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Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Boat

First thing you have to do is convince yourself to go to the fish!  As much as possible, do whatever it takes to get to good fishing spots.

I hear the questions and comments all the time:  “Where is a good place to fish from shore?”  “Where can I catch __________ (fill in blank with favorite fish), without a boat?”

I realize that in some cases those asking the question are looking for ease of access, perhaps someplace to take the kids and grandparents fishing.  However, my usual response, at least to myself, is don’t make no difference if you have a boat or not.  A good place to fish is a good place to fish, boat or no boat.  Period.  I want to be fishing the best waters for whatever species I am pursuing.  It is all just fishing!

Now, I have spent considerable time fishing from boats.  I will do that every chance I get.  But, to this day, I do not own a boat.  Oh, I intend to at some time; just have not made that leap, yet.  Until that time, I will continue to fish every chance I get, and will continue to catch a lot of fish, and big fish, of a variety of species, without a boat.

I believe that too many anglers think that not owning a boat is a disadvantage.  Afraid they limit themselves using boatlessness as an excuse.  It should not be.  As a matter of fact, there are some fishing situations where anglers without a boat will flat outfish those with boats!  Here are some strategies you can use to catch fish, even if you do not own that watercraft:

Wade In

First thing you have to do is convince yourself to go to the fish!  As much as possible, do whatever it takes to get to good fishing spots.  In some cases that will mean you have to walk.  Other cases will mean you have to whack through some brush and grass.  In a lot of cases you might have to get in the water!

With my fishing and occasional assistance doing some field work, there are times that I practically live in waders.  On average, I go through a pair of neoprene chest waders once a year.  If at all possible, buy yourself a good pair of waders and use them!  In some cases all you need to do is get a few feet off shore and you will be able to catch a lot more fish.  In other cases a little bit of wading will put you on spots you could never reach from shore.  Some of those spots boat anglers cannot reach either!

Once the weather gets hot, I have switched to breathable waders, but have found them a little pricey to burn through at a rate of one pair per year.  You might think it silly, but neoprene waders can be worn during the summer with a pair of shorts underneath.  Or, get some old tenner shoes or wading boots and just wade wet!  I have had some wonderful fishing on really hot days when we just dropped in the water when we got hot.  Caught a lot of fish doing it too.

Another tool that will get a boatless angler to more fish is some sort of float tube.  OK, OK, now I guess I am fudging if you want to call ’em belly boats.  That being the case, I have been a boat owner since high school.  If that invalidates everything I say, so be it.  I am just telling you that I have caught a darned lot of fish, big fish, a variety of species from my float tubes over the years.  One friendly reminder, you are required to at least have a PFD with you in a float tube and you should be wearing it!

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