The weather's finally starting to warm up, and the fish are coming up out of their nests. It's time to bring out the rods and put together a fishing strategy for the season.
One thing that all fishers can agree on is that being out fishing is far better than just about anything else in life. Pack a cooler, grab your favorite rods, and spend your day casting away in your own personal paradise.
A common topic of debate, however, is whether you should be shore fishing or boat fishing.
Now, a lot you may not have a boat, to begin with, or you're perfectly happy using your buddy's and letting him take care of all of the maintenance.
However, for those of you who do have access to a boat, you’ve probably wondered what, if any advantages boat fishing has to offer over shore fishing when it comes to the actual fish that you catch (few people would deny that an afternoon on a boat is a great way to spend an afternoon).
Both forms of fishing offer their own benefits and drawbacks which we’ll go into momentarily, but first, let’s answer one of the most common questions we get asked by first-time anglers...
If you're just learning how to fish, and you're still getting the hang of how to cast, and how to catch fish in general, then you should start on the shore.
When you’re on a boat, your margin for error is much smaller. If you over or under-cast, then your fellow boat mates will be in the direct line of your flailing hooks flying through the air. For this reason alone, you should perfect your cast on the safe shores where the local trees and bushes will be your only victims.
So let’s say you’re not a rookie anymore. You know how to cast, you know what type of bait to use, and you know to stand facing the sun (so you don’t cast a shadow).
So you ask, “which is better, and will get me more fish?”
When comparing shore vs. boat fishing, the main difference is going to be in the size of fish that you catch. Generally speaking, smaller, less experienced fish tend to stay close to the shore and away from the hungry jaws of the larger predators that lurk in the depths.
One of the most arguable boat fishing benefits is that it allows you to get out to the middle of the river or lake and have the chance of landing you a trophy catch. The problem is that trophy fish are a lot harder to catch.
They’re big, smart, and know the difference between a fake lure and a real fish. So you’re most likely going to spend a lot more time casting and a lot less time reeling in a fish. However, going out on a boat allows you to reach a lot of places that you would never be able to reach from the shore (small creeks, marshes, etc.).
Another thing that you have to keep in mind with boats is that they make a lot of noise. Unless you have a small electric fishing motor, you run the risk of scaring away all of the fish within a square mile. You will need to cut the motor and anchor for a while if you want the fish to come back to the general vicinity.
The great thing about shore fishing is that you can do it anywhere. Whether it’s your backyard pond or the river down the street, you don’t have to worry about hitching up a boat, packing extra gear, and refueling. Simply drive or walk around till you find a good spot and start casting.
The other benefit of shore fishing is that you're likely to catch more fish. This is because there are more fish by the shore. Younger, smaller fish stay away from the deep waters where they would be easy prey for big bass. These fish also lack the intelligence of their larger counterparts, making them easier to bait.
At the end of the day, shore fishing and boat fishing are two very different experiences. Both have their own benefits and drawbacks, and it depends on the individual. If you want that big fish to hang on your wall, you've got a better chance on a boat. However, if you're just looking to have some fun and reel in the normal-sized fished, then shore fishing is just fine and is a lot more simple.