It seems as if people who fish from boats always bring home the biggest fish; is it something about being out there on a boat that makes the catches bigger and more exciting?
Shore Fishing vs Boat Fishing
The real answer is more complex than the size of the catches would suggest. In fact, there are a number of reasons why one might prefer one or the other but it’s not a “one size fits all” equation.
Why Should You Fish From the Shore?
The truth is that most young anglers don’t have the kind of financial resources to buy a boat of any size, let alone one that would allow them to go out to the best fishing spots at sea and all of the expensive gear like a good trolling reel.
Because of this, many young anglers find themselves fantasizing about buying a boat because it seems as though this would improve the rate and size of their catches.
If you’re in this situation, you might be surprised by some of the distinct benefits of shore fishing, including:
- Stealth: One thing that can really spook fish is noise and movement but if you’re stealthy enough when you’re fishing from the shore, you will hardly make a noise at all. This means that you’re also less likely to scare the fish away and more likely to catch something.
Boats might be great for a lot of things but they are big, cast a shadow in the water, move around, and can make lots of noise. All of this can definitely spook the fish away. This is especially going to be the case in shallow waters where any noise from the boat is going to be heard a long way through the water and cause the fish to move away.
- Time Is Yours: You might not consider it but having a boat means that you’re also doing lots of extra things and all of this takes time. You have to maintain the boat in good condition, make sure that it’s fueled up ready to go out, and do all of the other stuff that is the domain of boat ownership.
If this isn’t really your thing, you might just prefer shore fishing instead. Time is on your side when you’re fishing from the shore. You can just get what you need, go out to the shore, and fish as time allows.
There’s no hassle and no worrying about all of the time-consuming stuff that is a big part of boat ownership. In many ways, this quiet approach suits the angling lifestyle.
- Easier to Land Fish: When you’re fishing from a boat, you need a net a lot of the time to pull the catch up and into the boat. Not only does this take more work but sometimes the net gets forgotten altogether. By contrast, if you’re fishing from the shore, you can more easily land the fish. All you have to do is reel it in. There’s no nets and no hassle this way.
Why Should You Fish From a Boat?
It might seem as though shore fishing really has the big advantage overfishing from a boat but it’s not quite that simple. There are definitely some good things about boat fishing that you need to think about if angling is your game, including:
- Range and Coverage: When you’re shore fishing, you tend to stay in the same spot for hours unless you pick up everything and walk to a new spot. When you’re boat fishing, you have miles and miles at your disposal!
If you’re not catching much in one spot from a boat, you can just motor off to a new area and re-cast. It’s easy and less tiring doing it this way. The range that a boat can cover in a single day of fishing makes it a really attractive proposition for many anglers.
- Fish Diversity: Most shore anglers tend to come home with the same types of fish because they can’t move around easily. Distance is no obstacle to boat anglers so if you think that the fish are spooked in one area, you can just go to another area.
This also means that boat anglers tend to come home with a greater diversity of fish species in their buckets. Furthermore, lots of boat anglers invest in electronic fish finders which give them lots of information that shore fishers simply don’t have access to.
What Should You Choose?
In reality, shore fishing and boat fishing are different enough that they can appeal equally to different kinds of anglers.
Fishing boats give a lot of access to fish and can cover a large range but it’s going to be a big financial investment too. Do you want to dock it, pay for service and maintenance, and register it every year? Or is it going to sit in the dry dock for much of the year while you are busy doing other things?
Shore fishing certainly offers the sort of ease and convenience that lots of anglers enjoy but it’s never going to appeal to those who enjoy covering a large fishing area and maximizing their catches.
If you’re shore fishing and still fantasize about boat fishing, one way to scratch the itch is to invest in a much smaller boat. This will ensure that you can cover more area but will not be as much of a financial burden.
Ultimately, fishing is really about what you enjoy and get the most out of. Some people see the distinct advantages to both types of angling and enjoy both differently, of course. In this sense, it’s really a highly personal decision and there is no “one size fits all” kind of solution that’s right for everyone.