Fishing from Shore
Shore fishing offers many opportunities for anglers. You can fish from the banks of rivers and streams, the shorelines of inland lakes and ponds, and in the surf on the Atlantic, Pacific coasts. You can also fish from manmade structures such as piers, jetties, walkways, and bridges.
Shore fishing is available to everyone, even large family and club groups. And because there's no boat to own or rent, it's low in cost.
Although some species of fish are rarely caught by shore anglers, there are still plenty of other species available to shore anglers. For example, free-swimming ocean fish are not found close to shore. Others like deep-dwelling lake trout are not often caught by shore anglers. Fish commonly caught by shore anglers include species that live near structure (bass, northern pike, sunfish, and stream trout) and those that feed on the bottom (carp, catfish, suckers, perch and walleye).
One big advantage of shore angling is that almost everyone has some body of water near home that offers fishing.
Lakes and Ponds
Many lakes and ponds have shoreline structure such as docks, logs, stump fields, brush and rock piles, and downed trees. Such things, which provide shelter, shade, and protection for fish, are ideal fishing spots. The best locations may be remote and far from roads.
Rivers and Streams
Rivers and streams are also good places to fish, especially those with structure such as islands, sand bars, rocks or rock piles, and log jams within casting distance of shore. Many anglers fishing shallow rivers combine shore fishing with shallow-water wading. Being able to fish from the middle of a stream lets you cast to more structure. Remember, most fish face the flow of water and wait for food to come to them.
Fishing the Surf
Surf fishing is a special type of shore fishing. Surf anglers either fish from the shore or wade into the shallow waters along the coasts. Usually, there's little visible structure, so surf fishermen must learn to "read" the water to detect shallow sloughs, pockets, tide rips, and other areas where fish may be present.
Fishing piers are structures that extend into the water for a few dozen feet or as much as several hundred feet. Piers may be just above the surface or as much as 20 to 30 feet above the water. Piers let anglers get their baits and lures farther out into the water than a cast from the shore would allow. Often a pier is built with rock piles or other structure next to it to attract fish. Even if this structure is absent, the pier pilings attract fish. Some of the best fishing is often right under a pier.
Breakwaters and Jetties
Walkways and Bridges
Breakwaters and jetties are similar to piers; they, too, extend into the water and offer a platform from which to fish. Most are built to protect harbor areas and boat slips from the wave action of the open ocean or a lake. Those designed for fishing have rocks arranged so that they're flat on top. When fishing breakwaters and jetties that aren't flat on top, use extra caution.
Walkways are like piers, but are specially built fishing platforms that are near or run parallel to bridges, piers, shoreline bulkheads, or similar structures. An example is a walkway along a bridge, but constructed at a lower level. This keeps anglers safe from auto traffic and puts them closer to the water.
Fishing isn't always allowed from bridges because of the danger from traffic. Bridges where angling is permitted must be fished carefully.