Top Pros Explain How to Fish for River Bass...

Top Pros Explain How to Fish for River Bass...

05/20/2020 Comments (0) Adaptive Fishing, Bass Fishing, Fishing Advice, How-To, John's Books, Tips & Tricks

Top Pros Explain How to Fish for River Bass Day 3: Ott Defoe Fishes River Boat Docks for Summertime Bass

Editor’s Note: Ott DeFoe, 35 years old of Blaine, Tennessee, near Knoxville, won the 2019 Bassmaster Classic, has total earnings of $2.2 million and is ranked the No. 2 bass fisherman in the world by ( Ott is known by other bass anglers as a river fisherman. To learn more about DeFoe, visit his Facebook page at

When the weather’s hot, boat docks create a lot of shade – not only for the bass but also for the bluegills and other bait fish the bass eat. At certain times of the year, even crawfish will hold under boat docks. So, boat docks provide food, cover, cooler water and shade – everything a bass needs. A boat dock is an entire eco system in one location.

When fishing a boat dock, I first must determine if the boat dock is a floating one, or if it’s suspended on pilings. A floating dock won’t provide any cover under the water, and the bass and the bait fish will be holding there only due to the shade it provides. If the dock is sitting on pilings or poles, those create vertical structure where the bass can hold and relate to at this time of the year.

* How DeFoe Fishes a Floating Dock – The simplest dock to fish is a floating dock. When I pull up to a floating dock, I’ll cast my lure to where the shade of that dock is the darkest. If I don’t get a bite there, I’ll move on to the next dock. The exception to that rule is if the dock is in 5 feet of water or less. I’ll fish the bottom under a shallow dock.  However, if I’m fishing a floating dock that has a bottom under it that’s 30-feet deep or more, I’ll fish a lure that will run close to or on the surface. Generally I’ll start off with a top-water lure to try to pull the bass up to the surface. If I fail to get a bite, I’ll fish a little deeper with a swimbait.

* How DeFoe Fishes a Dock Sitting on Pilings – When I’m fishing a piling dock, I’ll fish a lure that goes down to the bottom like a jig or a shaky-head worm. Two other places I’ll always target on a piling dock are the walkway, if it has one, and any ladder that people who swim from the dock use to get into and out of the water. Another advantage to fishing a dock on pilings is that it’s much easier to establish a pattern within a pattern there. Often the bass will be concentrating on the outside of the walkway, under the walkway or on the back side of the walkway. If the bass are holding on the pilings, you often can determine which piling in what depth of water are primarily where the bass will be holding. Once you establish that pattern within a pattern, you don’t have to fish that entire dock to locate bass.

To learn more about catching bass, check out John E. Phillips’ book, “Bass Pros’: Season by Season Tactics” at, and available in Kindle, print and Audible versions.

Tomorrow: Mike Iaconelli on the Differences in Bass Fishing Tidal and Freshwater Rivers

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