Using Docks to Catch Big Fish

Using Docks to Catch Big Fish

Matthew Davies image of a dock with a person fishing.

Over the years, I, Matthew Davies, have spent countless days on the banks of lakes, rivers, and streams attempting to catch a fish. Likewise, I have spent hundreds of hours on the ice with the same dream. Recently, I sat down and thought about all the fish I have ever caught and something became abundantly clear to me; all of my big catches have been near a dock. Could this be a mere coincidence? I decided to do a little investigation.

As you may know, many fishing tournaments are televised. On the days I was not fishing myself, I would watch these tournaments. (Hey, sometimes you can get excellent tips on types of lures to use and locations to frequent!) When the competition is over, the interviewers would ask the fishermen where they caught their biggest fish. Often, the fisherman would say he/she caught it near a dock, supporting my theory!

After learning that my suspicions are well-founded, I did some homework for you, my readers. I scoured the internet for articles related to dock fishing and learned the following tips to help you to find and catch those big fish you desire. So, without further ado, let’s take a look at some ways you can use docks to your advantage the next time you go fishing.


The first step on our way to catching big fish is to test the water depth. When you go to the dock, either by foot or by boat, you need to take a look down into the water. Chances are, if you are close to the bottom, it is too shallow. Conversely, if you can’t see the bottom, this is a bad sign as well. I will explain why.

Smaller fish tend to keep in shallow water. Bigger fish stick to deeper water when they are not hunting for food. What does this mean to us? It means that if the water is too shallow, the big fish will not have enough room to hunt for the smaller fish. If the water is too deep, they are not going to be biting. Deepwater is where they go when they are full. It doesn’t matter what kind of bait or lure you put in the water; they are not going to hit the line.

So, the next time you are fishing near a dock and can’t figure out why the fish aren’t biting, take a look down, and it may tell you all that you need to know about that fishing location.


Just as important as the depth of the water is how much traffic the dock sees. A lot of times, you will see fishermen sitting around a pier and complaining the fish haven’t bitten all day. Upon closer inspection, you notice four or five boats are always in the area. The sound of the engines on these boats tends to drive fish away. In cases such as this, it would be in your best interest to move a little further down the shoreline.

Being right around the dock is convenient, as there is usually a place to sit. When you move down the shore, you will need to bring a chair to sit. However, when you move away from the sound of all the engines, you will likely get the bites you are looking for.

Before you settle on a dock, check out how much traffic it gets over the course of a day. Perhaps you may find that it is only busy in the morning and the evening. This will leave you the rest of the day to fish. Take note of the active hours and come when it is not so busy. You will find that you get more bites during these times.

Pontoons or Rafts

Sometimes when you go to the docks, you will notice a pontoon boat or raft that is tied up nearby. If you are looking for that personal best largemouth bass, that is where he is going to be. The reason is that fish get hot too. The largest fish in the water will have their choice of where they get to live. In most cases, they like to live near where they eat. These boats that are tied up provide them with shade during the hottest parts of the day.

Since the pontoon boat or raft is near where they hunt, this is the optimal place for them to hang out. Every now and then, they will be greeted by a fish that comes a little too close to their hangout. The goal is for you to provide them with this “fish.” Cast out by the pontoon boat, and you may just catch that fish you have been dreaming of for years.


More important than any of the three above tips is the type of bait you select. When fishing around docks, you only have two choices. One is a jig, and the other is a Senko. While a jig will catch you the biggest fish you have probably ever pulled out of the water, it won’t happen that often. A Senko will land you tons of fish, but it will rarely be your personal best.

When you go to the dock, you need to decide if you want to catch a fish or if you are on a quest for your personal best. Choose your bait based on your goal for this particular outing.


Fishing is a game of cat and mouse. When fishing, we must try to think like a fish. I, Matthew Davies, hope that I have shared with you enough information so you can go out there and catch a load of fish. Remember to check your state and local laws regarding fishing locations and times. Also, make sure you are not trespassing on someone’s property. On a side note, it is essential to remember that when you are approaching the dock from the water, you are well within your rights to fish from there. The only time you need to worry about trespassing is if you approach from the land. Good luck and happy fishing.

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