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Pattern fishing docks

Cliff Pirch sells his own line of casting and flipping jigs that are perfect for dock fishing. Photo by Seigo Saito

"I pattern docks,” said Bassmaster Elite Series pro Matt Herren. “It’s the only way you can fish them effectively.” Herren’s dock strategy applies mainly to lakes that have no grass and little shoreline cover other than ubiquitous docks. He says many of the lakes near his northeast Alabama home lend themselves to pattern fishing docks, and he offers Lake of the Ozarks as an example of a good dock lake.

With only three days of practice prior to an Elite Series tournament, it would be an enormous waste of time for Herren to fish a long string of docks in search of a pattern. Relatively few docks are high-percentage places to catch a bass, and the best docks in one season may be devoid of bass the next.