By Guest Blogger: Billy the AMFisH guy
Hi, Island Lake anglers! This blog post is all about shore fishing, with a lot of tips on how to be more successful fishing from shore at Island Lake. We all usually start fishing from shore at a very young age and I remember the struggle when it came to casting without hooking into trees/branches as well as the struggle of not being able to cast out far enough, which is why I am sharing a lot of tips with all of you in hopes that this article makes shore fishing more enjoyable as well as productive with many more fish catches!
When it comes to shore fishing the simplest strategy is to use live bait and a bobber hook system, but the thing to keep in mind is some options are better than others. I am sure many of you are familiar with the standard round ball red and white coloured bobbers(see image below), that clip on to your fishing line and can be moved up and down. This would be your most basic and inexpensive fishing bobber option if you are starting out. From here if you go up a level or two there are wooden longer leaner still bobbers(see second image below), that has a spring on the lower end where the line is secured through and then tied around the top, these would be that mid level style and price bobbers. Closer to the top would be slip bobbers where the line is fed through the bobber itself and a bobber stop, as well as the bead, is used, this option would cost 4 to 5 times more than some of the lesser quality and functional options above but does offer some great benefits especially when shore fishing.
The main issue with bobber fishing from shore is snagging trees, branches, bushes and even yourself due to the length of line length that is sometimes set for fishing a specific depth. Example if you are casting into 8ft of water from shore and you see the fish are fairly deep you will need to get your bait down closer to where they are if you want to catch fish, so the issue then becomes how to cast out 3ft to 4ft off fishing line that is dangling at the end of your fishing rod. This is definitely no easy task as many shorelines including various shorelines available for fishing at Island Lake are surrounded by trees and bushes with only a narrow area to stand along. You will also want to avoid possibly hooking someone you are fishing with so always make sure everyone in that immediate area is spaced out by 10ft or more.
With the lower bobber end options where you have no choice but to cast with all that dangling line, there are a couple of tips that can help you snag fewer trees while casting. The first tip is to always cast side arm and never directly over your shoulder and head, as casting sideways allows you a clear view of how far back you have pulled your fishing rod. Trying to cast over your shoulder or head will almost result in a tree snag as there is not enough vertical room to avoid anything on the wind back for the cast.
Second tip would be to practice flipping/pitching the bait out, this means holding the line in one hand and your rod in the other, getting ready for the cast by holding the rod up high in front of you with your other hand holding the line leveled with it in front of you the with a forward pushing action you move the rod forward and let go of the line as you are doing so. This method will not create much casting distance but can be used for very targeted accurate casts to a specific target.
Now is there anything wrong with using the lower end fishing bobbers? Absolutely not! Are there advantages to using the higher end slip bobber styles? Absolutely! What the slip bobbers allow is they completely eliminate all that dangling line because of how they are setup, so without all the dangling line around you can actually cast a lot easier and possibly even cast in a slightly over your shoulder and head motion. The slip bobber is just that a bobber with a hole running through the entire bobber, this is what allows you to feed your fishing line through. Before you slide your slip bobber on your line you will want to slide on a slip bobber stop and a small plastic bead, as these two items will help complete this rig for use. (Refer to the image below which gives you a complete visual of this slip bobber rig.)
Bobber stops come in a variety of sizes, colours and materials and is quite easy to slide on to the fishing line. Below the bobber stop, you will slide on your plastic bead, now what is the purpose of this bead? Well, the bead acts as a stopping point once it touches the bobber stop itself, as well as it prevents your bobber stop from sliding down into and through your actual bobber itself. The bobber stop at the top can be moved up and down the line which is how you would adjust the depth you want to fish at.
You just slide the stopper up and down and the plastic bead and slip bobber will sit way down on your fishing line near the hook while out of the water, but when you the entire rig will hit the water where your hook with bait, sinker will immediately start to sink while you fishing bobber allows the desired depth of line to flow through it and when the depth is reached the bobber stop with catch the bead and fishing bobber in place, stopping any further line being let out. You can slide the bobber stop up and down to change your desired line depth as often as you need to and quite easily, with casting being so much easier due to very little line ever having to dangle at the end of the rod.
When it comes to fishing rod options for shore fishing, a spincast or spinning reel will serve as the best options, especially for those very tree and bush filled shorelines, as spincast reels and spinning reels allow you to cast very light baits quite easily and also allow you to cast quite far as well, which definitely helps with shore fishing. These two reel styles also work best with bobber fishing, due to the light rig you are casting out. With rod selection, a longer rod will help you cast out much further but it can also hinder you from casting if you forget to follow some of the above-mentioned tips, so using a shorter rod in the 5 1/2 foot to 6-foot range for shore fishing along with fan casting can be a good fit.
