How to Fish the Toughest Lake in America with Adam
How to Shoot a Dock
Note: Adam McClellan of Cumming, Georgia, fishes the
toughest lake in America just outside Atlanta - Lake
Lanier. "The water clarity on Lake Lanier during
the summer months sometimes exceeds 7 feet," McClellan
says. Lanier is a major recreational lake with plenty
of water skiers, jet skiers, boaters and other outdoor
water recreation activities that can and does interfere
with fishing. This week, we'll see how McClellan not
only fishes this lake but also successfully catches
fish. Adam and his father, Stokes
McClellan, fish the Southern Crappie Association tournaments,
as well as the Crappie USA tournaments.
Question: What else makes Lake Lanier so tough to fish?
McClellan: I'm a tournament crappie angler. Crappie
like structure. When the water drops down, as it does
in the summertime on Lanier, there's hardly any natural
cover to which the fish can relate.
Question: How are you catching crappie at this time
of year in a deep clear lake with an unusually-high
amount of boat pressure?
McClellan: I'm shooting docks for crappie.
Question: What does shooting docks mean, and how do
you do it?
McClellan: Shooting docks is more difficult to describe
than it is to show. This technique of crappie fishing
is much like shooting a bow and arrow, which means you
have to aim and time the release of the string. To effectively
shoot docks, you have to use a short highly-flexible
lightweight rod. I use the B'n'M SharpShooter rod. B'n'M
has three models between 4-1/2- and 5-feet long. I like
the 5-foot SharpShooter with a lightweight spinning
reel in the 1,000 to 2,000 series. This is an open-face
spinning reel that I spool up with 4-pound-test line.
The line I use is Bass Pro Shops Mr. Crappie Hi-Vis
Line that comes in a bright-gold or yellow color, and
stronger than 4-pound-test line. To effectively use
this technique, you have to be able to see your line.
Question: What jigs are you using?
McClellan: I like a painted lead head in the 1/32-ounce
jig, if I'm using a plastic jig body. I like the Diamond
Flash Spike-It grubs if I'm fishing plastic baits. I
think the reflective flakes in the body of these grubs
areespecially effective in clear water. On a bright
sunny day, I believe the flakes inside the Spike-It
grubs give off a flash that crappie can see to find
the bait. I also use the Spike-It 1/24-ounce Superfly
in lighter colors on bright days. I like the white,
pink and blue ice colors in the Diamond Flash series
for summertime fishing.
Question: What kind of pier do you like to shoot?
McClellan: I like an older pier or a dock that has a
roof over it. The roof provides a lot of shade for the
crappie to hide. Once I find the kind of dock I want
to shoot, I get as close as I can, hold the rod in my
casting hand, open the bail on the spinning reel and
hold the line with my index finger. I leave about 6
inches of line from the end of the rod to the jig. With
my other hand, I take the jig between my index finger
and my thumb, with the hook pointing away from
me. I pull down on the jig, bending the rod until it's
shaped like a C, which is called loading the rod. Next,
I hold the rod as close as I can to the surface of the
water. When I'm ready to shoot the dock, I aim the jig
at the spot I want to hit. I release the jig a fraction
of a second before I release the line, so that the jig
springs forward toward the tip of the rod. Just before
it gets to the tip, I release the line with my index
finger, causing the line to come off the reel with the
full force of the rod as it springs forward. If you
shoot correctly, the jig will hit the surface of the
water at a very-low angle. When it first touches the
water, instead of sinking, the jig will skip often as
much as 10 to 12 feet under the dock, which is further
than you can cast. The best piers I've found on Lake
Lanier are those where there aren't any boats or jet
skis that have been sitting in the water for an extended
period. Under those docks, the crappie have shade, the
water's quiet, and they aren't being disturbed. The
further under the dock that I can shoot the jig, the
more fish I'll catch.
Tomorrow: How to Fish the Jig