Bank fishing requires patience, attention and the right equipment. Whether you use a shallow water boat or stand on the bank to fish, you can catch large bass, catfish, crappie and minnows without ever going too far offshore. Depending on your luck, bait and river or lake location, you can catch as many fish as you would deep water fishing. If you opt to fish from the bank, find a boulder, brush pile or stump to stand on for better views of the water and better handling of your reel. This technique will also strengthen your ability to cast your line into the water.
Shallow Water Anchors
Shallow water anchors can hold a boat in shallow waters up to 8 feet. Ideal for fishing during high winds (up to 30 mph) and fast currents, shallow water anchors deploy gently to minimize splashing, which can frighten skittish fish. The anchoring system works by stabilizing your boat so it does not drift, especially when casting a net, re-tying a line or spot checking for fish. Your boat stops exactly where you want it to stop. Shallow water anchors are ideal for freshwater and saltwater fishing and can be deployed in gravel, rock, sand, grasslines and sandpockets.
Shallow Water Nets
Fish netting, drift netting, minnow nets and fishing landing nets are designed for fishing near the shore, where minnows and catfish are generally found. Fishing nets offer hassle-free performance by giving anglers an opportunity to lure and catch small fish directly from the shore. Boats are not needed, but nets can be used from a boat as well as from the bank. Net fishing requires additional equipment such as bait (the innards of other fish and minnows is ideal), a bucket (for storage) and a fillet knife (for skinning). When net fishing, always use a net that you can gently lower in the water and hold from a distance so vibrations and movements from your body do not disturb the water so much that skittish fish are frightened away.
Shallow Water Draft Boats
Shallow water draft boats are specifically designed to enter areas of the marsh that larger, more rounded boats cannot. The structure of shallow water draft boats are traditionally flat, which allows for smoother maneuverability on the water. When choosing a shallow water boat, consider the shallowest draft at rest, speed, draft at speed, ability to handle rougher water, size (width) and efficiency. Fiberglass varieties are available and because of the boat's small size and compact engine, the boat offers good fuel economy. As of 2010, Shoalwater, Flats Cat, Shallow Sport and Ultra Cat all manufacture shallow water boats. SouthShores offers 10 shallow water boat models.