Largemouth bass love to hang out around boat docks. For them, this is a good place to hide in the cover, get shade from the sun, and to find bait fish when the dinner bell rings.
So it stands to reason that this is good place to fish for them. The problem is getting your bait to them. The overhand cast will usually send your fishing lure to the top of the boat dock, potentially lodging in the boards and such that the dock is made of.
The best way to do this is to use an sidearm cast or an underhand cast. Pitching and flipping are good methods. This article is not designed to cover the ‘how to’ of casting, but to let you know the best way to fish a boat dock.
You can flip or pitch most any lure you choose, but most bass anglers agree that soft plastics work best. Good examples of soft plastic baits to use are worms, lizards, flukes, Senkos, slug-o, brush hogs, and tubes. Some good companies to purchase plastic baits from are Zoom, Berkley, Bass Pro Shops and Strike King.
Most of these baits can be fished Texas rigged (the hook is buried in the belly of the bait) with a weight or weightless. For Senkos and flukes, it’s probably best to fish them weightless.
One clever idea is to put a small light weight nail in the butt of the weightless bait and pitch it near the edge of the dock. This will cause it to crawdad backwards under the dock giving you a better presentation to the bass.
If you are good at side-arm casting, teach yourself to skip the bait up under the dock. This is not terribly hard to do, but does take some practice. Most anglers use open face spinning reels for this, but if you’re good with a bait caster that can be even better. It’s like skipping a rock, in the sense that you have to come in at enough of an angle to make the bait bounce 2 or 3 times causing it to land back under the edge of the boat dock.
The idea is to get the lure as close to you target as possible. Stay back from the dock far enough to give yourself plenty of space to make the right cast and for the cast to complete. Before getting too far under the dock, be sure to fish the edges and the posts. If you catch one there, there may still be another under the dock.
Fish these docks slowly, methodically and thoroughly. Let the bait sink completely and sit for several seconds before starting the retrieve. Use a quick twitch or two and let it sink again. Alternately, you can slowly pick the rod tip up from the 9 o’clock position to the 12 o’clock position, then let the bait sink back down. Largemouth bass will often hit your bait while it is sinking.
Any time you are out fishing and see boat docks and piers, be sure to fish them. They can be the hidden home of some real hawgs.