best baits fishing docks

The Top 5 Baits for Dock Fishing

There may not be a more popular way to fish for bass than fishing docks. For good reason too. When the conditions are right, and you’re using the right lures, you can catch several bass from just one dock. And some can be real toads.

Problem is a lot of people seem to be using the wrong baits around docks. If you’re struggling with what to tie on or can’t seem to catch them on docks, try the five baits out below! They’re all sure-fire winners to throw around docks. And #5 is like a cheat-code for catching bass.

Jigs

If there is one bait you should have tied on when you’re fishing docks – it’s a jig. 

Jigs are known for catching big bass but they should also be known as a dock producer. They excel there because they can be fished around key areas, skipped underneath docks, and fished slow when needed.

If you’re fishing a dock there are likely to be key areas where the bass or sitting or want to be fed. Sometimes one piling will hold all the fish on a dock. If you’re fishing a jig you can target that one piling over and over again and pull out fish after fish.

dock piling best baits to catch bass

But what if that spot the bass are at is underneath the dock? Well a jig is perfect then too! If you pick a jig with a nice flat bottom like this one then you can skip it underneath the dock right where the bass are hiding. Read this article for more information on how to skip a jig. It’s the perfect way to catch those finicky bass most other anglers can’t get to. 

Bass often sit up on docks when it’s hot  and they’re a little sluggish. So they need something that can be worked slow and right in front of their face. A jig is perfect for this as you can let it sink to the right area and just shake it in front of a bass’s nose if you want to. 

A jig can be fished at any time but really shine in summer days. Bass will get into the shadiest parts of the docks where water is cooler. Skip a jig right under them and slowly fish it out and you’re sure to catch some great fish. 

Spinnerbait

If you don’t want to fish slow, a spinnerbait is another great lure that you can fish around docks. 

Spinnerbaits work well around docks because they don’t easily get stuck. Docks have pilings, ropes, toys, and a variety of other things around them that baits can get stuck in. Sometimes these things are below the water too where you can’t see them.

A spinnerbait usually won’t hook into things too badly because the wire blocks the hook. So you can get unlucky, but you have much less of a chance of losing lures on docks when you use a spinnerbait.

best bass fishing lures for dock

A great technique for catching fish off docks is to cast a spinnerbait close to a piling. If you’re good at casting, you can even cast just behind it so your spinnerbait bumps into it. Then as soon as you do let it fall for a second or two and then start reeling again.

This type of reaction strike is really effective at getting tight-lipped bass to bite. If they’re sitting on the dock piling they won’t be able to help themselves.

Spinnerbaits will work in many conditions, but really shine when bass are active. Early morning or late in the evening are great times for spinnerbaits but they can also work throughout the day in spring or fall when the water temperature is cooler. 

If you’re looking at what spinnerbait to buy, read this article.

Shaky Head Worm

When fish are really tight-lipped and inactive, a shaky head worm is another great dock catching bait.

A shaky head can be skipped under a dock as well, though not as well as a jig because the head is more rounded. But you can also fish a shaky head on a spinning rod which is the best rod for skipping. 

The real benefit of fishing a shaky head around docks though is that you can fish them extremely slowly and pick a dock apart that you know is holding fish. When bass don’t want to bite, sometimes a worm wiggling in front of their face is just the thing to open their mouths.

A good technique for shaky heads is find a dock in an ideal area and slowly cast to each piling and shake it a few times. Then reel it in and hit the next piling. You want to get as close to them as you possibly can as bass are usually sitting right against it.

Like a jig, shaky heads work best during the heat of summer but are the bait I tie on when the fishing is just really tough. So if you’ve tried a jig but cant get a bite? Try a shaky head instead.

Popper

Maybe you’re lucky enough to have very actively feeding bass – then you will want to fish a popper around docks.

Many topwater baits will work around docks but the best is a popper. It can be fished a little bit more slowly if you want to focus on one area of a dock and can more easily be skipped under a dock and fished out.

The best way to fish a popper around docks is to throw it a few feet under the dock and pop it slowly around the pilings. If there are bass actively feeding on the pilings waiting for baitfish, the popper over their heads is sure to get some interest.

But you can also fish a popper on the outside edges of docks if you want to fish more quickly. This versatility is something no other topwater lure provides and is what makes the popper have a spot on this list.

The best time to fish a popper is when it’s cloudy or even raining. Bass have a hard time looking up when there is a bright sun in their eyes and can’t see the movement of a popper and locate it as well. So anytime there are some clouds covering up the sun – tie on a popper and fish docks. 

Senko (Stickbait)

If you’ve finished docks and never had luck – you should just tie on a senko or stickbait.

The senko is great around docks for many reasons. First, you can skip it and fish it on a spinning rod, which is the easiest type of rod to skip as it doesn’t backlash. This alone makes it one of the best dock fishing lures that can get anywhere you need it to under a dock.

best fishing baits for docks

It’s also great because if you don’t know exactly what depth bass are sitting at, a senko will hit all of them. So you can skip it under a dock or next to a piling and just let it sink all the way down. If the bass is sitting at any depth on it, they’ll bite it as it falls in front of their face.

If you’re worried about getting stuck on debris or anything hanging loose from a dock you can also texas rig a senko and make it weedless. It’s also the best way to skip it. But my preferred method is to fish it wacky style as it creates the most action.

When fish won’t bite anything else, they’ll bite a senko. So combine the fact that it’s just one of the best baits period with how well it works on docks – it becomes a bass killer. The only downside is you may never want to use another bait when fishing docks again.

It also works in almost any condition. So it’s a great bait to keep on deck to just fish when conditions or changing or your other dock fishing baits just aren’t working and you don’t know what else to go to.

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