Bassin’ from the Bank

2009-05-10 00:00

WELCOME, bass maniacs! In this edition of Information Bass, I will be focusing on a commonly overlooked population of anglers — the bank anglers. I have been receiving a large amount of correspondence from these anglers who have felt somewhat neglected by the lack of information pertaining to this facet of the sport. I would obviously need the luxury of an entire book to completely satisfy this missing link, but by the end of this column, I should have at least covered the basics.

The first aspect to successful bass fishing from the bank is understanding when and why bass use the banks. Time of day is the most crucial factor. Bass will move up on the banks early and late in the day to capitilise on the low light conditions. This allows them to ambush confused baitfish and hunt shallow areas that are normally affected by high sun. Overcast weather conditions also help, so concentrate your efforts as early or as late in the day as possible. This is your first step to catching more bass from the bank.

In these low light hours, use baits that you can cover water with as fast as possible, such as topwaters, spinnerbaits and jerkbaits.

As the light levels increase, slow down slightly to Texas rigged worms and weightless flukes. Try and spend some time fishing what you cannot see with a heavy Carolina rig. Cast out as far as possible and work your bait back to the bank methodically, paying attention to the bottom contour and the bottom cover. This technique will undoubtedly produce results when the sun is high and the fish have moved off to the break lines. The best cover to target when available is vegetation. Baitfish concentrate in these areas and bass congregate nearby. A weightless fluke or floating rapala is a sure bet for fishing vegetation. Albert Falls and Midmar have vast areas of submerged vegetation available to bank anglers, so use these areas as your starting point. These dams also have deeper banks with timber available. These banks are great winter areas and should be fished slowly with a Texas or mojo rigged worm. When Texas-rigging the timber, use a six- to eight-inch ribbon tail worm and target the timber from different angles until you get results. When you are fishing the steeper banks, probe the contours with a mojo or Carolina rig by casting parallel to the bank and progressively casting deeper until you find the magic depth, then take note and repeat.

Fishing from the bank can be challenging as you do not have depth sounders or GPS to rely on. However, being aware of your surroundings and topography will help distinguish what other bank anglers may not. For instance, look at the chosen bank you are fishing: the slope of the bank or contour change will follow through into the water, providing a depth change for bass to hone in on. If you can see erosion on the bank caused by an old feeder stream, you are guaranteed to find this same channel carved out below the surface as well, so fish these areas with intent.

On to a quick feedback session, I fished Albert Falls this past week and had pretty good success with a shallow diving crankbait and a jerkbait over grassy banks in six-eight feet of water in the Pelican Bay and West Street areas.

Local angler Zayne Kemp also reported a successful day on the lake this past week, pitching dark coloured jigs into standing timber, proving that more than one pattern of fishing is available at the moment. Tim’s Trees and Brian’s Bay were his areas of choice — Thanks, Zayne!

I have not fished Inanda for a while, but will be there a few days this week pre-fishing for the upcoming BETT, so will report back.

So get on the lake and catch some fish. Remember, release your catch alive to prolong the sustainability of our resource.

E-mail me with bass fishing reports and questions at zorthewitt@hotmail.com

 

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