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Fishing Docks


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I think the biggest issue about fishin docks is dealing with the lakeshore home owners. They put a dock in and they think the nearby lake area is their property too.

But from their perspective, they just can't stand hearing us bang their boats with baits, even though it's usually just a pontoon we're bangin with a stickworm. If you get a kick out of bangin the side of 20 foot Sea Ray cruisers with a spinnerbait you may be part of the problem.

The only solution is to develop casting skills so you don't make a lot of noise. Ya gotta be real quiet and mellow. You don't want to spook the fish and especially not spook the lakeshore owner. Of course my Dad taught me this years ago. He told me I had to be quiet starting at the moment we got up and left the house. No noise at all, all day, and I had to respect that to go fishin with him.

What's the difference between an "Environmentalist" and a "Nature Lover?"

The environmentalist already owns a lakeshore home and really doesn't want to share it. We would be the nature lovers eh?

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When there are bass under docks, there's no better way to have a good time. To me skipping baits under docks is an artform. You definately don't want to be banging your baits off of peoples boats, lifts, etc. This can be difficult as a lot of the time you only have a small gap to get your bait through. Half of the fun of it is hitting the mark and putting the bait 5 to 10 feet under a dock. I use senkos a lot. I also throw flukes, tubes, and frogs. My best luck fishing docks has come during mid-summer on hot sunny days.

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Docks can be some of the best structure on the lake. Yes structure. Anything in the water is structure. I think that most people fish to close to docks. I have been on the water many times and have seen guys sitting right next to the dock. Being so close to the dock is going to make the fish either move or just not bight. Like Beeflover said no noise is the best thing. Making everything seem natural when your lure is under that dock will help you catch more fish.

I like green pumpkin and junebug senkos. Black/Blue and Green Pumpkin Jigs and a 4 in worm cool.gif

As for dealing with dock owners, you just have to respect them and just keep fishing, Most of the people that live on lakes theses days don’t fish or understand it, So just move on and keep fishing. There has been times were I have been out fishing and someone has been out side and I’ve ask them if it was aright to fish under there dock. Most of the time they will say yes, because no one else has ever asked them. Just something to try. wink.gif

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I love fishing docks and thier is almost nothing I would not throw at them. For the most part I use almost any plastic rigged weightless, jig/pig, and various cranks. I like to look for docks with deep water as close to the end as possible and the docks with the most clutter and platforms around them. I also like to keep a good amount of distance between the dock and boat.

Ill never fish a dock if people are on it sunbathing or whaterver, not because the fish are probably gone but I think its rude. If people are in their yard and they stop to watch I usually give a friendly wave or "hello" but I dont think I need to ask permission. If anyone ever gives me grief with out any reason Ill usually work my way to the next dock without acknowledging them. I have a right to fish "their" shoreline but its not worth arguing over. Though every once and awhile you get the guy that is just looking for an argument.

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I have to agree with the both of you on this one. There is tons of structor that a fisherman can be hitting around the dock. For myself, i have found it that when i am working a set of docks, I would work the outter areas of the dock before i even get close to the dock. By doing this, if there is fish around the outside parts of the dock, if your in tight, your not going ot be able to hit them fish.

When I start pitching the docks, working with very slow presentation is key for myself. Hitting all the darken spots is another key component when fishing docks.

I perfect flipping senkos, tubes, a creator bait, or the one and only Jig.

And like everyone else has stated, if there are people in the area, stay away. If you are fishing that dock and there around, dont ignore them, say hi. Good Luck Fishing

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Docks can be some of the best structure on the lake. Yes structure. Anything in the water is structure.

You are wrong. Structure is a term that describes a change in the bottom contour of a body of water. COVER refers to objects in a body of water that fish may possibly use to ambush prey or rest. Examples would be docks, logs, vegetation, etc. Don't worry you're not the first person to make this mistake nor will you be the last.

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looks like this post is beginning to be hijacked. I will add to the fuel of technicality to say do i have medium action rod or medium power rod with a fast action. i still think we should start a bass fishing or just fishing in general glossary page. ike

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Cover/Structure whatever...

I love skipping docks. Pretty much use a tube, but have been known to skip flukes, creature baits, and a jig of sort. I also like shallow running cranks casting parallel to said dock and if possible bumping a pole or tire.

Also, ever notice that the docks that have tires hold bass around the tire. Even if it's a plastic tire it's just a lil place to ambush passing sunny.

