Dock shooting: Tips for beginners

January 11, 2023

By Greg McCain

Considering dock shooting but afraid to pull the trigger?

Yes, the technique can be intimidating, but the repetitive nature of dock shooting can also be about the best therapy found in fishing. It’s also a deadly presentation when all the elements of fish, fishing conditions, and fisherman mesh together.

For those ACC Crappie Stix fans who have yet to get into dock shooting, consider the following suggestions by members of the pro staff. Various ACC Crappie Stix pro staff members responded to a query about the most important bit of device for the beginning dock shooter. Here are their ideas:

Reagan Smith (Reag’s Guide Service in Illinois, 309-642-8106) offers a quick tutorial on the art of dock shooting

“Start between the A of the ACC Crappie Stix (label) on the rod to your first eyelet on the rod from the reel. This will be your comfy spot. Hold the jig head to where the hook faces the dock. Extend your arm completely straight while the rod rests against your forearm. Pull the jig to your belly button and let it go.

The best information I can give for shooting docks is to not put the line in the crease of your finger. Literally just have the line on the tip of the finger above the first knuckle bend in the finger. This allows for the line to go off smoothly.”

Keith Acker (Friend Keith on Facebook for trip reports and other info about crappie fishing along the Texas/Louisiana border.)

“Fill your spool completely full (slightly more once experienced) so the line flows off your spool easier.”

Darin Keim (Friend Darin on Facebook for info about Missouri crappie fishing.)

“Practice shooting under your garage door raised up a few inches. Use a medium fast rod. Make sure you visit Lake of the Ozarks, dock shooting capital of the world.”

Jeff Jowers (Southern Scales Guide Service on the Coosa River, AL, 205.294.9202)

“Don’t be gazing off at the squirrels playing in the yard. Be a line watcher!”

Daniel Ellis (Friend Daniel on Facebook for west Tennessee reports.)

“Glue your bait!!!! Also hi-vis line. You’ll see the jump more than you’ll feel the bite at times.”

Caleb Hensley (Check out Caleb at 903 Fishing on YouTube and Facebook.)

“Don’t get frustrated. Gotta keep at it to get better. Took several trips before mastering the art.”

Matt Xenos (See Wired for Crappie on Facebook and YouTube for info about east Tennessee guided trips, boat/electronics set-ups, and other tips about crappie fishing.)

“Stick to 4-lb. test mono hi-vis. Smaller the line diameter the smoother it comes off the spool. Smooth equals more distance.”

Jonathan Phillips (Team Phillips Guide Service on the lower Coosa River and upper Alabama River, 334.391.9735)

“Step away from the dock! Shoot from distance. It will save broken rods, and you’ll catch more fish.”

Finally, a few pro staffers acknowledge the sometimes frustrating nature of dock shooting. Florida tournament angler Nick Whitten (Friend Nick on Facebook for info about central Florida crappie fishing) offers a good tip but then suggests dock shooting may not be for everyone. Here’s Nick’s take.

“Set up a coffee can in the living room, and until you can shoot that jig into it 10/10 tries, don’t try dock shooting. My best is still 6/10, so I don’t shoot docks.”