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View Full Version : Shooting Docks - Tecnique??



TomC
03-20-2006, 12:01 PM
I'm going to give dock shooting a try for the first time later this week. To be honest my practice efforts in the driveway have not been to pretty. I undersand most of the basics but need a little specific advice. Should the tip of the rod be pointed directly at your target or do you hold it parralel to say the front edge of the dock? My timing I think is my biggest flaw. I try to release the line just a fraction of a second after I let the jig go. I've read some release both at the same time so I'm not sure what is the preffered method.

I fish a lake with a ton of docks and pontoons so I've got to figure this out. Lord knows it can't be any harder than learning to use a baitcaster but I'm starting to think otherwise. Any pointers much appreciated.

Tom

bttmline
03-20-2006, 12:22 PM
I have just bought 2 rod and reels just for this. I have been practicing and I think you should release at the same time. I am using openface reels. I saw a show a while back on it and hope it works well for me. I do know it showed rods that were almost if not noodle. the rods I got, you can almost touch dips. I have been pulling the eye about 3/4 of the ways back in a u shape and aim and release. remember when shooting docks you will have a skipping effect also. Just trying to remember what was said on the show. It was a basspro session with Wally Marshall.
Tim

TomC
03-20-2006, 12:37 PM
Thanks.......is the entire length of the rod aimed straight at your intended target before pulling it back or at an angle to the target and are you getting down real low to the water? I've been looking for an online video and can't find one.

Tom

CrappiePappy
03-20-2006, 02:56 PM
Thanks.......is the entire length of the rod aimed straight at your intended target before pulling it back or at an angle to the target and are you getting down real low to the water? I've been looking for an online video and can't find one.

Tom

Here's a copied reply to "dock shooting", that I wrote:

***********************
Now - about "shooting docks" ... and my "exception" (to using tubes) -- there's not a whole lot of "mystery" about this technique. The mechanics of it are simple - you just need to practice a little, before attempting it. I prefer using Panfish Assassins, as my jig body, for one simple reason - it "skips" across the water's surface, better than a tube or grub or shad/minnow shaped body. That skipping results in getting farther back under a dock, and/or also allows you to "shoot" from a greater distance "away" from the dock. "Shooting" a dock isn't like "pitching" or "flipping" or "skipping" a Bass jig under a dock. It's more like "slingshotting" or "catapulting" a jig, underhanded, back under it. I use a 6ft med to med/hvy rod - 6lb hi-vis line - and a quality spinning reel, with a large capacity spool. The rod is for "power/speed" - to shoot the jig with enough speed to cause it to skip across the water's surface, gaining me extra footage on my cast and getting me as far back under the dock as feasible. The line is hi-vis so I can see the slightest "tic" in the line. The reel is high capacity, so that I can send out as much line as needed, to get way back under the dock ... with the least amount of resistance, less coiling of the line, and from a greater distance (if necessary). With the exception of using a braid (like PowerPro), a UL reel with a small diameter spool will cause mono to coil in tighter loops ... and this will shorten your range (from the friction of the line against the guides, and from the ever smaller line wraps around the line spool (as it gets closer to the core of the spool).
To actually "shoot" a dock, with a Crappie jig - depending on the action of the rod - allow the jig to hang down to the first guide past the reel (the biggest guide on the rod) - open the bail and hold the line in the finger crease of your rod holding hand - with the other hand, grasp the head of the jig, so that the hook point is facing AWAY from that hand - pull the jig back towards you, until the rod is "loaded up" - eye your target area/entry point under the outer edge of the dock - aim with the line between the rod tip and jig (not the rod, itself) - let go of the jig ... and when it clears the end of the straightend out rod, let go of the line. (it's a timing thing, which is why the "practice" is necessary). The jig should "shoot" straight towards the water's surface, at the outermost edge of the dock - hit the water, and skip back under the dock. Engage the reel, by manually closing the bail, and start your slow/steady retrieve - slowly lifting the rod tip up to the 10 o:clock position as you do. (note: this can be done with a spincast reel, like your 33's - just use the "button/thumb" hold & release, in place of the "bail/finger/line" hold & release method ... everything else should be the same).
Practice "shooting" at a 5gal bucket, laid on its side, from 10-20ft away. Once you can hit inside over 90% of the time - downsize your target. You may also want to test whether or not you are more accurate, shooting a jig - either, by holding the jig directly under the rod/reel (held in the conventional "reel down" position) ... or ... the "sideways" shot (holding the jig out to the side of the rod/reel, with the reel pointing towards that side/hand).
*************************

I don't know of any "on-line" videos ... but, the Midwest Outdoors Russ Bailey/Don York video (done on Watts Bar Lake, Tn) does show you the method being used - it just doesn't go into any "how to" detail on doing it.

