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Examiner
  • Fishing from banks is just as effective

  • Last week I watched a family fishing from the bank and saw them pull in some nice catfish, bluegill and crappie from the lake.

    They were having as much fun as any angler I have ever seen, and they were having great success without fishing from a boat.

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  • Last week I watched a family fishing from the bank and saw them pull in some nice catfish, bluegill and crappie from the lake.
    They were having as much fun as any angler I have ever seen, and they were having great success without fishing from a boat.
    Have you watched a televised fishing show lately?
    Most would have you believe that you can only catch fish by using a $20,000-plus fishing boat, but don’t sell that fishing pole at a yard sale yet. Shore fishermen can – and do – experience success like boat anglers, but with a slightly different approach.
    Many of today’s anglers got their start by catching crawfish from a small stream. One of the favorite ways to get them was to tie a small piece of bacon to a string and drop it into crawdad habitat. I know as a kid I used to catch crawdads from a small creek near my home and then sell them to area fishermen.
    Some of the largest bass, catfish and even walleye I have taken fell victim to a crawdad or a crawdad-type lure. Crawdads are also an important food source for fish, turtles, frogs, raccoons and humans. The ones in Louisiana are revered at festivals and dinner tables.
    Not only are streams good for fishing from the bank, the thousands of farm ponds that dot the state produce excellent fishing from the bank. Some great fishing for catfish, bass, bluegill and other pan fish may be found in these ponds.
    Below the dam at Truman, the bank gets lined up with anglers pulling everything from carp to crappie. Some big catfish and hybrid stripers are caught from the shore by anglers of all ages.
    Some of my best catches came from bank fishing, including a 10-pound walleye, several white bass in the 4-pound range, an 8-pound bass and a 3-pound crappie.
    Jim Kaiser of Springfield spends a lot of time fishing from the bank – even more than he does in his boat.
    “Fishing from the bank has many advantages, including the fact your bank account won’t suffer when contemplating the sale of a new boat,” he said.
    Kaiser offered some tips to the bank fisherman:
    n Fish the areas where streams and rivers enter or exit.
    n Fish from the bank early in the morning and late in the afternoon for best results. However, sometimes later in the season many gamefish feeding on insects are active at midday.
    n Look for natural habitat like overhanging branches, fallen trees, submerged timber and flooded brush.
    n And, finally, get permission to fish private property.
    Kaiser said he fishes Pomme de Terre and Stockton a lot, but with all the high water this year, many of the spots he usually fishes are out of reach from the bank.
    Page 2 of 2 - “Instead of going to the lake, the lake has come to me,” he said. “During  the big Memorial Day weekend, I’ll be fishing a couple of ponds to avoid the big crowd at the lake.”
    Another good place to fish without a boat are docks where there is underwater brush. The brush makes for good fish habitat for crappie and other panfish.
    Kaiser started fishing from the bank as a 7-year-old and still finds it the best way for him to bring home fish.
    “My first fish was a big bluegill from a creek near home and that got me started,” Kaiser said. “Now, some 52 years later, I still catch a lot of fish from the bank. Never did own a boat, and I guess I never will. I get a kick out of those fishing TV shows when every fish the host catches is a ‘nice one.’ ”
    Even on the big impoundments, where big bass boats roam the lake, bank anglers catch their share of fish.
    “You need to scout the shoreline for clues to the location of shoreline fish,” said Tom Davis of Kansas City. “Everything from natural vegetation to man-made structures can attract fish, so look for them when fishing from shore.
    “I catch my share of crappie, white bass, catfish and bluegill on the big lakes when fishing from the bank. The secret is to know where and how to fish from the bank.”
    Harry Franklin, a 76-year-old angler from Jefferson City, has a hard time fishing from a boat, so he had a dock built on a small lake where he catches crappie, bluegill, bass, carp and catfish.
    “I wasn’t about to quit fishing, so I built a place where I could fish anytime I wanted to,” Franklin said. “It has worked out well. I catch as many fish as my son-in-law does and he has a $20,000 bass boat.”
    From fishing for trout at Roaring River to catching crappie, bass or bluegill from one of the lakes at the James A. Reed Area near Kansas City, bank anglers experience success without a boat.
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