Other things to consider with bobber fishing is to not always cast in the exact same spot over and over again, utilizing some fan casting will help you cover a lot more water and find where the fish might be a lot faster as well. Fan casting it done easiest by picturing a clock pattern on the water, where you first cast might be along the shore to your left at 9 o’clock, then your second cast will be at 10 o’clock and so on right over to 3 o’clock. By casting this way when space is available you are covering a large portion of water over several casts, not just the same spot again and again so your chances or catching a fish increase drastically by utilizing fan casting.
Once you have done fan cast’s on a large area from left to right you can then continue down the shoreline casting this same way which can lead you to find and catch even more fish, so the key is not to stay and cast at one specific spot all day long, move around the shoreline where you can and cover as much water as possible, this will help you get into more fish. With fish constantly moving around throughout the day, it only makes sense for us to move and try to find more fish. which is why I say we should be moving around as well.
Now if you are a more advanced angler you can use any style reel you like using and due to those advanced fishing skills you can leverage all the different ways of casting with those really long fishing rods and baitcasting reels. If you also fish with more artificial baits you can definitely apply some of the same tips listed above but can also benefit from the weight of some of the artificial baits that will allow you to make much farther casts. Fan casting is by far one of the best tips I can share for shore fishing of any kind, as the key to finding and catching fish in exactly that finding where they are to catch them. Learning to move around a lake and fish from all the shore lines you are allowed to fish from is the way to do it if you are looking for more productive fishing days.
Using baits like spinner baits, inline spinners, swimbaits, spoons and lipless crankbaits will allow you to cast quite far while fan casting and definitely help you find any roaming fish because these baits fall into the search bait category for making several casts in hopes that you come across fishing moving around that are more aggressive or are out feeding. When it comes to how much fishing tackle to take out with you while shore fishing try to create a go to bait box just for shore fishing, this way you can avoid dragging out your large tackle box and all that extra weight. Simplest thing to do is build a smaller tackle tray that contains some of your high confidence baits that have caught you fish on Island Lake before, this way you can have this smaller tray in a day pack that will be quite light in weight. If you are using live bait be sure to always keep it in a shady area while fishing, as leaving worm containers out in the hot sun will definitely kill most of your bait off, so a cooler shade filled area is best for live bait.
The worst thing if you are planning to move around while shore fishing is having to lug around a lot of fishing gear, one to two fishing rods at most and a small day backpack with one tackle tray, some food/snacks, water, your pliers, small fishing towel for your hands and you are ready for that shore fishing outing! There are many times where more might work best but with shore fishing, it’s best to approach it is a much more simple manner by taking out minimal tackle. You will be more organized this way and a lot happier that you are not lugging around a huge tackle box that is bouncing off the side of your leg while moving around from spot to spot.
You can truly have some great success fishing from shore if you also some of the best areas and times to fish, which usually apply to when fishing in a boat as well. On really hot days like we have had this season you will want to make sure you are casting out as far as possible, into more deeper water as fish will move to the depths on these hot days seeking cooler waters. Early morning and dusk can also be great times to catch fish from shore as these are sometimes very key fishing times, due to a high level of feeding activity that takes place. If you have ever noticed there is usually a lot of nature activity taking place during the early morning and late evening, with bugs flying around landing on the water, bats flying around, water birds feeding on the surface, which are all signs of high nature activity taking place which makes for some good fishing as those monster size fish will also be out and about cruising the shallows for a meal. There will always be fish feeding somewhere on a lake and this is usually happening throughout the day so these times are never carved in stone they are just a guide for high activity nature times.
Shore fishing is quite easy to do, comes with very minimal costs and can be done from most lakes in Ontario Canada, with Island Lake being the focus of this post there is a very long stretch of shorelines that can be fished on the main side of Island Lake. Some great areas are even located right around the boat rental facility so be sure to walk around the immediate parking lot shoreline to check it out. Because I am a huge promoter of taking care of Mother Nature I will end this post touching on no leaving any discarded waste behind while shore fishing. I have actually shore fished at Island Lake many times and I have also collected a full plastic bag of items that were left behind, like huge tangles of fishing line, soft plastic baits that are all torn up, pop can’s, wrappers and plastic water bottles, there is no need to leave out garbage behind especially at a conservation park like Island Lake that has a variety of garbage/recycling bins available so please do your part to keep our water ways clean by bringing along a separate bag for any garbage and dispose of it accordingly at the end of your fishing outing.
Hope you all found some value in this post and feel more prepared for your next shoreline adventure…tight lines everyone!
The AMFisH guy…tight lines!
LEARN more: www.amfish.ca