and leave them while they grab nets and try to catch crayfish or whatever else they can find.

Long story short, they figure out if you let the grub sit then pick up the rod and start cranking, you get smacked by a smallmouth. My daughter catches one, then my son gets mad (lol) and catches two.

Then we start getting the questions:

> You caught that right here?

> What’s that bait? What’s it supposed to look like?

And: “Yep, that’s a smallmouth….”

Pretty funny. Made me think that if we were on a bassin’ boat, everyone would assume we were the experts and maybe not offer such advice or facts. Because I’ve never heard that stuff stepping off a boat. Maybe you have to spend enough time on the bank to hear this stuff, who knows. Kind of enjoying it – and btw, not tossing all bank folks into one barrel. Some are killer anglers.

Back to Maine: I sure as heck wish I had a boat to fish that lake. On the other hand, nothing beats a kid’s crazy joy when they catch a fish. Guess we’re all still thataway….

Girl power!




  1. Bass Pundit

    August 25, 2011 at 2:21 pm

    You should heard the story about the “demon fish” I heard this weekend from the bank. She said it had the head of a catfish and a shark. This is in Central MN. The story had me suppressing a laugh as the lady was totally serious. “I’m telling you this fish was straight from hell”

    From her description I figured it was a bowfin or a pike and the next day one of the “Grumpy Old Men” who was there confirmed to me it was a bowfin.

  2. MNAngler

    August 25, 2011 at 2:48 pm

    Great story. Nothing like impressing some locals, especially when it’s the kids that do it.

  3. Recklessbasser

    August 25, 2011 at 11:25 pm

    I’ve also noticed that bank fisherman and fisherwomen are more willing to converse and share info with their bank walking comrades. It’s almost as if the boaters are “Elitists”. It’s not often I fish from the bank anymore, but I think I may actually enjoy it more. It’s more social and laid back. A far cry from racing around my favorite lake, trying not to be seen on some honey holes (not even fishing some, so nobody sees me there), and not setting the hook because of the bent rod pattern guys. While fishing from the bank you would hold up your latest catch for all to see, not caring who is around. Sounds great. My ten year old son and I are leaving the boat in the shop this weekend and hoofin’ it on the creek bank.

    • admin (mostly Jay)

      August 26, 2011 at 7:11 pm

      Cool! Let us know how you do.

  4. Alex Voog

    August 26, 2011 at 2:20 pm

    Bank fishing has made a better boat fisherman than I would be if I only fished from a boat. You HAVE to be a good caster when you jungle combat bass fish like I do or you lose a crapload of lures. A lure retriever is ESSENTIAL.. One can get into lots of places and catch lots of big fish that you could never get to with a boat (if they’d even let you take one on that body of water!). Glad you and the family are having so much fun with them Mainers, good folk, and your kids are “ate up” with bassin’ !

    • admin (mostly Jay)

      August 26, 2011 at 7:12 pm

      They sure are. My son spent 8 hours on a lake today, caught just three fish, only one was a bass. I caught…zero.

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Gitcha Bassin' Fix

The best, worst and funniest in bassin'! Jay Kumar is the guy who created, co-hosted Loudmouth Bass with Zona, was a B.A.S.S. senior writer and a whole lot more in bassin™. Make sure you sign up for the BassBlaster email!

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