Saturday, December 2nd
Overcast Clouds - Wind: 1.01 Mph
39.2 °F

Skipping Docks For Big Bass

Skipping docks on Lake of the Ozarks is an amazing way to catch fish and have a fun time doing it. The main time frame for skipping is in the springtime around the spawn. The spawn usually lasts about a month from the very beginning to the end and will begin and end at slightly different times in different areas of the lake. Most years it begins around the middle to the third week of April and lasts well into May.


Skipping lures will also work before the spawn in what is commonly referred to as the pre-spawn period, when the lake’s temperatures are rising from 45 to 58 degrees. Pre-spawn skipping for me basically means two lures, a jig, and a tube. When I know they are spawning I incorporate the stick worm (Senko style of baits) and a floating worm.


Skipping requires some practice and at times will frustrate even the best anglers on the lake because you will make mistakes and lose a few lures. I start with a good free spooling baitcasting reel and my favorite 6’6” to 7” foot medium heavy rod. Make sure the rod you’re using is not too long and not too stiff. Flexibility is an important part of properly loading the rod quickly and easily to propel your lures under cables and dock walk ways.


Spinning rods and reels are also strongly suggested and are much easier to cast because you won’t have to worry about backlashes. I prefer braided fishing line on my bass spinning reels with a leader of mono-filament attached before the bait for about four to five feet. The braided fishing line will do a couple of things for you: 1) it will give you plenty of power for setting the hook and strength to pull the big ones out, and 2) the braid is so limp and thin it creates less drag as you are casting and after the lure is bouncing on the water’s surface. I prefer slightly shorter rods for my spinning reels—outfits like 6’3” or so.


Usually, my skipping jigs and bigger baits are used for my baitcasters with a bigger rod because it’s needed to set the hook hard, and the shorter spinning rods are used for baits that don’t require the hook to be set as hard.


Choose baits that have the right amount of weight. They can’t be too heavy or too light. Streamlined baits are imperative. Carolina rigs are not stream lined, and spinnerbaits, crankbaits, jerkbaits, most topwaters, and lizards are all horrible for this type of fishing. Their moving parts and appendages create too much drag on the water’s surface. Flukes, Senkos, jigs, tubes, and some plastic worms all work well. It’s all about finding the right combination of size and weight for your lure.


I start the skipping season where I find some warm water with some active fish on the outside of the docks. Usually, I start in a wind-protected cove after a string of warm and sunny days when I find the right water clarity. Usually when the fish are actually on beds I’m looking for the clearest water, but other times I’m looking for dirty water that will warm faster. Other times it’s just a matter of past success and where I’ve caught big ones in the past. Generally, the key is to find the right kind of rock inside a cove, with some cover, with shallow water but not too shallow. Also, make sure that the ground under the water isn’t too silted in or soft, because bass will not spawn on a soft bottom. Many people make the mistake of heading straight to the back of a cove and think that that’s where the fish should be, but often they run past the fish on the little pockets off the main cove.


Fortunately, we fish a lake that offers lots of opportunities for good skipping because of all the docks. It is a matter of finding the right docks to fish behind and establishing a pattern to quickly spot the right docks for you that day. Some days it will be docks with brush on them, docks that are receiving the most amount of sunlight, or docks that are protected from the wind. Certain areas of the lake such as the dam or little Niangua can offer a water clarity benefit for you. Condo docks are often over looked and underutilized.


One huge benefit of skipping is that it will get you to places other fisherman will never go. With all the fishing pressure this lake gets in the springtime, the fish have become conditioned to the pressure. Skipping opens a new group of fish to you that the average fisherman cannot access. You will be able to follow other anglers down a bank and catch several fish that they did not spend the time to catch. This is even more important for those fishermen fishing the Big Bass Bash in April here at the lake. During the weekends, everyone is on the water fishing, and the typical spots get hit hard. In some cases different spots are fished several times a day. Skipping will produce fish when all other techniques are failing because you are casting to spots no one else has tried. Sometimes, no one has casted there in years, which cannot be said about any other technique or pattern in reference to Lake of the Ozarks.


In closing, make sure you bring a long handled net, some patience, and a couple of extra baits to lose when a big bass breaks you off behind some nasty stuff behind a dock. At the end of the day you’ll have the right fish at the weigh in line to make your buddies jealous. Good Luck


Best Wishes, Big Fishes,

Jack Uxa

Jack’s Guide Service

378 Winter Wood Loop

Linn Creek, MO 65052

(573) 434-2570

Create a FREE Membership Upgrade to PRO
Cart 0 items - $0.00
Cart 0 items - $0.00