Making the Most of Docks
By angelamontana


For those of you headed out fishing and interested in tips, take a look at what the Angler Edge suggests via fishhound.com below. What are your thoughts?

Dock fishing is among the most popular tactics anglers use to pursue their favored game. In the majority of the country, docks offer the most consistent high-percentage opportunities for catching bass. Take a closer look at an angler working a dock, and one can come to the conclusion that the majority of what the dock has to offer has been missed. Usually working a dock means flipping or pitching a soft plastic or jig to the front corners of a dock and moving quickly down the line to the next. Having patience and slowing down to see the entire dock for each pole, edge and shade, and working those areas can greatly improve an already promising pattern.

In dark water bass will cling to dock posts for a sense of security, they have been known to put their nose directly on the post as an assurance that they are near a structure. Depending on the depth of the water, the post could be five feet or twenty-five feet long, a lunker could be stretched out anywhere along that post. Opt for a pitched jig here. Depending on the depth anything as light as ¼ oz. to 3/8oz will work fine. For deep water, the 1/4oz will assure accuracy and a slow fall to give any bass on the stretch a chance to strike. In shallow water, the 3/8oz jig will have a slow enough fall to give the bass a look, but fast enough to allow more casts and to work more posts.

On bright or cloudy days, bass will use whatever shade they can find to blur their edges to create an ambush point. The main targets here are the edges of the docks between the posts that cast a shadow underneath the visible dock. Here, opt for a soft plastic that has a little more width allowing more visibility in a wider area of the dock. A favorite is a wacky-rigged senko, nail weighted if the situation calls for it. Just like the jig on a post, pitch the senko using light tackle just to the edge of the dock and let it fall, expecting the strike before it hits bottom.

Another main target of a dock is directly underneath, the darkest and most shaded area. Getting a presentation here can be tricky, it requires an angler to skip a lure across the water to softly and quietly sink below the water crest. This area is most productive on the brightest, hottest, and clearest of days. Being directly underneath the dock does not give bass as much of a vantage point for ambush like the edge of a dock, yet, on those scorching bluebird days, this is just about the coolest shallow water that also offers strategic shade on the lake. Skip a jig or soft plastic underneath the visible dock to trigger strikes from giants in the dark.

Shade is always on the edges and underneath docks, but seldom do anglers think of the shadow a dock casts past it’s vicinity. As mentioned earlier, bass will use any shade to break their natural edges and darken their shadow to camouflage themselves from unsuspecting prey. On bright days a dock can cast a shadow five feet more than anglers can see. Pay attention to the position of the sun and make a well-educated guess as to which direction the shadow has been cast. Pick up a jig and chunk or a baitfish imitator to work these seldom-worked areas.

Depending on the lake, distances between docks can vary but these gaps should not be ignored. Bucket-mouths will cruise between docks in search of one that produces the best forage. Fishing these spaces can offer bonus fish to the angler who is willing to take a moment and work each space. Use power-baits appropriate for the time of year to increase chances of boating a bonus lunker. A jerkbait, bladed jig, squarebill, texas rig, or a craw imitator can all be efficient in their perspective times of year.

Working every angle and opportunity a dock offers may actually require an angler to lean off the trolling motor and keep the boat in place to present to those hard to reach and often un-thought of places. Working poles, edges, and casted shade will not only improve the amount of fish caught, it could also improve the size of fish caught, and even narrow down a current pattern to increase the angler’s efficiency of time on the water. Pick up a heavy rod and light spinning tackle, see the dock for it’s entirety, and pick apart each target area to hone in on where the slaunches are taking residence.

(Feature photo via heresheather.com)






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