No Boat? 6 Simple Bank Fishing Tips

Fishing is fishing, no matter where you fish from. Some of my best flatheads have been caught from a river bank or rock wall. Even when my mate got himself a huge lizard (even though he was fishing from a boat) he was on the river, next to a stone wall. So, just because you don’t own a boat, doesn’t mean you can’t be an avid fisherman/woman. There are many great bank fishing areas in almost every district.

Places like jetties, lakes, freshwater creeks, ponds, marinas, bridges, rock walls and practically any beach can give you the chance to catch a decent feed of fish, without the cost, hassle, and troubles that can go with boat ownership.

Here are some tips:


Without a vessel, you are obviously only able to fish where your feet can take you. So, you might do a lot of walking to find the best spot. Carrying around rod/reel combos and a heavy tackle box from place to place can be too much of a bother. Instead, choose a single multi-purpose rod/reel combo and pack a small backpack with just a few items. You’ll save energy, and spend more time fishing and less time hauling gear.


If you fish close to home and can easily carry your catch in a bucket, you don’t need an esky (ice box). But if you do, bring a mate and make sure the esky has wheels or handles on each end so you can share the load with your buddy.


After arriving at your fishing location, first, take a few moments to look for a fishy looking structure like vegetation and rocks. Check the current (if any) and tide to come up with a game plan before fishing, that way you know which direction to cast and what your line is going to do. Be on the lookout for baitfish, seeing them may clue you into what the bigger fish are doing.


Some shore fishing spots often have little in the way of cover. And would you believe, your silhouette can portray your company to the fish before you even make a cast? If possible, stand next to a tree, clump of grass, or anything similar size, to hide your shadow from the fish. If it’s sunny, keep your shadow off the water. Fish are used to looking for the shadows of birds of prey etc. and will flee when your shadow crosses their path.


It’s natural to want to cast as far as possible out toward the middle. And if the tide brings your line in, that’s fine, but in ponds and lakes, most the fish will be hanging out either near shore or on the first primary drop-off close to the beach. Making parallel casts along the bank will result in more bites.


You will catch more fish if you use baits and lures that accurately resemble the food that the fish you are trying to find like to eat. Downsizing increases the chance the fish will gulp it down in one hit. So, if you’re fishing with a worm, for example, opt for a 10cm rather than a 20cm. I use small pilchards when fishing for flathead, but they tend to go for prawns as well if the area has a prawn season.


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