NC Land and Farms

At this time of the year when the weather’s hot, boat docks create a lot of shade – not only for the bass but also for the bluegills and other bait fish the bass eat. At certain times of the year, even crawfish will hold under boat docks. So, boat docks provide food, cover, cooler water and shade – everything a bass needs. A boat dock is an entire ecosystem in one location.

When fishing a boat dock, I first must determine if the boat dock is a floating one or if it’s suspended on pilings. A floating dock won’t provide any cover under the water, and the bass and the bait fish will be holding there only due to the shade it provides. If the dock is sitting on pilings or poles, those create vertical structure where the bass can hold and relate to at this time of the year.

The simplest dock to fish is a floating dock. When I pull up to a floating dock, I’ll cast my lure to where the shade of that dock is the darkest. If I don’t get a bite there, I’ll move on to the next dock. The exception to that rule is if the dock is in five feet of water or less. I’ll fish the bottom under a shallow dock. However, if I’m fishing a floating dock that has a bottom under it that’s 50 feet deep or more, I’ll fish a lure that will run close to or on the surface. Generally, I’ll start off with a topwater lure to try to pull the bass up to the surface. If I fail to get a bite, I’ll fish a little deeper with a swimbait.

When I’m fishing a pole dock, I’ll fish a lure that goes down to the bottom like a jig or a shaky head worm. Two other places I’ll always target on a pole dock are the walkway, if it has one, and any ladder that people who swim from the dock use to get into and out of the water. Another advantage to fishing a dock on pilings is that it’s much easier to establish a pattern within a pattern there. Often the bass will be concentrating on the outside of the walkway, under the walkway or on the back side of the walkway. If the bass are holding on the poles, you often can determine which poles in what depth of water are primarily where the bass will be holding. Once you establish that pattern within a pattern, you don’t have to fish that entire dock to locate bass.

Every day you get to fish is a good day. But there are days when the fishing is bad. When that happens, try something new the next day.