UPCOMING EVENT: Costa FLW Series - 2019 - Lake Champlain

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

7 Things You Do Wrong When Dock Fishing

7 Things You Do Wrong When Dock Fishing
David Williams

Docks, docks, they’re everywhere, and bass love them. You should love fishing them, too. If you don’t, or if you flat out stink at fishing docks, it’s probably because you’re making simple mistakes that are easily corrected with some helpful advice from FLW Tour pro David Williams. The North Carolina angler is the dock-fishing expert who cruised to victory at the 2018 FLW Tour event on Smith Lake by skipping docks with a jig. He knows what you’re doing wrong.

 

1. You get in a hurry

One of the most common mistakes Williams sees inexperienced dock fishermen make is rushing. Fishing quickly is good, but being out of control or in a rush can actually cost you time.

“Sometimes I think people probably get in too big of a hurry and make a mistake,” he says. “Maybe they hit the dock or don’t fish it thorough enough.”

Pinging a jig off a corner post will probably spook some bass or might result in a backlash. At the least, reeling in and resetting for another cast costs you time. Likewise, a cast that comes up short of the target does no good. It’s better to spend a bit more time on a deliberate approach and concentrate on each cast than to rush and screw it up. A few extra seconds spent on the front end leads to more casts and more docks fished throughout the day.  

 

2. You don’t line up right

Williams preaches efficiency when dock fishing because the more ground he can cover, the more fish he’ll find. A perfect cast helps cover more ground.

Hence, once Williams picks out a casting lane, he uses the boat to get into the perfect spot to cast far under or along the dock.

“Most of the time I fish off the side of my boat, but I try to line it up directly at 90 degrees,” he says. “I want to get perfectly straight in line where I want to cast.”

Slipping a jig through an opening at an angle runs the risk of clanging off an adjacent post or cable.

 

3. You make too many casts

Efficiency rules again. It’s fun to think a fish lives on every dock post or under every float, but Williams isn’t concerned about picking apart every corner.

“Most of the time I’m going to make pretty much one cast to each side,” Williams says. “I’ll cast anywhere there’s shade. If there’s a hole underneath the middle, I’m going to hit the middle of it. I’m going to cover it as quickly as I can and as efficiently as I can. I’m looking for the fish that are eating. I’m not looking for the fish I have to work for.

“Typically if I catch one I’m going to pitch back in there. Or if I see a fish or something like that I may pitch back in there, or pick up another bait and pitch back in there. If I don’t know if anything’s there or I don’t get a bite or don’t see a fish, I’m probably going to be gone.”

 

4. You don’t think “vertically”

It’s easy to make the misstep of visualizing a dock in a 2-dimensional way – a squarish structure with open lanes and key features (ladders, walkways, posts, etc.) to target and maneuver around. There’s potential to overlook the key third dimension and forget that the goal isn’t just to make a nice cast; it’s to make the right presentation underneath the dock.

“One of the things you have to do is figure out how deep the fish are set up underneath the dock,” Williams says. “Sometimes they’ll be right up under the floats. Sometimes they’ll be suspended halfway down. And sometimes they’ll be on the bottom. Once you find out where they’re at then you can kind of fish all of them the same way. It takes a little bit of trial and error. They can also move up and down as the bait moves throughout the day.”

The best advice from Williams is to experiment with the presentation. Work a bait on bottom, up high and in the middle until you get a lead on where the bass are hanging out. A jig is a perfect tool for that.

“If they’re at the top I’m just going to fish the bait fast and keep it up at the top. I’ll swim it more where I can see it or keep it up right against the floats,” he says. “If they’re suspended I’m going to let it fall, maybe count it down to a particular depth where I can see them on my graph or where I’m getting bit. If they’re on the bottom I’m going to let it go to the bottom until I get slack line and hop it a couple times.”

 

5. You only fish a jig

OK, so a jig is a great dock-fishing bait. Williams throws one about 75 percent of the time. The other 25 percent of the time he keys on windows of opportunity to mix it up.

In clear water, Williams likes to throw topwater, including walking baits, buzzbaits and poppers.

“If they’re biting pretty aggressively I’ll throw a buzzbait. The faster I can fish it, the quicker I can cover water. The more water I can cover, the better I can locate fish. I like to fish it tight. I’ll take a topwater and I’ll pitch it just like I will a jig. I can skip a lot of topwaters, though it’s not as easy. Also, if they don’t want a big-profile bait like a jig I’ll go to something smaller like a small topwater. Or something to try to call them up.”

