The quickest way to find fish is to look in and around structures that extend over the water’s edge. Whether in lake, river or ocean, numerous species of fish have adapted to the habitat offered by docks and marinas. But for kayak anglers, even under the best conditions it can be difficult to access these areas with your bait. What’s the solution? Try brushing up on your dock shooting technique to skip lures among the fish like an old hand.

The Skinny on Dock Shooting Techniques

Dock shooting, dock flipping, or dock pitching are all names for the same basic technique of tossing your lure under structure of any kind, in particular docks and piers. While many anglers have mastered the underhand or low-side toss from a motorized boat or standing in a kayak, the seated kayak angler is actual at the best possible level to accomplish this task. You can use two simple techniques: shooting and skipping.

man fishes from a kayak under a dock using dock shooting technique
There are many species that can be found hiding underneath docks, but you can catch them using the same tactics. | Feature photo: Courtesy of Wilderness Systems

Shoot Your Lure Like a Slingshot

When shooting, you are basically turning your rod into a slingshot to send your lure into prime position for those cagey fish. This same technique works for the stream angler in keeping your line out of overhanging cover.

With this sling shot method, I suggest using a lightweight jig with soft plastic lure with a trailer or hair. These are easier to handle and will help you to get further under the cover. Additionally, using a short, ultralight graphite rod and a spinning reel makes the whipping action smoother.

How to Shoot a Lure Under Docks

The process for sling shooting under the dock is fairly simple, but will require some practice for proper and controlled targeting. Drop roughly 18–24 inches of line from the end of your pole, allowing it to dangle. Grab the hook with your free hand. Bend your rod by pulling back on the bait and prepare to take aim.

You can get a good idea of where your bait will land by looking down the spine of the rod, but that is merely a rough gauge. Once again, aiming will require practice, but is easily done after a few times.

Finally, with the bail open and tension applied to the line against the rod, release the jig and watch as it to shoots forward as if propelled from a slingshot. Release the tension on your line immediately and shoot your lure across the water.

How to Skip a Lure Under Structure

The second technique is to to skip your bait across the water just like a flat stone from the creek bank. In fact, the technique is largely the same. If you can skip a rock, you can flip a dock.

angler paddles his kayak toward a pier
Skipping and sling-shotting lures under docks takes a little skill and more practice. | Photo: Courtesy of Wilderness Systems

From the sitting position, you will simply side-arm cast the bait, using any type of rod and reel combo, across the water and into position. Using bait that is flatter and one piece will allow you to the perform the procedure much more smoothly.

To make either technique easier, ensure your boat is in the right position for the distance you want to cast. An anchor trolley system will help to keep your boat still and properly situated during the maneuver.

There are many species that can be found hiding underneath docks, but you can catch them using the same tactics. | Feature photo: Courtesy of Wilderness Systems



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