Dock Skippin' 101
Skipping docks is one of the best ways to target a quality bass bite during the summer season. With water temperatures increasing, freshwater bass will look to hunker down in the most comfortable area possible. This desire often leads them to the most spacious, shady docks on the lake. The ability to “skip” a bait across the water’s surface allows anglers to present a lure to bunkered fish far back under dock systems. Utilize the following tips to make sure you optimize your time on the water targeting dock fish:
1. Know your bait
It holds true that no two soft plastic baits are made the same. Different bait sizes, shapes and mix compositions will cause variation in skipping ability. Having a rough idea of how the salt concentration of a specific bait will act when slapped against the tensile forces of the water’s surface will aid you in developing the muscle memory necessary to deliver accurate, targeted skips.
2. Try Using Spinning Reels
It’s pretty simple: if you reduce the amount of time you spend dealing with baitcaster backlashes, you’ll be a more efficient angler. In many scenarios, the preferred weapon of choice when skipping baits is actually a spinning reel. Additionally, a spinning rod can be more accurate, making your approach underneath tricky dock systems that much easier.
3. Let It Soak
Don’t rush yourself! Just because you didn’t get a bite while the bait was initially sinking, doesn’t mean that you’re fishing an empty dock. Bass typically take refuge under docks in hot, summer weather, and the heat also makes bass more sluggish in nature. Bass will often take their time investigating the foreign object that has recently invaded their space. It would not be inconceivable for a bass to take a few casts to get comfortable with your bait in their presence. If a dock is known for holding fish, or has all the features necessary to attract resident fish (such as deep water access and good shade), you should take your time dissecting it from every angle.
4. Find “The Sweet Spot”
Every resident fish in a dock system will have a “sweet spot”. This spot could manifest itself in multiple forms, including a heavy-shade pocket, a specific dock piling, tied-up boats or under-cut bank in the system. Finding this spot can take multiple casts and will require some patience. If a giant largemouth is hesitant about leaving the divot next to her favorite dock post, it could require casting right in front of her nose to trigger a strike. These style scenarios are where expert-level skipping abilities will increase your chances of success, as the sweet spot may exist 10+ feet or more back from the outer edge of a dock.
5. Practice & Etiquette
Refining your skipping capabilities before hitting the water is paramount, not only for catching fish, but also maintaining proper etiquette. Watching the Bassmaster series on TV on a weekend morning doesn’t immediately qualify you as a dock-skipping professional. Practice makes perfect, which will help minimize the occurrence of getting your bait hung up on a dock. While dock systems may harbor big time bassin’ opportunities, these systems were installed with different motives in mind. A healthy respect for dock owners is crucial to maintain a positive lake community and reputation for bass anglers nationwide. Finding a stretch of overhanging trees on an undeveloped shore will provide you with the perfect spot to work on your bait-skipping technique in a more care-free setting.
Whether you’re learning to skip docks for the first time, or trying to execute in a high-stakes tournament, you need to be confident in the performance of your gear. The Cheeky CYDRO Spinning Reel features the reliable drag system and smooth line retrieval an angler will depend on when fighting fish out of the tricky maze of a dock system.