A bunch of us guys were talking the other day, and somehow the subject of fishing came up. Someone commented that they would like to do more fishing, but they didn’t have a boat. That reminded me of a time when I didn’t have a boat either, but over the years I was able to acquire a “bass boat” and a canoe. Even during those early years, however, when I didn’t have any type of watercraft, I didn’t let that keep me from enjoying some great fishing. In fact, even with the canoe and boat that I have now I still do a lot of fishing without them. Don’t misunderstand; there are a lot of times that a boat, canoe or kayak are just what is needed to score on certain fish at certain times, but there are also times when a boat is not needed.
Case in point — I rarely fish in lakes for trout; I do all of my trout fishing by wading or walking along stream banks. Over the years I’ve taken hundreds of trout —all in a pair of fishing boots or waders or fishing from a stream bank. I don’t limit my “non-boat” fishing pursuits to trout only, however. I have also taken my share of both largemouth and smallmouth bass while wading streams and rivers.
One of my favorite summertime fishing endeavors is “wet wading” the Susquehanna River or one of the many medium to large streams in our area. With the lower water levels in the Susquehanna during the summer months, wading becomes more viable and in some cases even more practical. Wading sections of the river that are too shallow or rock infested for a boat or even a canoe can produce some great action. , or they go by too fast to effectively work the area over. Wading allows the angler to work the area with a variety of techniques producing some great catches. One of my most effective techniques when wading for bass is a live minnow rig fished across the rapids and behind rocks that create holding pockets for smallmouths. Minnow type lures and soft swimbaits will also produce.
Another venue the non-boat owner should look at is farm pond fishing. I have had some great largemouth bass fishing casting from the bank of a farm pond. Fishing a surface lure of some type can produce some heart-pounding strikes on the still, calm surface of a farm pond. Farm ponds are also great places to work a popper with a fly-rod. Many farm ponds are seldom ever fished making them a good choice even without a boat.
I’m getting my boat ready to hit some area lakes in the near future, but that hasn’t kept me from already scoring big on some excellent panfishing. Just last week I hit a small pond with an ultralight spinning outfit and tiny jigs and soft plastic grubs. Forty-six panfish and a little over an hour later I was headed back home. I returned all of the fish that day; but the bluegills, perch, and crappies provided some great fun and all by walking the bank of the small pond.
Even large lakes can produce some great bank fishing, especially in the early season. One lake I like to fish doesn’t allow boats on during the spring weeks, but I have had some great largemouth bass fishing by wading the shoreline and casting an assortment of jigs; even an occasional walleye shows up. There are a number of area lakes that can be very productive destinations for the bank fishermen especially for perch, bluegills, and crappies since these panfish move into shallower water to spawn during the spring days.
Sure, if possible add a boat of some type to your fishing accessories but in the meantime remember “no boat-no problem.”