Dock Fishing: How to Catch Jumbo Crappies


CC image from Flickr

Tell a buddy you went dock fishing and you'll likely get asked about the number of bass you caught.

Docks of fixed and floating design are common largemouth hangouts, but don't overlook their crappie congregating appeal. While it's pretty common for waterfront homeowners to plant brush piles around their dock perimeters, that dock is actually one big brush pile in itself.

During a recent Strike King media outing on Kentucky Lake, windy conditions kept us off crappie spots in the main lake. Between photo shoots inside a protected harbor, B.A.S.S. pro Andy Montgomery dropped jigs in the corners of boat slips and pulled up several speckled perch that would have made main-lakers proud.

The scene reminded me of a spring trip to Lake Ouachita, Ark., when heavy morning rains left me and three pals stranded at a marina. Overcome with boredom, we dropped small jigs with grub, insect and minnow bodies along the covered docks and found the freckled fish ready to play.

A few key points to consider: First test the water column with controlled drops -- a foot or so at a time -- or let the bait go all the way down and work it up in measured increments. (The latter option often triggers in active fish as the bait whizzes past them.) Dock stalls with spider webs in the corners probably have not seen any traffic for a while so the fish are probably unmolested. And lastly, vary your presentations from straight drops to long casts with pendulum swings through the strike zone.