Docks can make or break a day. One dock can dish out a few bass while the next 20 docks won't have any. So yes it pays to pay attention to that particular dock that produced and mimic it - easier said than done I know. Especially if you don't know the lake.

However, I have caught a nice 17.5" bass in under a foot of water under a pontoon that was pulled to shore. I just casted under there because it was the closest target and wham. I really didn't think a nice bass would be in a lil shallow spot like that.

Sun, weeds, rock, stumps, braches, and baitfish all up the % that make said bass want to be there.

Great, now I've to day dream about open water and bass opener. tongue.gif

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Hiya -

What amazes me about docks is how fish will hold in the exact same position on the same dock, sometimes year after year. I fish a series of docks on the lake my cabin's on, and the same docks and lifts have been there for years. I know if I skip a bait between the pontoon float and the right side of the Merc 50, and don't clang it off the pontoon, i'll get hit more often than not. Some docks, although they look good, are just duds, even though there are docks on either side of them that are consistent as can be. I still fish 'em to keep 'em honest, and once in a while catch a fish, usually a small one, more often a rock bass, but it's just something to do as I go from one good dock to the next. On the same lake there's a spot I call "Smallmouth Island" which is really a yellow swim raft. If you drop a stickbait next to it, you're going to catch a smallie. I bet I caught a dozen or more off it last summer. Rarely do I catch them anywhere else in the area - there are largemouth spots within a cast length on 3 sides of it - but they love that stupid raft. It's something I've noticed with muskies over the years, but with docks especially, it's not just the exact spot that shows fish, it's the exact same cast...it's wierd.


Rob Kimm

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I believe rock would be bottom type not necessarily structure. A rock reef would be structure. But a big stand up boulder on a rock reef would be cover.

Structure is changes in depth. You could have a huge flat with a rock bottom. Then a break off this flat would be the structure.

Cover is anything other than the bottom material.

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back on the subject boys.. Here is an article by our own Wayne EK(Agape)


Over-fished or under-fished


I sometimes think that a dock is the only piece of structure on a lake that is over-fished and under-fished at the same time. On any given weekend you can see bass anglers pounding the docks. They may be fishing for fun or fishing in a tournament, but the docks will get hit hard. At the same time a majority of these anglers are under-fishing the docks. They come up to the dock, make a couple of flips, casts or pitches and then speed off to the next dock. I’ve even seen angler’s catch a bass off a dock and still move on to the next dock, never revisiting the area that just gave up a fish.

As a fishing guide in West Central Minnesota and a fanatical tournament angler, I get to spend almost every day on the water. Seeing other anglers speed-fish down a row of docks is a common occurrence in my area. I think there are a couple of reasons that people fish through docks so quickly. One reason is that there are so many docks to fish. Some lakes have a staggering number of docks, boatlifts and pontoon boats. I believe angler’s see all these potential fish holding targets and feel they have to hit every single one of them! The second reason; we hear, see and read so much about professional tournament angler’s fishing fast or power-fishing. A lot of professional angler’s do fish fast, but fast fishing is not sloppy fishing. You can bet that these professionals slow down when they hit a productive dock or shoreline that’s holding productive docks. By slowing down and fishing the docks thoroughly these professionals will wring every last bass off a section of docks or a single dock, and so should you.

What makes one dock or a section of docks more productive than others? I don’t think there is an easy ABC answer to this one. However, there are some things that I look for when I’m targeting docks on a new lake. I like docks that sit on a quick breaking shoreline. A good lake map will help you find these areas. Or if you see a section of docks, and they are all really short, just sticking out into the lake one or two sections, that’s a really good indication of a quick breaking shoreline. I like docks that have submergent vegetation around them. And any clustering of docks/boat lifts, such as marina’s, resorts or lake association docks seem to hold more fish than just a single dock. I think docks along shallow sterile shorelines, without submergent or emergent vegetation are usually a waste of time and energy.

You don’t have to fish every dock to see if they hold fish. On clear lakes I will put the trolling motor on high and cruise down a set of docks, not even fishing, just looking. I’m looking for small sunfish, bluegills or any bass. It has been my experience that a dock holding “gills” will also hold bass. It’s a quick way to eliminate some unproductive water.