When Williams locates small baitfish, he’ll match the hatch by slinging a spinnerbait with small blades, but he says that pattern requires wind to be effective.

Finally, a finesse worm is his choice when fish are finicky, or as a follow-up when a bass misses the jig.

 

6. You don’t consider all aspects of a pattern

To really dial in a pattern is to look at the big picture – the conditions, the water, the area of the lake. Why were they on one walkway and not another? Why did more bites come in this creek than that one? These are the questions you need to answer.

“Sometimes they’re in the middle, sometimes on the left or sometimes on the walkway,” says Williams, “but a pattern all depends on the way the shade sets up, where the shad are, if there’s wind and current. Current plays a big factor, or if there’s a tide. It will set them up on the upstream side usually where they’re facing into the tide or current.

“There are times that once you get in a stretch of a creek where there’s a bunch of bait they’ll be under every dock. Then you may fish the whole rest of the creek and there’s no bait. When you find an area like that you can get well in a hurry. But most of the time it’s kind of random.”

 

7. You don’t trust your casting

Not great at skipping a jig? Those skills won’t improve by avoiding docks altogether.

“A lot of guys that’ve been with me before just aren’t comfortable doing it. They don’t trust their casting abilities enough to put it in there,” Williams says. “You have to just practice with it. The more time you spend on the water, the more comfortable you are with it.”

 

 

Tags: pro-tips-weekly  curtis-niedermier  article 

Check-in Time: Brian Latimer 

Check-in Time: Brian Latimer 

From time to time, FLW checks in with its anglers to find out what they’ve been up to, what they’re listening to, who they’re following and where they’re heading while out on the tournament trail. This week, we caught up with Brian Latimer.  READ MORE »

Big Little Boats

Big Little Boats

There is a massive surge in innovation in the fishing kayak industry, as evidenced by a showroom floor packed with canoes, kayaks, boats – and, in many cases, a combination of all of them – at ICAST 2019. READ MORE »

4 Hot New Reels from ICAST

4 Hot New Reels from ICAST

2019 is the year of the trolling motor at ICAST, but it wouldn’t be ICAST without at least a few next generation reels from some of the best manufacturers in the business. READ MORE »

New Baits from ICAST 2019

New Baits from ICAST 2019

Here’s a primer on some of the baits that we thought stood out at the show. It’s not a comprehensive list. Rather, it’s just a taste of what will probably make a splash on the market in the coming months.  READ MORE »

Peter T and Crew Win ICAST Cup

Peter T and Crew Win ICAST Cup

Representing Lew’s, the team of John Carman, Peter Thliveros and Matthew Mattingly won the 2019 ICAST Cup at Lake Toho this morning with a five-bass limit that weighed 20 pounds, 4 ounces. It’s the first time in the ICAST kickoff event’s five-year history that a team has won two titles, and they come back-to-back – though this time it was an outright win.  READ MORE »

Sign up for Polaris Sportsman Giveaway

Sign up for Polaris Sportsman Giveaway

FLW has teamed up with its partners at Polaris to give away a Polaris Sportsman® 570 EPS valued at approximately $7,799. This special giveaway offer is being shared with FLW members and fans. READ MORE »

Ouachita to host Dee Zee FLW/KBF Cup

Ouachita to host Dee Zee FLW/KBF Cup

The Dee Zee FLW/KBF Cup presented by YakAttack will feature up to 238 of the top kayak bass anglers from around the country who have qualified for the event through the FLW/KBF Kayak Open, the KBF National Championship, the KBF Trail and the KBF Pro Tour. They will be competing for a total prize package of $18,000 – a $3,000 Dee Zee gift card and $15,000 in cash. READ MORE »

Winning Baits from the 2019 FLW Tour

Winning Baits from the 2019 FLW Tour

Before we shift our focus to previewing the 2019 FLW Cup at Lake Hamilton, let’s start with a look back at the baits that were used to win the seven FLW Tour events this season. READ MORE »

First 2020 FLW Tour Invites Sent

First 2020 FLW Tour Invites Sent

Today, FLW sent out 119 invitations for the 2020 FLW Tour to the top performers from the 2019 FLW Tour. These invitations are in alignment with the 2019 FLW Tour rules that were announced last summer that transitioned the Tour to a qualification system, as well as one amendment made to accommodate changes in the pro bass fishing industry. The amendment was announced to pros at the registration meeting for the season finale on Lake Champlain last week. READ MORE »