My reply above was in reference to shooting docks & pontoons, where the window of opportunity to get a jig into the darkest/shadiest spot, is a small opening (of, say .. 1 sq ft or so). There, accuracy is key. And you're assessment of your "flaw" is probably correct ..... timing IS key to a good dock shot. You have to wait for an "instance" before letting go of the line, after letting go of the jig. The stiffer the rod you use, the faster that "instance" is ... but, letting go of the jig AND the line, at the same time - your jig isn't going ANYWHERE !! You may only have to wait tenths of a second between letting go of the line and jig --- but, you do need to let the jig go first ... THEN the line. Practice, BEFORE trying it on the water ... will not only help you hit the spots you aim for, but will also keep you from losing jigs, damaging anyones property, and give you the confidence to shoot into those dark, secluded hidey holes that big Crappie like to ambush from. ...... luck2ya .... cp :cool:

oh yeah ....... you want to "shoot" from as low an angle of trajectory as possible. This helps insure the jig will skip across the water's surface, and get farther back into the shaded darkness. Aim with the line, from jig to rod tip, not your rod ... as once the jig is released, it's going where you aimed it ... the rod/reel's position depends on whether you are shooting from under the rod/reel or from beside it (either one can be used ... but I like using the "under" for narrow/tight spots - the "side" for more open spaces and/or when the dock is only inches above the water level)

TomC
03-20-2006, 03:19 PM
Great info and thanks much. I just need to practice and get the timing down. The one thing I'm still not clear on and I guess its because I'm not verbalizing it accurately enough is the relation of the rod to the target as you get ready to pull the jig back. Are you holding the rod straight out in front of you with the length of the rod pointing straight at your target or do you have the length of the rod at an angle to the target as you are getting ready to to fire. Thanks again.

Tom

speedy
03-20-2006, 03:30 PM
A little flick of the wrist after the release is a big key for me.

TAE73
03-20-2006, 03:41 PM
I have come to like using the pitching technique instead of shooting. I use a 6'-6" or a 7'-0" rod, let out about 5 or 6 feet of line out. Get the jig swinging and releasing at the right moment after practice you will get it to land in 12" circle. Works real good for fishing along side of dock lifts with the boat on the lift to get the jig to fall inside in certian parts of the lift steel or sometimes I will pitch over the lift hoses to fish them vertical from 20' away. Cross bars of the lift are good for using for vertical jiggin. I have a Wally Marshall DVD that shows him explaining on how to shoot docks. I will look when i get home and post the name of the video.

CrappiePappy
03-20-2006, 04:13 PM
Great info and thanks much. I just need to practice and get the timing down. The one thing I'm still not clear on and I guess its because I'm not verbalizing it accurately enough is the relation of the rod to the target as you get ready to pull the jig back. Are you holding the rod straight out in front of you with the length of the rod pointing straight at your target or do you have the length of the rod at an angle to the target as you are getting ready to fire. Thanks again.

Tom

You start with the rod pointed at your target ... but, it will end up slightly off center of your target (either high or to one side) when you pull the jig back to shoot. You could even have the rod pointed towards the sky ... pull the jig back & load the rod up, THEN aim towards your target. But, you would still AIM with the line, from the jig to the rod tip. Where the main blank of the rod is pointing, at that point, is neither here nor there (that will all depend on rod length and action). If you are shooting the jig from under the rod, the main part of the rod will be pointing above the target - but in that direction. If you pull the jig to the side to shoot, the rod will be off to the side of the target - but still in that general direction. The more important aspect of shooting a jig, is aiming with the jig (and the line from it to the rod tip) and not the rod ... along with a properly timed release, of letting go of the line at the reel - once the rod has straightened out and the jig is on its way to the target.

If your jig isn't going anywhere, when you release it - you're letting go of the line too soon.
If your jig is shooting stray, like up in the air or above your target - you're letting go of the line, too late. (if shooting sideways, the error will be the jig going too far towards the rod hand side of the target)
If you aren't getting much distance on your shot - you may be using too limber a rod, too small a reel, or releasing the line too soon. A limber rod won't snap back as fast as a stiffer rod ... so the shooting action is a few fractions of a second slower. It has more of a sweeping motion, so you have to compensate for that small time lag. Still, you need to wait until the jig has passed the rod tip, on its way to the target, before letting go of the line from the reel. The same "timing" goes for a stiffer rod ... you just have a few fractions of a second less time to release the line from the reel.

