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Tips for fishing near boat docks

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POSTED September 24, 2010 2:53 a.m.
Every so often I’ve gotten onto a good pattern where boat docks seem to be holding the better fish.

Unfortunately, when fishing around boat docks you’re eventually bound to butt heads with a property owner.

I remember one particular incident while visiting Clear Lake: as soon as I started to approach this one dock I was abruptly met by an older gentleman who insisted that I didn’t fish around his dock.

It had something to do with killing all the vegetation surrounding his dock. Being the non-confrontational person I am I backed off and moved down a few docks.

While fishing I noticed another boat make a stop at the same dock and once again the owner jumped out of his chair and proceeded to yell at the fisherman. They exchanged a few choice words and eventually the fishermen moved on to the next set of docks.

Because of these types of confrontations in some parts of the country, fishing around docks is illegal. There are a few basic guidelines I follow when planning on fishing around docks.

I try to never step foot on a dock, bang my boat on a dock or make a lot of noise when fishing around docks — especially in the early morning hours.

Dock fishing can be very exciting at times but as anglers we must learn how to know when to say when and move on to the next dock if necessary.

Delta Report
Lipless rattle baits are working well right now for numbers of fish. Once the wind is down anglers are having success while tossing Senko’s along the weed lines. For bigger fish many are tossing Snag Proof frogs.

The bites are far and few but the quality of fish are above average. The weights are down, and many local tournaments are being won with less than 20 pounds.

As we get closer to fall the bite should pick up, and the Stripers should start making their way through the system.

New Melones Lake
Trout fishing has really slowed down for anglers fishing at night for them. They’re still catching them while fishing at night under submersible lights but the numbers are down.

Bass fishing has slowed down recently as smaller fish are being caught on small plastics during the day.  

Catfishing is still good for anglers fishing the evening hours while using cut bait. Many anglers are fishing right off the bank with chicken livers for catfish up to 11 pounds.

Lake Don Pedro
Trout fishing remains good with most trout being caught by trollers. Anglers are trolling between 35-55 feet deep with Apex spoons.

Bass fishing is slow right now with lots of smaller fish being caught, but very few of any size. Anglers are currently catching bass while drop shotting and spooning anywhere between 25-35 feet deep.   

Lake Camanche
Anglers are doing well while fishing for trout. Many are trolling between Little Hat Island and Big Hat Island.

Bass fishing remains good for those fishing with senko’s and crankbaits during the day. Catfishing remains good for anglers fishing at night off the bank.

Lake Pardee
Catfishing is good on the lake. Anglers are focusing on the southern coves of the lake and around the recreation are.

Many of them are reporting success while using chicken livers for bait. Bass fishing is good for smaller fish.

Anglers are currently catching them on shad imitating lures. A favorite bait is a white willow leaf spinner bait.  
Tip of the Week
When searching for the right place to fish off the bank there are a few things you might want to take into consideration.

The first thing I look for is structure. I haven’t had much luck while fishing banks that were smooth or shallow.

Also, try fishing “points” — these are areas where the bank comes to a point. If there is a considerable drop in depth once casting out from the point it’s for the better.

If the points fail to produce, try fishing the backs of coves. Fish sometimes can be caught in the backs of coves when their not feeding on the points.

There are times when waiting it out is the best solution and other times when trying a variety of different spots can make all the difference.  

To contact Jarod Ballardo, e-mail
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