Bank fishing has a great appeal. It’s generally easy to read, there’s lots of it, and for much of the year there are fish on it somewhere.

But, because we consider most banks as shallow, we sometimes fall into the trap of fishing shoreline is if it were as flat as that map they handed out at the front gate.

That brochure may be two-dimensional, but that’s not really the case with the water it portrays. Bank fishing may be working “the shallows,” but it’s still three-dimensional even on a shoreline that mildly slopes from the edge of the water to five feet or so.

We all know this, of course. But we also tend make a lot of assumptions about how much focus we put into each segment. For one, in a pocket two or three boat lengths wide, we often figure two or three casts with a noisy topwater should get a bite if there’s a fish in there. With a hot troll motor and two partners casting, there’s barely time for second rod to get a cast in.

And because we sometimes fish with that hopeful notion that a target 50 or 100 feet ahead looks “really good,” we convince ourselves that only one good cast in front of us is sufficient to draw a strike. But isn’t the surface only one edge of a possible three? We also have the bank and the bottom as well, plus any unseen substructure.

Of course, if you have established that the bites are only coming off a certain something, then proceed. But otherwise such an approach runs contrary to what Gary Klein calls good “fish management.”  It’s managing and thereby maximizing the catchable fish from any target zone.

This doesn’t mean you can magically milk five bass out of a cut that only holds one. But it might mean that you can get two, possibly even three fish, from of one of say, every five similar pockets that typically hold more than one. Think what you might catch from 25 such stops if you were more efficient.

Probably no one is better at this on the current tournament scene as Mike Folkestad. While Mike is a great proponent for making “the cast,” the perfect presentation that draws the strike. He has also come to realize that the angle of presentation from the second rod in the boat, both in the approach to the target as well as others  made having slowly passed by, can also produce one or more additional bites.

And this method doesn’t preclude a topwater or under-spin, in addition to some kind of contour bait. But working outside in within a given segment of the bank has an advantage. By hooking and fighting a fish at either end/side, you have less chance of disturbing any other bass in the middle reaches of a pocket or section. But toss in the middle and drag one all the way out down the center, and every fish in the area is put on alert.

And the problem with this initial success of busting one out of the center, there is no way to know how much damage you may have caused–yourself.  You know what happens on a small lake. Eventually, five to 30 minutes later, another boat comes to your pocket after the fish have settled back down–and they get the ones you left there.

Don’t you hate when that happens?