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  • Writer's pictureRealReel Fishin

Freshwater Fishing from Banks/Shore vs. a Boat

When you think of freshwater fishing from a boat the first thing that comes to mind is often a bass boat. The slender profile, speed, and sparkling paint job makes these boats irresistible to most freshwater fishermen, but they may not always be the best choice. It is also important to remember that fishing on the water can be done with a few different modes of transport, so let's break down the pros and cons of each as we compare them to shore fishing.

Shore Fishing

Fishing From The Banks/Shore


  • Close to covered areas where fish find shelter

  • Non disruptive to the aquatic environment

  • Great for small bodies of water that do not allow boating

  • Get fishing faster! No need to spend time preparing a boat.


  • Risk of snagged lines in heavily forested areas

  • Areas with minimal shore line due to thick foliage

  • Traveling the entire shore is time consuming

  • There may be central areas that are too far to cast to

Fishing from shore is a classic and it probably brings back memories of your fist fishing trips. Snagged lures, thorns, and bugs may be some of the less enjoyable parts of that memory, but it is all part of the challenge and charm of fishing from banks/the shore. The size of the body of water you are fishing as well as the species you are after can impact your success with bank/shore fishing, so let's talk about fishing from the water. We will start small.

Kayaks, Paddle boards, & Row Boats

Kayak Fishing


  • Navigating both shallow and deeper areas

  • Minimal disruption to the aquatic environment

  • Ability to avoid areas with visible snagging hazards

  • Access to areas of shoreline that are too pressured by foliage to be fished from shore


  • Focus is split between fishing and navigation

  • Less room to maneuver when landing a fish

  • Physically demanding

Kayaks, Paddle boards, and row boats are the smallest forms of transportation when fishing on the water and none of them have a motor. This makes them great for quietly sneaking into those tight and shallow areas where your next catch may be hiding out. If you aren't splashing around with the paddles too much then fish are less likely to be spooked giving you to catch them right in their territory.

For most catches you will have a good fight and then land your fish without tipping over, but if you plan to target larger species that put up a good fight and maybe even have some sharp teeth then be very careful. You may be able to stand your ground on the shore, but the lighter and smaller your vessel is the more likely you will be pulled and drift while that big catch is on your line. If you manage to pull in something toothy, like a large gar or pike, the little space you have will put you in close proximity to those teeth, so if you are looking for a more intense catch consider a more intense boat.

Sports fishing Boats

Bass Boat Fishing


  • They are literally built to have space for everything an angler could need

  • The slim profile provides access to some shallow areas

  • Live wells

  • Casting decks that make it possible to cast in all directions


  • The motor disturbs the aquatic environment, possibly spooking your next catch

  • The body of water must be fairly large and allow boating

  • Time and money spent to prep, maintenance, and fuel up

Imagine fishing the entirety of a large pond or lake easily and efficiently with all of the gear you could possibly need. That is the reality of using a sports fishing boat on your next fishing trip. It does sound like an anglers dream, but you should be ready for some commitment.

If you are looking to buy a bass boat of some sort it will cost you a pretty penny and when you take it out on the water plan on spending a good amount of time out there. Even if you are going out on a rented boat or with a guide your time on the water won't be cheap, but it will absolutely be memorable!

Large Freshwater Charters

Charter Boat Fishing


  • Travel to the deepest sections of large bodies of freshwater

  • No need to focus on navigation

  • Fish with more friends

  • Ease of transport in rougher waters


  • Unable to access shallow areas

  • Casting from high above the water which adds difficulty in landing a catch

  • Needs to be scheduled ahead of time

Freshwater Charters can come in many sizes, but on the rare occasion you may find one that looks large enough to be in the ocean. These are typically found in large lakes and in some countries they may even be used in large rivers. If you are looking to land a monster fish like a giant sturgeon, or you are after a species that gravitates towards the deepest areas of a body of water then consider a charter.

You will have to put a good amount of planning into this form of fishing, but if an intense and exciting day out on the water is something you’d like to experience then scope out some areas with charters!

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