Take A Shot At Fall Crappie
Phillip Gentry
B’n’M Young Gun Braxton Wall loves to shoot docks for crappie during the fall.
As lakes begin to turn over in the fall, crappie will move shallow and hiding under boat docks is a great place to find them.
A boat dock is a perfect environment for a slab crappie, many fish will stay under boat docks year round.
Having tested the early prototypes of B’n’M’s new Sharpshooter 6 rod, Wall could not wait for it to hit the market.

Young gun Braxton Wall and his father Rod Wall may prefer tight line or long line trolling for crappie on their home waters at Lake Greenwood during tournaments, but Braxton readily admits trolling isn’t as much fun as shooting docks for them. Having worked with his dad building docks during his summer breaks from school, Braxton knows a thing or two about dock construction, including where and how crappie will relate to them on just about any body of water.

“Lake Greenwood is a really good lake for shooting docks because the lake is absolutely loaded with docks.  You ride around and basically you can find a dock for any day of the week.  All times of the year, deep, shallow, backs of creeks, out on the main lake.  It’s got a dock for pretty much any situation.  You’ve just got to find the ones holding fish,” said Wall.

The majority of docks on Greenwood are pier docks, meaning they stand on pilings driven into the lake floor and don’t move with the water levels. Other docks are floating and the depth under the dock changes with the water level.

Young Wall prefers docks that provide ample shade and hover low to the water, whether that means a floating dock at any stage or a pier dock with high water.

“A good dock-shooting dock is a dock that has a lot of shade, which means you want a large, wide side and, preferably, a roof over the dock.  The icing on the cake is a pontoon in the slip because crappie just love that.  The pontoon stays really low to the water and makes it really dark under there,” he said. “Also, you don’t want a lot of crap up under the docks like Christmas trees and unnecessary wood and stuff – all that will do is hang up and cost you jigs.”

“Shooting” a dock refers to holding the bait, typically a small crappie jig, in one hand while holding the line tight to the spool of an open bail spinning reel with the other.

“It takes a bit of practice,” said Wall. “You bend the rod over and hold the jig between your thumb and fore finger under the reel. Release the jig and simultaneously release the line, which sling shots the bait forward, parallel to the water, causing it to skip up under the boat or dock or whatever you’re shooting at.”

“During the fall, the fish are coming out of deep water, coming up to find better water when the lake is turning over, so you want to be fishing shallower docks,” said Wall.  “Even a dock as shallow as 3 feet will hold crappie. Fish will get under them as the lake turns over and lay right up against the supports or any cover under them.  Later in the fall season, as the water temperature continues to drop, the fish will be move back out and we’ll be going out to docks that are in deeper water.”

Wall said making a good shot is important, but what happens after the shot is just as important to detect bites. By using a 1/ 32nd ounce rubber body jig, the bait sinks slowly and gives the fish a long time to look at the jig descending toward it’s protected area.

“Any movement in the line and I’ll set the hook,” said Wall. “Get the fish’s head turned around. After that, the fight is on.”

Finding the right rod to shoot docks with is easy. Wall was one of the first to test B’n’M’s new Sharpshooter 6 and said the new rod has the right amount of rigidity to sling a jig way up under a dock as well as the backbone to bring the big ones back out.

“I love this rod,” said Wall. “It shoots further than any of the shorter, stiffer rods and when you get that bite, you know you got enough rod to get the fish in the boat,” he said.

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