some end up passing by, or milling around docks.
Add to this the timeless attraction of shady cover on a sunny fall day and these structures can be absolute fourth-quarter gold mines.
While summer tactics focus largely on irritating a heat-weary fish tucked way back in the coolest shadowy part of a dock, fall efforts take on a more active approach. Not to say that flipping/pitching techniques will not produce, but mimicking baitfish — primarily shad — is a more seasonably applicable strategy.
“I fish reaction baits almost exclusively in the fall,” said Bassmaster Elite Series pro Brent Ehrler. “So it’s either a Lucky Craft 1.5 on the sides and corners of docks and then skipping a vibe jig with a Yamamoto Zako in white with a white or shad color skirt.”
John Murray, the long-time western pro, now making his home in Tennessee, also likes skipping a bladed swim jig. Like Ehrler, he knows that bass holding farther under a dock rarely see such presentations deep in their sanctuary. Interrupting a midday chill with this kind of flash and vibration brings out the beast in a bass.
Murray also likes walking the dock’s perimeter with a River2Sea Rover and swimming a 6-inch Basstrix swimbait tight to the cover. Similarly, Elite pro Mark Menendez
likes a 1/4-ounce Hack
Attack swim jig with
a white Strike King
Menace and a Strike
King Rage Swimmer
for fall docks. Because
the fish are oriented
to horizontal cover,
he likes the fact that
he can pause the
bait, keep his rod
tip up and keep it in
the strike zone for
a longer period of
To mix up his
likes a KVD 1.5
squarebill in the
Moongill color and
a Denny Brauer
flipping tube in green pumpkin or black neon with a 5/16-ounce Tour Grade Tungsten jig.
For Elite pro Randall Tharp, a buzzbait does a good job of mimicking the frantic flickering of fall shad, while a spinnerbait with double willow blades also deserves a spot in the rotation.
When Murray passes an empty boat slip, he’ll cast
a Neko-rigged Gene Larew Tattle Tail Worm into the
far corners and work it back
out on a semi-slack line.
Spinning gears is his choice
here, so Murray minds his
angles, in case he has to slide
into the slip and secure the
fish before it tangles, wraps or
snags his line.
Also on the finesse side,
Elite pro Matt Lee always has a
dropshot on his deck and even
though fall fishing often follows
a peppy pace, he likes the ability
to focus on a particular spot to
work on stubborn fish, or follow
up a near miss on one of his