Treat Docks as a Year-Round Option

Of all the various habitat features bass might use, few can offer the comprehensive appeal of a boat dock. Shady cover for lounging in safety and solitude, structure for ambush feeding, and heat retention during the cold months. The spring spawn sees prespawners staging on the outer edges and then sliding back toward the bank to spawn over shallow sandy areas. After the egg laying period, the fish progress back out to the deeper ends to rest and feed. Depending on the lake and each dock’s positioning, postspawners may eventually transition to deeper offshore summer spots. However, a certain number of southern fish make docks their year-round homes. With everything the fish need throughout their life cycle, there’s no need to stray far.

Don’t Rush It:

Ideal conditions heighten the anticipation level, but pace yourself. A patient, measured approach proves more productive than rushing to fish every inch of every dock you see.

Get comfortable making effective casts to particular points on a dock and then branch out to learn additional presentations. In particular, becoming comfortable casting with your off-hand, or making casts across your body will greatly expand your versatility.

You can’t always approach with perfect alignment from your strong side, so learning to make the most of what each dock and its spacing/layout offers will improve your productivity.

Sweet Spots:

At various times of the year, you could possibly find fish on just about any section of the dock, but a handful of dependables are always worth a look.

Corners: Points on the front and back sides of a dock create ambush positions. Water flow often influences specifically where bass set up for feeding opportunities, while sun position varies the shade lines throughout the day. (Bass will move for food and shade.)

Underneath: This covers a lot of area, but the deeper you can reach into the dim, shadowy areas where big bass lounge, the more opportunities you’ll find. Resting bass often bite out of territorial defense, so wake one up and see what happens.

Walkways and Cables: For whatever reason, bass often relate to these smaller dock elements. Getting a bait near or under the overhead objects will earn you a bite, but make sure you have a plan for extracting your catch in tight places.

On the Outskirts: Snoop around with your electronics and you’re likely to find brush piles, stake beds and occasional storm-blown limbs that offer peripheral attraction and broaden potential bass habitat.

Bait Choices:

Preferences vary by individual, but a simple dock game plan comprises a three-pronged approach. First, you’ll want a moving bait to cast your way into proximity and trace the dock’s perimeter. A Mustad Arm-Lock Spinnerbait, a swim jig built with a Mustad A-Tak Swim Jig Head and fitted with a swimbait or craw style trailer, or a LIVETARGET Threadfin Shad Swimbait do well here.

Next, you need something to skip under the dock. A traditional flipping/skipping jig with a craw or chunk style trailer works, but a soft plastic stick worm wacky rigged on a Mustad TitanX Wacky/Neko/Dropshot Hook also fits the plan.

Lastly, when the fish play hard-to-get, or if you’ve caught a couple and you suspect there may be another bite or two possible, try a dropshot with your favorite finesse worm on a Mustad TitanX Wacky/Neko/Dropshot Hook ( with a Mustad Tungsten TitanX Skinny Dropshot Weight.


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