If you are in the gas saving mood or don’t own a boat, shore fishing is a quick and easy fishing option. Access to the lakes, waterways, rivers and beaches is not what it once was but there are still places to fish and have a lot of inexpensive fun.
Shore fishing can be productive in many freshwater and saltwater areas. The number one key is not to overlook the obvious: fish tend to gravitate to structure and that’s where you should start. Hard structure like piers, bridges, rock piles and docks are almost always holding some fish.
Anything with pilings in the water holds opportunities. Many different fish like hanging around places with such pilings, since that’s where the smaller critters they eat hang around. Some fish, like striped bass or flounder, may be right up against or within feet of the pilings, whereas roamers like largemouth bass and speckled trout swim around hard structure often switching feeding areas as the wind or current changes and bait drifts in different directions.
Many fish can often be found beside the pilings or a little bit downstream. Weeds or lily-pads around shore are also great areas to fish as species like crappie will seek cover.
Live bait fished from shore around hard structure is hard to beat, although during the right time and tides (or winds) the creeks and other stretches will produce well too. Live minnows, worms and shrimp work great from the piers and higher shore areas since you can fish them under a bobber to hold the bait where you want it and signal bites.
Lures work as well. You want heavier lures you can throw some distance from shore, since you can’t cover quite as much ground as you can in a boat.
Live minnows fished around pilings are great when fishing for gamefish seeking their breakfast or dinner. Often you can catch your bait in a cast net, or you can buy it at the bait store. Keep your rod in your hands during shore fishing and give the bait a little movement of your own. If you also don’t own a rod, FishersChamber has a great guide on getting one for surf fishing.
When shore fishing you need to get decent casting distance, but don’t use more weight than you need to get your bait or lure to the bottom. Simple rigs with split shots or small egg sinkers are what you want if the current is not too rough where you are fishing.
You can also throw lures at bass, crappie, trout, drum, and bluefish, while fishing bottom rigs for species like catfish and flounder.
No matter what fuel costs people will still be out there fishing in boats because it is so much fun. But shore fishing is a viable inexpensive option and can be just as fun.