Kim Bain upends her bank walking backpack and tells us what she carries when after cod and bass.
Walking the bank is serious fishing business and I’m always keen to get some mud in my tread. Everything you need will fit in a backpack: lots of water, a first aid kit, lures and one or two rods.
As far as clothing goes you should be conscious of protecting yourself from the sun with a hat. Sunglasses are also a must. Not only will they help you see more fish but they will protect your eyes from flying trebles and spring loaded tree branches. Many of my friends and family have started wearing clear lenses in sunglasses frames (often prescription) at dusk, dawn and at night.
I have a box of cod lures and a box of bass lures and I usually only take one depending on where I am fishing. The cod box sees time in my pack out west, and the bass box is used when I’m walking the banks of eastern rivers and lakes. In each box I carry several easy-to-use lures and that are less likely to snag up and can be used at a variety of depths.
Two of my favourite ways to fish are with soft plastics on lead heads and spinnerbaits. Soft plastics are pretty cheap and you can work them from the top to the bottom depending on your retrieve rate. Spinnerbaits are one of the most snag resistant lures and it’s always nice to not to lose too many lures or to have to retie lures constantly.
Topwater lures can be a bank walker’s best friend. If a lure does get snagged you can usually see it and simply unsnag it, and surface strikes are out of this world. Many bank walkers only resort to lures that cover the depths after first trying topwater lures.
Walk-the-dog style surface lures are a must. In most snagless situations with heavy vegetation, having a few surface frogs can be the difference between being able to fish in a weed clogged stream or going home frustrated.
Shallow runners and deep divers will always come in handy, but remember their trebles are snag magnets. Vibration and lipless crankbait styles are good choices because they can be used to cover a wide range of depths.
I try to use as the heaviest leader that I can get away with in any situation as they help to control fish at the bankside. Leaders are more likely to get scuffed and nicked when bank fishing so some extra line diameter is often a good idea and a bit of lighter leader should still be carried. Your lighter leader should be 6-10lb in bass country and 20lb in cod country. I like using 15-20lb leader when chasing bass and I love it when cod munch lures tied to my 50lb leaders, but 30-40lb will do.
I also use a bogagrip to control fish at the bankside. I’m a big fan of bogas as you can avoid any nasty trebles, support the fish under its belly and stop it from thrashing around on the beach. Bogas always make it easy to release fish.
My spin rod’s mainline is usually around 15lb braid and my cod baitcaster carries 30-50lb braid. If I am going frog fishing I tie the 80lb braid directly to the lure. We cracked the frog code for cod last summer and experienced some awesome sessions – I’ll only ever take Super Swamp Frogs when walking the bank for cod now.
Your rod choice will depend on where you’re fishing; some spots suit long rods up to 7’ long while others suit 5’ sticks. It also depends on the lures, the retrieve techniques and how far you will be walking. In some cases 3 piece travel rods are the go, especially if you don’t want to look like you are going fishing as you walk down the main street or park of a country town.
I think finding spots to walk the bank is a lot easier these days. Stocked lakes with adjacent parklands offer lots of easy to find locations and many organisations publish public access maps. You might need to get up early in the morning when other anglers are still asleep to get the best of these locations.
Cod spots are often easy to find in country towns. Local stocking groups encourage visitors, and stores such as garages, tourist information, sports stores, accommodation and even the pub are great way to source up to date information – so go get ‘em!Reads: 831