As a general rule, the sunnier and calmer the day, the tighter fish will hold to the docks. Usually the dock bite will be better in the late morning to late afternoon. On cloudy days, the fish will be more prone to roam away from the docks. Actually, when it’s rainy or cloudy the areas in between the docks may hold more bass than the docks themselves. All docks are somewhat different in design, but there are a couple of high percentage areas (for bass) that you should look for. Anytime there is a pontoon boat tied to a dock, under that pontoon is a high percentage area. When a boat or pontoon sits on a lift, right behind the motor will be a washout hole, created when the owner’s power the boat/pontoon off or onto the lift; another high percentage spot. Some docks will have fish cages or bait-boxes hanging on them (large screen boxes to hold fish or bait) these boxes rarely sit on the bottom of the lake, so there is a space between the bottom of the box and the lake bottom; another very high percentage point. And last, any ladder coming off the dock into the water has the potential to hold a bass or two.

If I had to use just one rod to fish docks (thank God I don’t) it would be a 5’6” to 6’ medium heavy spinning rod, with a size 30 spinning reel, loaded with a quality-braided line. This is a great rod to skip docks with and you can still pitch the corners or hit the open water between docks with this rig. When working a dock pattern I like to have 3 rods rigged for different purposes. My first rod will be a spinning rod/reel combination that I use for skipping under docks and pontoons. Even though I field-staff for Quantum, it’s a rod made by Falcon Rods. The rod is a (FS-6-156) 5’6” MH, rated for 8-15 lb. test line. I believe the rod was a specialty rod, made for float tube fishermen. I do not know if it is still in production. For a reel, I use the Quantum Catalyst 30. At first this may seem like too large a reel for this size rod, but this wide spooled reel seems to allow the line to flow off the spool more smoothly than a smaller reel. This allows me to make skip casts that go way back under docks and pontoons. The second rod is a bait-casting rig I use for most of my flipping and pitching. For the past couple of years I’ve been using Quantum’s PTC666F, which is a 6’6” medium heavy action with a fast taper, rated for 12-25 lb. lines. The fast taper on this rod allows you to make very accurate pitches to targets, and the butt section has the power to handle braided line and move any fish out away from the docks. I matched this with the new Tour Edition PT reel (the Burner) with 7:1:1 gear ratio, which picks up line lightening fast and handles like a dream. My third rod is usually a spinner-bait or buzz-bait rod used to fish the open water areas between docks. I’ve been using the Quantum PTC706F, which is a 7’ medium heavy, with a fast taper. Last year I used the Energy E600PT (6:2:1 gear ration) on this rod. This year I’m going to use the Dean Rojas signature series rod (PTC706FDR), which is a 7’ medium-heavy, fast tapered rod that was designed as an all-purpose “frog rod”, but Kermit will have to wait as I’ll be tossing buzzers or spinner-baits with this rod. I’m going to use the new Energy PT Burner on this rod also.

I spool a quality-braided line on all the rods mentioned. If I’m fishing very clear water I’ll use a back-to-back uni-knot to attach a fluorocarbon leader to the braid on my skipping rod. Otherwise I use just straight braid.

I keep my lure selection very simple. On the skipping rod (spinning) I use an Eagle Claw (Shaw Grigsby) HP hook in 3/0 size. For plastics I use a Lake Fork Ring Fry. And for a little additional weight I will place a Water Gremlin Bull Shot sinker in size 1/32 just in front of the HP hook. The sinker gives the rig a little more weight for skipping and the cone shape of the sinker helps the rig to climb over all the obstructions associated with dock fishing. For the pitching rod I stick with a Denny Brauer Premier Pro-Model jig, by Strike King Lures, in ½ ounce, matched with a 3X Denny Brauer Chuck for a trailer. And finally on the blade/buzzer rod I like to use an Accent Fishing Products buzz-bait called the “High Rider Buzz B-2”, which has counter rotation blades behind foam floats, which gives it added buoyancy. This allows you to work this buzzer slower than any other buzz-bait I’ve ever used. For a spinner-bait I stick with the “tried and true” Premier Elite in ½ ounce, by Strike King Lures.

Don’t be concerned about fishing behind other anglers, remember even though docks are fished hard there’s still a good chance that they were under-fished. And if you’re going to power fish docks remember that your catch rate will go up if you fish fast but smart. Be safe this summer and we hope to see you on the water.

You can reach Wayne Ek at Agape Fishing Guides, www.agapefishingquides.com.

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