No boat required; for many the river bank or lake shore will do just fine
Jerry Phelps lands a crappie while fishing from the bank at Kentucky Lake.
Bank fishing is the way the majority of anglers pursue their sport, however there are people who say they can't fish because they don't have a boat.
A few years ago, I met Jerry Phelps at Kentucky Lake. At the time, he had a relatively new bass boat, but hadn’t used it for two years. He’d rather fish from the bank, and says he catches more fish.
Not only does Phelps catch fish from the bank, there are plenty of other good examples. Currently, anglers are are pulling in nice catches of sauger from the banks below Ohio River dams. In Europe bank fishing where anglers are assigned a fishing spot tournaments are popular.
However, with the advent of the bass boat, bank fishing in this country has become an almost lost form of fishing. Boats are great, but the lack of one doesn't curtail the ability to catch a stringer of fish.
While there are plenty of places to fish from the bank, some locations are much better than others. Bank fishing isn’t as simple as walking down to the water and throwing in your line. It may produce fish, and it may not. Just like from fishing from a boat, may or not result in fish.
Watching and talking with Phelps bank fishing, you can learn a lot about catching fish from the bank. He works at bank fishing just like a good boat fisherman works the water of any lake or stream.
When Phelps bank fishes, he takes structure, weather, water temperature, season, and the phase of the moon just like any accomplished boat angler. He primarily fishes Kentucky and Barkley Lakes, and often fishes the shoreline of Land Between the Lakes where there is public land available to all anglers. However, he fishes other lakes as well.
No matter where he goes, he notes structure and other important information about the location. When he decides to fish, he considers the conditions and then selects the spot he will travel to fish.
Cold weather doesn't stop him either. “Once on Feb. 2, the temperature dropped to three degrees. We had to use a heater to keep our reels thawed, but we caught our limits of crappie, and big ones too. Most of them went over a pound,” said Phelps.
Another benefit to winter fishing is the water level at most lakes is lower. Anglers can walk the bank easier and also locate structure which will be underwater when the level comes up in the spring. These will be ideal spring and summer fishing spots.
Phelps says he learned everything he knows about fishing from his mother, who didn’t miss many days bank fishing. “I learned everything from Momma,” he says with a big grin.
Most of Phelp’s fishing is for crappie, although he also catches his share of bluegill and bass. He fishes with jigs and uses bobbers. The bobber is used to keep the jig at the depth he wants, and with the bobber he call pull the jig over submerged structure.
Crappie and bass are just two kinds of fish which can be caught from the bank. More types of fish than hopeful 2016 Presidential candidates are possible.
You may not have a boat, but that isn’t a valid excuse for not fishing or catching fish.
Maybe I'm just lazy as I tack the years onto my old body, but I spend much more time fishing from the bank behind the house, even though a boat is leaning against the walnut tree a few feet away.