5 Tips To Become A Better Bank Fisherman

July 5, 2022

By Greg McCain

For the last couple of weeks, the ACC Crappie Stix blog has focused on how high gas costs have impacted fishing. We’ve covered topics like how rising costs have changed boating habits for fishermen and how fishing from a kayak provides a low-cost alternative. Today’s topic is about bank fishing, perhaps the ultimate in a money-saving approach in a time of unparalleled gas prices.

The ACC Crappie Stix pro staff features fishermen from across the North American continent who approach fishing, mainly crappie fishing, in a variety of ways. Pro staffers Troy Becker, Caleb Hensley, and Jake Byerline provide the details about fishing from shore, make you a better bank fisherman, and save everyone some money in the process.

Here are 5 tips to become a better bank fisherman:

  1. Ohio angler Troy Becker catches as many fish from the shore or near-shore (he wades on occasion) as anyone. He fishes for crappie and saugeye regularly and posts reports to his personal Facebook page. He provides a couple of key tips for successful fishing from the bank. “I will look at a map of the lake and find some of the bays that have the river channel come close or right up to the mouth of the bay,” he said. “This gives you an area that will have crappie coming and going into the bay or cove to spawn or to feed and be able to settle in deeper water on frontal conditions. If you find one with trees down into it or stumps, brush and weeds, you have a great pretty much all year-spot to get crappie.”

2. Troy offers another suggestion, one that particularly applies to the hottest months of the year. Fish at night through the fall, he suggests. “Locate your areas lighted up like boat ramps, especially near deeper water. The lights bring bait, and the big crappies will school up and suspend a foot to five foot under the surface.” How do he target these fish? “Casting a couple light jigs and plastics into lighted areas and let free fall,” Troy said. “Add a float over them about three feet down or so and cast out, twitch back, and hold on. They will pull the float down. A floating light in water a bit after dark will bring bait in. Then go after the crappies.”

3. Bank fishing is not just a northern pursuit. Texas angler Caleb Hensley (903 Fishing on YouTube) pursues crappie and other panfish from a boat, from a kayak, and from the bank. Here is one key to successful bank fishing for Caleb. “I would definitely look for access to bridges,” he said. “Fish from the bank under the bridge. Most of the time, crappie use those channels that run under the bridge for ‘highways’ to get to where they are going (during) post-spawn/pre-spawn transitions. Popping a jig off the bottom or a slip cork and jig/minnow usually does the trick.”

4.  If the bridges don’t work, consider another location available in many areas. “You can bank fish for crappie near dams or spillways,” Caleb said. “Usually the deeper pockets in those areas will hold crappie, sometimes year around, especially if it’s a major river. Crappie will always move against current. They get up river, and the dam or spillway doesn’t allow them to go anywhere. Usually the baitfish are plentiful, so they have no reason to leave.”

5. Jake Byerline (Jiggin’ with Jake on YouTube) targets crappie and catfish in the lakes near his Illinois home. He finds one common denominator among his best bank-fishing spots: deep water. “I primarily fish bank locations with a sharp drop off into deep water or bridges with structure. Generally I can find fish at those locations year round, especially during the early-morning or evening bite.”

High gas prices do not have to keep anyone from fishing. Sure, they may impact your normal boating habits, but finding a good bank-fishing spot negates some of that cost. Even if you’re not a bank-fishing regular, give it a try. Crappie and other species can be caught from the bank, especially if you focus on one of the locations mentioned above.