Boat docks and piers are also great post-spawn locations as crappie gravitate to docks adjacent to deep water. Docks provide food, shade and security for spawn-weary fish.
“If I had to pick the most important feature of a boat dock to fish for crappie, it would have to be how close is it to deep water,” said West Point-based B’n’M Poles pro-staffer Mike Walters. “If a dock has lights and rod holders all around it, a lot of guys always assume that’s a great place to find crappie because more than likely the owner has brush piles or stake beds nearby. The truth is, if the dock isn’t located in the right area, depth wise, all that structure isn’t going to change a bad location into a good spot.”
Once he’s found a dock he wants to fish, Walters pulls out B’n’M’s new Sharpshooter 6 dock shooting rod and, with the accuracy of a Wild West marksman, puts his jig in places most people never see, much less fish. But he also has a little secret that helps him both slow his presentation and detect bites when the going is tough.
He uses a grape-sized ice float on the line above his jig. This allows him to fish docks without worrying about the jig getting hung up in structure under the dock.
“I rig the float like a slip-cork,” said Walters. “Crappie typically aren’t real deep when they move in around boat docks so I’ll adjust the stop to just a foot or so up the line. The other advantage is that the cork and jig stay together when cast and then separate once the float hits the water.”
Walters said boat positioning is critical when shooting docks and urges anglers not to grab hold of the dock (which may be considered trespassing) but to work the dock systematically from deep to shallow all the way around the dock until crappie are located.