Trekking a shoreline and casting for crappie and yellow perch is a springtime ritual for many. The simplicity of this style of fishing can't be beat. Having certain equipment and gear can make for a more enjoyable experience and lots of landed panfish. Here are a handful of my spring shore fishing must-haves.
- A pair of 16- or 17-inch insulated rubber boots or waterproof hunting boots like the RedHead Expedition boots will keep your feet dry when tramping through flooded paths common around lakes and rivers in spring. It also makes landing fish easier from shore. Fishing waders are another option.
- A waist or a chest pack is handy to carry tackle and gear. These fishing-specific items deliver superior functionality thanks to smart designs and plenty of compartments. A fishing vest like the Bass Pro Shops Tournament fishing life vest is another option.
- Quality catch and release tools will also make your life easier. These include fishing pliers and fishing forceps. Don't forget scissors or clippers for cutting line.
- I use one of two spinning rods for shoreline adventures. The first is a two-piece 6'6" light-power model. Breaking down this rod to a compact 39 inches makes hiking through dense brush an easier task and reduces the odds of breaking a tip compared to a longer, one-piece. When footpaths are clear, I carry a medium-light 7'6" model. The extra length boosts casting distance. The long reach is also handy for mending line and working floats.
- Flip mitts and fingerless fishing gloves are other items I won't leave the house without on cool days. Pack an extra pair. A towel to dry wet hands is also convenient.
- Polarized sunglasses are another essential. They cut down on glare and let you see potential fish-holding structure and cover, such as drop-offs, weed edges, rocks and sand patches, so you can cast to these high-percentage spots with accuracy.
I carry a wide-assortment of panfish-sized fishing baits for shoreline action. Some favorites include:
- Floating and sinking minnows
- 1/32- to 1/8-ounce jig heads
- Minnows, nymphs, tubes, grubs, paddletails and other plastics and softbaits
- Crappie jigs and other hair/feather jigs
- Spin jigs and small spinnerbaits
- Floats, including illuminated ones for low-light conditions
- Assorted terminal tackle, including: split shots, snaps, swivels, bobber stops, etc.