I shoot docks with 5ft, 6ft, 7ft, and even 8ft rods ... ranging in action from UL to MH. How close I am, or have to be, to the dock .. is one factor in choosing rod length/action. How far under the dock, and how easy it is to get a jig under it (larger opening), is another. What you use is your own personal preferrence, and what you feel comfortable with. The mechanics of the technique will be the same ... just the release timing will be slightly different from rod to rod (per length & action). The rod will be bent back in a J shape ... use the jig and rod tip the same as you would the sights on a rifle - line them up towards your targeted entry point, and "shoot". You won't be able to "look down the barrel (line)" ... but, you will be able to eyeball the line-up of the jig & rod tip (sort of like sighting while shooting from the hip).

Feel free to post any and all questions and concerns you may have about this technique. We'll keep at it until you're satisfied you have all the information you need to master the technique. Then put the info into your practice sessions, and once you've got confidence in your ability to "shoot" ... then we'll take it to the water, and give it a trial run. It's a fun and exciting way to fish for Crappie ... and it can be very productive, under the right conditions. ....... luck2ya ..... cp :cool:

TomC
03-20-2006, 04:46 PM
Well I don't know what ya'll said but whatever it was apparently sunk in. Was out practicing in the driveway a few minutes ago and it appears to be coming together. I focused on giving it a little more "whip" and letting the jig clear the end of the rod before letting go and it went right at my target. I guess its sort of like learning to skip a big jig n' pig under a dock while bass fishing. You just have to get the "right feel" once and then it all comes together. And atleast you don't have to worry about backlashes....lol.

Thanks!

tom

bttmline
03-20-2006, 04:54 PM
Thanks pappy, I was hoping someone like you would step up and help me answer this. I too want to perfect this method myself. I would love to have a camp in the blue grass state and spend a day just following you around.
Tim

misfit
03-20-2006, 05:17 PM
another thaks,pappy:)
i watched russ bailey give a demonstration a few years ago(think he was shooting with an 8 foot rod),and he made it look too easy;)
i've practiced a little,but haven't applied the technique much,which i think will change this year.several of docks and pontoons on my home lake that should produce nice catches in the fall,with that trick.i usually dip between the docks and boats,but know those crappies are back in the shadows,just waiting for my jig;)

CrappiePappy
03-20-2006, 05:58 PM
Thanks pappy, I was hoping someone like you would step up and help me answer this. I too want to perfect this method myself. I would love to have a camp in the blue grass state and spend a day just following you around.
Tim

but, if you followed me around, on my lakes in KY ... you'd rarely see me "shooting docks" :eek: Most lakes I fish in KY, have floating docks (styrofoam/plastic barrel floatation) ... a lot of the marinas don't allow fishing around them, or the boat slips ... and some have few, if ANY, private docks. You'd be doing the same thing I usually do on my home lakes ... cast jigs to timber :D
Seriously though .... I do use the "dock shooting" technique more on Watts Bar & Weiss - simply because they have stationary private docks ;)

I learned the technique as a matter of "survival" ... in our late tournament series at Watts Bar, you either shot docks or you finished in the bottom half of the field ;) ........ cp :cool:

Cane Pole
03-20-2006, 06:53 PM
If you shoot my dock, I am gonna shoot back. Fishin allowed...No huntin.....ha

Mopar Matt
03-20-2006, 08:52 PM
Instead of "shooting" docks I skip under them. Practice with a sawhorse or table. Hold the rod level and parallel to the "dock". Let out about 16" of line and swing the jig in a clockwise (if RH counter if LH) motion and releast it at about the nine o'clock position. The jig will fly horizontally under the "dock". With a little practice you can skip a jig anywhere you like.

jfraley
03-20-2006, 09:53 PM
I have not done much shooting docks, but i like it. The fish I have caught shooting docks were nice fish too.

fishin3
03-21-2006, 06:37 PM
If you are by yourself skipping is fine but with two people in the boat it can hurt someone :eek: . I can get the bait back further by shooting it than I can by skipping or pitching/flippin it. JMHO. Learn all cause sometime you can use it when needed.

bttmline
03-21-2006, 09:27 PM
actually CP I just want to follow you around no matter where or what. I have only been on this site a little over a month and think you are one of it's biggest assets. Thanks for all the information.
Tim

CrappiePappy
03-22-2006, 10:23 AM
actually CP I just want to follow you around no matter where or what. I have only been on this site a little over a month and think you are one of it's biggest assets. Thanks for all the information.
Tim

I appreciate the compliments. I'm just trying to honor the memory of my fishing mentors. They shared their love of fishing and experiences, with me .... I'm just passing that on. ....... luck2ya ... cp :cool: