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Dialing in Docks to Up Your Bass Game

 

Dialing in Docks to Up Your Bass Game

Virtually every angler on the water these days is well aware that boat docks hold bass throughout the year.  However, not all anglers approach dock fishing with the correct tackle and strategy to make the most of their time on the water.  Fine-tuning your approach by reaching all fish-holding zones and identifying patterns can definitely lead to higher catch rates and bigger fish.

For starters, selecting the right tackle for dock fishing is absolutely critical.  While many professional anglers are adept at skipping lures far under dock platforms using baitcasting gear, most fishermen will find this task much easier to accomplish with a medium-light power, fast action spinning rod paired with a reel spooled with thin braided line.  With the right spinning rod and reel, you can focus on the mechanics of making the perfect skip cast rather than worrying about controlling backlashes.

As far as lure selection goes, a compact jig-and-plastic combination is hands down the most versatile setup for fishing docks.  Small finesse jigs can imitate a variety of forage, from small crawfish or other invertebrates when dragged across the bottom, to juvenile bream or small baitfish when descending or retrieved through the water column.

An ideal jig-and-plastic pairing is a 3/16 ounce Z-Man ShroomZ Micro Finesse Jig paired with a 2.75” Finesse TRD stickbait trailer.  The flat, compact head of this mushroom-shaped jig coupled with its short silicone skirt allows it to be cast precisely into tight quarters or skip cast under dock platforms or skip cast with relative ease.  When paired with the Finesse TRD soft plastic, the combination has enough bulk to cast long distances, but sinks slowly and stands up off the bottom at rest due to the TRD’s buoyant ElaZtech construction.  In addition, the extreme durability of this soft plastic trailer allows it to be skip cast and bounced off dock pilings repeatedly without ripping or tearing.

While casting around the outskirts of a dock is simple, the best way to access hard-to-reach zones beneath the above-the-water superstructure is a well-executed skip cast. The key to a good skip cast is to generate as much lure speed at the point of line release, with the rod almost parallel to the water, so the lure travels across the surface with minimal drag. The more the lure spins and stays on its trailing edge, the longer the skip.  While dialing in the proper skip casting technique can take a little bit of work, any angler can make the technique look effortless with a little bit of practice!

In order to key in on how the fish are positioned around docks on a given day, it is critical to initially work the structure as thoroughly as possible, probing every inch of the surrounding area from shallow to deep, hitting both the outside and inside of the dock with precise, targeted casts.  When the bait hits the water, allow it to fall straight to the bottom on a slack line before making a couple of short twitches to hop the jig off the bottom.  Also pay close attention to the line as the jig slowly descends through the water column, as many bites come on the fall, indicating that the fish are suspended under the docks rather than near the bottom.

The most critical part of discerning a pattern to how fish are positioned around docks is making a mental note of the location and water depth of each bite, paying close attention to where the fish is stationed relative to the structure in particular.  Efforts should then be focused on similar areas around successive docks, and zones that do not produce bites should be ruled out.  Focusing your efforts in this manner will allow you to eliminate casts to unproductive areas and become more efficient with each dock fished.

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Original Source:  Sportsmans Lifestyle.com

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