2019 FLW Cup Roster

2019 FLW Cup Roster

With Casey Scanlon’s win at Lake Champlain in the books – not to mention the crowning of David Dudley as Angler of the Year for the fourth time and Ron Nelson as Polaris Rookie of the Year – the 2019 FLW Tour season is complete. Now, focus turns to Hot Springs, Ark., and the 2019 FLW Cup August 9-11. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from Lake Champlain

Top 10 Baits from Lake Champlain

June is a fantastic month to be on Lake Champlain, as the FLW Tour pros showcased at last week’s season finale, which was presented by T-H Marine. Smallmouths were spawning all over the place, but the winning pattern was catching postspawn largemouths down at Ticonderoga. READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Champlain

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Champlain

Lake Champlain is the kind of fishery that forces pros to make difficult decisions about where to go and what color of bass to target. This time around, in the FLW Tour 2019 finale, which was presented by T-H Marine, on the big Northern fishery, the decision was more interesting because there were spawning smallmouths everywhere up north, but the forecast was favorable for making the long run south to Ticonderoga to catch largemouths. READ MORE »

Scanlon Wins it at Ti

Scanlon Wins it at Ti

Running south to Ticonderoga each day, Casey Scanlon weighed 19 pounds, 10 ounces on the final day of the FLW Tour event presented by T-H Marine on Lake Champlain. With a total of 76-2, Scanlon earned the win in the final event of the season and pocketed $102,700 for his efforts. READ MORE »

Cortiana Recovering from Wreck

Cortiana Recovering from Wreck

Oklahoma pro Kyle Cortiana was involved in an accident near Indianapolis on his way home from the FLW Tour event at Lake Champlain on Saturday. He has since been released from of a local hospital and is now in a hotel room recovering and waiting for a ride home to the Sooner State.  READ MORE »

Ticonderoga Showdown Looms

Ticonderoga Showdown Looms

After three days of the FLW Tour event presented by T-H Marine on Lake Champlain, all but one of the top five pros are turning south from Plattsburgh to chase largemouths at Ticonderoga. In the lead, Tyler Stewart of West Monroe, La., bagged up another 18 pounds, 5 ounces to boost his total to 58-6. In second and just 1-14 behind, Casey Scanlon of Lake Ozark., Mo., weighed 18-13 on day three for a 56-8 total. READ MORE »

Melissa Browne’s First Look at Champlain

Melissa Browne’s First Look at Champlain

When Browne passed away last month after a difficult fight with cancer, there was one item on his list with regard to Champlain that remained unchecked. And it had nothing to do with actually competing there.  Glenn never got to take his wife, Melissa, to visit Champlain and spend time together in the Adirondack region. She’s remedying the situation this week by participating in the FLW Marshal program. READ MORE »

Stewart Strokes 22 on Champlain

Stewart Strokes 22 on Champlain

Day one of the FLW Tour presented by T-H Marine on Lake Champlain was a bonafide catchfest as expected, and XX pros weighed 19 pounds or better to start things off. Leading the way, Tyler Stewart of West Monroe, La., put 22 pounds, 3 ounces on the scale to take a 1-12 lead over Tom Redington and John Voyles, who both weighed 20-7 on day one. READ MORE »

Jonathan Henry, 1982-2019

Jonathan Henry, 1982-2019

Professional angler Jonathan Henry of Grant, Ala., lost his battle with cancer today. He was 36 years old. READ MORE »

Check-in Time: Buddy Gross

Check-in Time: Buddy Gross

From time to time, FLW checks in with its anglers to find out what they’ve been up to, what they’re listening to, who they’re following and where they’re heading while out on the tournament trail. This week, we caught up with Buddy Gross.  READ MORE »

FLW Spain Championship Recap

FLW Spain Championship Recap

The 2019 FLW Spain Championship took place June 1-2 in the waters of the Garcia Sola reservoir. The event, which was the qualifying route to the Costa FLW Series Championship, was hosted by the municipality of Herrera del Duque. The team of Mario Sánchez and Juan Luis Sánchez topped the field with a total weight of 19 pounds, 9 ounces. READ MORE »