Photos: Daniel Leathers
A kayak angler holds the end of his line with a fish attached as he floats next to a dock.

The quickest way to find fish, which is pretty common knowledge, is to look in and around structures that extend over the water’s edge. be it in a lake, river or the ocean. Numerous species of fish have adapted to the docks and marinas located on our lakes and rivers across the country.

It is also common knowledge that accessing these areas with your bait is difficult under the best conditions and even harder from a seated position. However, with a few easy pointers you don’t have to be the best at standing in your yak and casting.

Dock shooting, dock flipping, or dock pitching are all names for the same basic technique of tossing your lure under structure of any kind and in particular docks and piers. Follow these pointers and you’ll have your buddies asking for tips.

A kayak angler casts under a wooden dock.

Photo: Skipping and sling-shotting lures under docks takes a little skill and more practice.

Learn To Get Your Lures Farther Under Docks

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 easily do this using two simple techniques. These are shooting and skipping.

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

When doing the 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 an short-ultralight rod made of graphite and a spinning reel makes the whipping action smoother.

A kayak angler holds up a fish with a metal boat dock in the background.

Photo: There are many species that can be found hiding underneath docks, but you can catch them using the same tactics.

Cast Lures Like A Sling Shot

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” of line from the end of your pole allowing it to dangle. Grab the hook with your free hand. Pulling back on the bait you will create a bent rod. Once again, aiming will require practice, but is easily done after a few times.

You can get a good idea of where you will land by looking down the spine of the rod, but that is merely a rough gauge. Now, with the bail open and tension applied to the line against the rod, release the jig causing it to shoot forward as if from a slingshot. Immediately, release the tension on your line and shoot your lure across the water.

A kayak angler holds up a large fish in front of a large boat house as he sits on his Jackson fishing kayak.

Photo: Big fish are hiding far underneath docks, you just have to learn how to reach them.

Skip Lures Like A Pro

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.

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. Once again, using bait that is flatter and one piece will allow you to the perform the procedure much more smoothly.

One thing that will make either technique easier is to ensure you have proper boat positioning for the distance you’re casting. An anchor trolley system will aide in ensuring your boat stays still during the process.


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