Docks are bass-holding magnets and attract a ton of angling pressure with conventional tactics such as shaky head jigs and ChatterBaits; this is where Chris Zaldain breaks from the pack. He shares his top 5 tips for fishing mid-sized swimbaits, such as the proven MAGDRAFT (6-inch) to trigger a bigger class of fish conditioned to seeing an endless procession of bottom baits.
- SWIMBAIT – Megabass MAGDRAFT 6-inch
- SOFT BODY SWIMBAITS @ Tackle Warehouse
- PADDLE TAIL SWIMBAITS @ Tackle Warehouse
- ROD – Megabass Orochi XX Casting Rod, 7’2″ Perfect Pitch
- REEL – Shimano Curado 201HG Casting Reel, CU201HG K
- LINE – Seaguar Tatsu Fluorocarbon Line, 20-pound
As far as docks are concerned, swimbaits go against the grain, getting both kicker bites and revealing (moving) where the big ones live. However, dock fishing with swimbaits requires a little know-how, while excelling with them requires seasons of experience. Thankfully for us, Zaldain has done the work and shares it all in this insightful video.
- Target trophy bass around docks located on main lake structures. In a strategy no different than structure fishing, start your hunt by focusing efforts around stretches of high-percentage docks located on or adjacent to main lake structure, areas of depth change, cover and bottom transitions (e.g., grass to rock), or current influence. These are patternable spots, so get a bite and replicate elsewhere.
- Choose a skippable mid-sized swimbait to show the bass something different and sizeable. A quality 5- to 6-inch swimbait is that sweet spot size that attracts both numbers of bites but, on average, a bigger overall class of fish than, say, a 4-inch bait. Flat sides facilitate easier and further skipping underneath overhanging cover.
- Work the bait uphill from deep to shallow. Perhaps Zaldain’s most important insight, position your boat shallow and skip your swimbait out toward deeper water. He believes a deep to shallow retrieve affords bass more time and ambush opportunity than the conventional shallow to deep retrieve. Additionally, trailing (non-commital) bass are more likely to return to the dock in this scenario. If you know where they live, you can return and attack ’em with a different bait.
- Modify the belly hook to keep it from dislocating when skipping (MAGDRAFT-specific tip). Zaldain straightens one of the treble hook tines and inserts it deep into the bait. This, in conjunction with the stock magnetic hook holder, all but ensures the hook stays seated against the bait for efficient skipping.
- Make accurate, long-distances skips deep underneath docks. Zaldain shares a tip for making precise and far-reaching roll casts deep underneath the dock, beyond the “meat of the dock,” as he refers, to the prime bass holding stretch.
Check out Zaldain’s detailed MAGDRAFT FREESTYLE rigging video for more info on how to put fish this versatile swimbait.
And visit the Wired2fish Swimbait Tips Channel for more instructional swimbait content!