While footballs fill the fall air, a bass with the appetite of a burly offensive lineman lurks beneath a dock on your favorite lake as it prepares to pounce on any baitfish that enters its ambush zone. Fall season means now it’s time to fish docks.
Which Docks Hold Bass?
My home waters of Lake of the Ozarks features thousands of docks spread throughout the reservoir but not every boat house harbors bass in the fall. Older docks with several posts or piers under the walkway are prime bass attractors in the fall. Large flat fish docks with swimming platforms also hold bass because the swim deck covers a larger area of water than boat slips and casts more shade for bass. Docks with ladders or steps dropping off into the water area also prime ambush spots for bass.
Location also plays a key role in selecting which docks to try in the fall. Main lake piers are good because many anglers overlook these docks as they head for the coves in the fall. Key on the front ends of docks sitting over depths of 10 feet or less along main lake flats.
What To Look For Under Docks?
The presence of baitfish also dictates which docks to concentrate on during autumn. Baitfish normally congregate in the shallows of flats so key on docks along flats on the main lake and the backs of creeks.
Weather and water temperature determine where fish position on a dock during autumn. On my home lake, bass remain in brush piles under fish docks during summer, but as the water cools in the fall, bass start suspending under the dock’s flotation. Later in the fall, bass move into the shallows behind the docks where I can catch them around the walkway posts.
Weather fronts cause bass to relocate on a dock throughout the fall. Bass move to deeper parts of the dock when a cold front passes through and if the weather warms up again, the fish migrate back to the shallow end.
Fall Dock Fishing Baits
When bass suspend under the dock foam, try tactics that allow your lures to stay in the fish’s strike zone longer such as running a spinnerbait just below the surface or swimming a slow-falling jig and plastic chunk. Tuning a crankbait to run under the dock foam produces during cold fronts when bass tuck up under the docks. Pitching a jig and plastic craw or bumping buzz baits into the walkway supports triggers strikes from bass lurking in the shallows behind docks.