Dock Fishing In The Summer For Bass And Crappie

By: John Neporadny

Living on one of the most populated lakes in the country has given me plenty of experience at fishing boat docks for bass and crappie.  My home waters of Lake of the Ozarks contains thousands of floating docks that provide shelter and food for bass and crappie.  

Shootin’ And Skippin’

Docks provide a hiding place for gamefish on nearly every lake and major river in the United States. A dock is the ultimate form of cover because it provides abundant shade and an ideal hiding place for crappie and bass that are difficult for some anglers to reach with most lures. Shooting a jig for crappie or skipping a jig for bass under a dock places these lures into near inaccessible spots, but even these presentations fail to cover every area crappie or bass can hide under a dock. 

You can pinpoint the location of bass under docks by looking for the following keys: clusters of bluegill hanging around the dock; shady areas and any hard-to-reach spots, such as the back corners of boat wells or behind storage boxes where dock owners sink brush piles. If you catch bass from the same spots at a couple of docks, you can develop a pattern in which you can key on the same spots at other boathouses. Crappie will also use the shade of docks and sunken brush piles to hide and ambush any baitfish that swim into their lair. 

Deciding What Docks To Fish In The summer
Vika fishing docks

The two most common types of docks you will encounter throughout the country are the stationary piers supported by mud poles and the floating boat houses held in place by steel cables. The mud poles provide cover for crappie and bass under the stationary piers, while shade and manmade brush piles are the main shelter for bass and crappie under the floating docks. 

Fishing Standard Docks And Piers
Summer Dock Fishing

The stationary pier’s outer pilings are easiest to fish so this cover receives the heaviest fishing pressure. You will usually catch bigger bass and crappie by targeting the inner supports and sunken brush piles under the dock’s platform.  You can reach these targets by skipping a jig for bass or shooting a jig for crappie under the dock. 

Fishing Floating Docks
Summer Dock Fishing

When fishing a floating dock for bass, you can pitch a jig and retrieve it in a hopping presentation to imitate a bluegill.  Key locations on these types of docks include boat hoists and brush piles in the back corners of boat wells and walkways. Brush piles can also be found along the sides and corners of docks and the deeper water in front of the boat house. Running a spinnerbait or crankbait along the sides of a dock is another productive technique for catching bass hiding under the floating dock.

On cloudy, windy days you can catch crappie suspended under the dock’s floatation by casting a jig and swimming it along the sides and fronts of the docks. When the weather is sunny and calm, the most productive way to catch crappie is to shoot a jig to the shady areas under boat hoists or into the spaces between the dock floatation under the swim decks. You can also catch crappie on sunny days presenting a jig vertically into the brush piles sunken along the sides and front of the dock. 

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