The Basics of Shore Fishing for Bass

Looking to land monster bass this year? Cash in with these bank fishing tips on landing bass from the shore.

February 26, 2019

You don’t need a boat to enjoy a day on the water. Shore fishing can be a great option for fishermen wanting to get a line out without setting sail. Fishing from the bank is great for anglers learning the sport or for those without access to a fishing boat. Additionally, you can potentially get into newfound fishing holes; ones that a vessel couldn’t reach from offshore.

Bank fishing can be a fun way to spend an afternoon. But there’s more to it than finding shore and casting out. From your gear, to your approach and even your cast, there are a few basics every shore fisherman should understand. DICK’S Sporting Goods Associates and avid anglers Brett Wilps and Candace Tabrosky have a few key tips and tricks to help you cash in on your next bank fishing experience.


One big difference between onshore and offshore fishing is your gear limits. When you’re shore fishing, you can’t carry extra equipment on the boat; you must tote in and tote out all your equipment. This limitation forces you to think about what gear is important.

When it comes to a fishing rod and reel, Wilps says he prefers carrying two setups. The first is a lightweight spinning rod and the second is a medium-heavy baitcasting rod. This variety can help you prepare to throw multiple presentations for multiple situations.

Wilps also recommends having shorter fishing rods, “So that as you’re hiking through the woods, they’re not catching on trees or anything like that and they fit in your car really easily.”

To go along with your multiple setups, Wilps suggests carrying different fishing lines of varying weights on your spinning and baitcasting reels. For your lighter rod setup, look for a lighter line, preferably monofilament or fluorocarbon. For the mid to heavyweight rod and reel combo, consider spooling a stronger, heavier braided line.

Of course, you can mix and match your line type to match your lure choice and fishing environment. Discover more on which fishing line to choose, here.

You should also look to carry a pair of polarized sunglasses when shore fishing.

“Not only are sunglasses going to protect your eyes from the sun,” Tabrosky says, “but they’re also going to protect you from those uncontrollable casts and help you to see through the water.”

The next most important piece of equipment for shore fishing is your backpack. Wilps notes that you don’t have to have a fishing-specific pack; any backpack can do. Something comfortable with plenty of space for your gear.

When packing your shore fishing backpack, be sure to include these essentials:

  • Fishing license
  • Water bottle
  • Fishing sunglasses
  • Utility box with the following:

    • Multiple hook options
    • Multiple weight options
    • Leaders
    • Multiple soft plastics
    • Multiple hard baits
    • Multiple jigs

“Those are definitely top essentials, but it’s also important to have bug spray, sunscreen and even a first-aid kit,” Tabrosky says. “And on the outside of my backpack I like to keep a multi-tool kit or clippers so it’s easy to access when I have to cut the line.”


Once you have your fishing equipment in order, you’re ready to hit the shoreline. You shouldn’t rush up to the water’s edge, plop your gear down and fling a line out, however. Walk slow to your spot, stay low and try to remain quiet to prevent spooking any nearby trophies. All the while be attentive to your surroundings and try to gauge the water.

Wilps suggests being particularly aware of differing bottom content, grass and varying depths. “Those are usually where predator fish and bait fish hang out,” he says.

After studying your surroundings and claiming a location, you can plan your attack. Don’t cast directly from the water’s edge. Stay a little farther back as to not give your presence away to any fish lingering in the shallows. To cast, Tabrosky says to try the fan-casting technique. “It’s normally casting from left-to-right just to cover the most water.”

A fun and easy way to remember the fan-casting technique is to think of it like a clock, according to Tabrosky.

“If I’m casting to my left, I’m going to cast at the nine o’clock hour and cast each hour until around the three o’clock,” she says.

You can use this technique multiple times and vary your retrieval speeds and baits. This way, you can change up your presentations in your efforts to entice a hungry bass.

With these gear and expertise tips, you’re ready to reel in the good times from the comfort of the bank. Follow these shore fishing basics to get the most off the coast.