I‘m a liberal leaning outdoorsman attempting to open the minds of right wingers to the idea that libs fish too. Anglers come from all walks of life, left, right, and center. Not everyone who fishes for bass is a redneck fond of Nascar, country music, and religiosity. Expect posts about largemouth bass fishing, techniques, reviews of lures and other products, but not any condemnable conservative rants. I hope to inspire the online angler community to dial down rhetoric which will do more harm than good to our sport.

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Tuesday, April 8, 2008

• Bank Buzzbaits

The topwater bite is almost upon us. For some, maybe it's already here. That being said, it's time to share my experience with using a buzzbait when fishing from the bank. A buzzbait can be a killer bait for a bass fisherman who fishes from the bank, but much of what I am about to say can apply to other topwater lures. As long as you can position yourself in a spot with room to cast, any topwater lure can cover quite a large area of water. Bass can always come up from deep water and slam a topwater lure in no time at all, but what I want you to focus on is the shallow stuff. Eliminating water isn't on the agenda. We're not going to be casting out into the middle of open water. We're going to narrow things down and attempt to make our approach more effective.

What do I look for? First, approach the water slowly and don't go stomping around. Watch for any movement along the bank and be prepared to cast as you walk towards a spot. You may not be able to catch spooked bass again later, so I would rather sneak up and improve my chances. I always have my buzzbait ready to cast as I walk towards a bank. Pick a bank that stretches a good distance in either direction in a fairly straight line. Also look for jagged edges, points, and corner pockets. I don't go where the bank has a lot of overhangs. Look for spots where vegetation only grows a few feet out from the bank. It doesn't have to be thick vegetation. I love fishing vegetation that has openings like lily pads. Scan the edges for anything that stands out or looks irregular. You're only going to be casting from a 5 to 40 degree angle from the bank unless everything straight out in front of you is just as flat and shallow. There's always a chance you can spook something just out of reach, so be ready to move down the bank and cast again. Quite often, you didn't scare the fish too far away.

On a straight bank with vegetation, It doesn't matter where you start as long as you visually map out that 40 degree angle to your left and right. Find your target. For example, look for a pocket of water in between vegetation very close to the bank at a distance just under your maximum casting range. Cast just beyond that spot and bring the buzzbait up churning right away. You want to surprise them and draw out a reaction strike. Do that a few times and work as close to the bank as you can without getting hung up. Then work back out towards your 40 degree angle. Switch sides and do it all over again. I like bringing the buzzbait over the same spot a few times. I can usually get a hit on the first pass along a weed line when fishing from the bank. I can't say the same thing when fishing from the boat.

When you have jagged bank edges and points, you can do two or three different things depending on where you can position yourself. You can stand right on the point and fish back along each edge or you can fish from the base working your way down from the end of that point. Again, I always like to cast a buzzbait a few feet beyond where I think the fish could be. If you can stand directly across from a point along a narrow channel, that's even better. If I'm fishing a narrow channel where the opposite bank is within casting distance, I'll cast across it at angles, but rarely straight across.

A pocket is a different entity altogether. A buzzbait might not even be the lure to use. When I find a pocket when bank fishing, I always look for good structure such as a submerged log, humps and troughs, or clumps of vegetation. I'm more apt to catch bass towards the mouth of a pocket coming in from open water and not in the back of a pocket along the bank. The wider the pocket, the better in my experience.

I never stay in one spot very long unless I keep catching fish. I am continuously walking down the bank and stopping every five to ten feet to cast again, but I do cast back the way I came to cover any fish that moved back in as I walked away. Other things I look for are banks a few feet higher than the water and creek channels. If I miss a strike, I still follow up with the buzzbait a second time. If nothing hits on the second pass, a plastic worm, especially of the Senko variety is a great follow up bait to try. Sometimes I slow the buzzbait down on the second pass. Part of the fun of bank fishing in shallow water with a topwater lure is that you can see them coming.

It just goes to show that you don't need a boat to fish for bass. Bank fishermen can draw out some very fierce strikes using topwater lures. If you can cover water from the bank like this successfully, you can take what you've learned and apply it to fishing from a boat.


Basspastor said...

I don't do a whole lot of bank fishing for bass anymore. But in my youth in Bloomington MN I used to have success with Buzzbaits from shore at Bush Lake. I never caught anything huge, but I did get a fair amount of action.

It's sad, but I don't think I even used a buzzbait once last summer.

Thomas Bridges said...

Hello Bassfishingdem,

I found your blog by accident, but found it interesting. I am a 25 year old graduate student (of theology) and also find myself in the minority of bass fisherman because I am not a conservative. I know you say this blog is not about politics, but it nice to see some liberals out there who also like bass fishing. Keep writing!


BassFishingDem said...

Thanks for your support. Drop by any time.

Kent said...

Good post - can't afford a boat - so all I do is bank fish, and I'm always looking for tips on different presentations to catch fish.

I have similar views - but I do like NASCAR. :)