Article 18 â Boat Houses
There are some criteria that I use for finding the best and most productive boat houses. If the lake is full of them you have to have a plan to narrow those down. Most of the owners no longer put brush directly under the docks like they did in the old days. Seems they do not want us that close to their boats and docks. There dock is still a big give away; because of the lights, rod holders, equipment setting around and a fish dressing station. You will now find the brush a cast distance from the boat houses on the slopes. Areas with some distance between houses have the brush placed there. This requires hours and hours of idling and Side Scanning about 60 ft away from them to locate the ones that have brush on the slopes. Take this one step farther before you ever get in the water. Find the Irregular Contour Lines that will deliver the fish to that best section of Boat Houses. Do your home work on the computer and make the list of coves and sections of shoreline that will deliver the fish to the shade, a brush pile out in front or between the houses. Stand alone boat houses in a cove is a must to fish. That is all the shade the fish have and they will use those two or three houses. During the Spawn this stand alone house near the back of a cove will produce Big Bass on the back corner. Make lots of notes when you are looking for the best. Are there cables to deal with from the bank to the house? Are the houses on Steel post that are connected to the bottom? Is this a OLD HOUSE with pylons that have plankton on the post and the new smell of a dock is long gone? You have to get to that back corner and you have to have a piece of cover that is connected to the bottom for the fish to relate to. We are only interested in the best and oldest ones out of thousands. Keep in mind that these are the best; but fish will use just shade if that is all they have to relate to especially in really clear water. If the house is a stand alone and floating; I will fish it every time.Old Boat House
The first Boat House in a cove should catch your attention. It is the closest to deep water with fish relating to the first of anything. Bass coming in and leaving in the Spring seem to relate best to it. The time of year is important to narrow the search. Spring calls for the back 1/3 of the cove. Summer time calls for the front 1/3 of the cove, closest to deep water. The long and short of it is the longer dock that extend the farthest toward deep water are usually the best during the Summer. Water depth is the key here; as a short dock in the same depth will be just as good if it has some of the factors of a great dock. Snakes love docks because of the access to nooks and crannies of the dock. A Texas Rig with weight pegged in the 7â Power worm has been one of my favorites when the snakes are nesting. The Top Water Spook sitting in one spot and doing the dying quiver has been another great dark shade bait. On vertical Pylons the Jig has by far out produced all other baits. Just like all other pieces of cover the Bass are going to be as far back in that boat house as they can get and will be suspended on the boat saddle if it is empty. A boat and better yet a pontoon sitting in the saddle gives even more shade and cover.
There are three basic techniques that you must practice and learn to develop your pattern on boat docks. There are so many kinds of docks to fish and the challenge of getting your bait in the right spot will require either pitching, flipping or skipping the bait in these hard to reach spots. You will see a pattern develop on boat houses just as you would develop a pattern in any other part of the lake. On a good day it may be an easy pattern with the Bass relating to the corners of the house only. The bite may be an easy bite on the support pylons or even the ladder system on many docks. You can endure a little wind and still have a great day if the pattern is either of the three. After that things can get a lot tougher like having to skip the bait way back in some of the tightest spots imaginable to get bit. This could be the opening between two flotation blocks. I have seen the fish only relate to the docks with Styrofoam flotation blocks. The green moss growing on the bottom of the flotation devices attract small bait and even Crayfish. There are always mooring lines hanging down close to the water and it is much better to be able to skip a bait under those other than to pitch over them. Most of the time there just isnât much of a choice. You have to take what you can get in order to put the bait where it needs to go. It is better to get a fish on and then worry about how to get it out. I have to say; if you can endure all the frustrations of small cracks, cables, ropes, boats and boat cradles you will not have much trouble fishing other pieces of cover in the entire lake. The point is most fisherman will not spend the time to become an expert at fishing docks and houses. If the lake supports boat houses you will find these experts hard at work and they are extremely difficult to beat.
The boat house systems are full of untouchable fish. If you become that expert and willing to put in the time the results can be amazing. The best experts are skippers and are going after the fish that everyone else has missed or never put the bait under the dock where the fish are hiding. That rock skipping technique has always amazed me; but I could never master it with my old school equipment. I will have to stick with my small Shad or Bluegill Spinner Bait and just put it where I can get it. That little bait has been a good producer; but too many parts to grab the water for skipping. What little bit of skipping I do was learned on slick concert and counting the bounces over and over until you get the bait to go 20 ft with 5 or 6 skips. My bait of choice is a Ball head jig in 3/8 oz. Good skipping baits are jigs, senkos, tubes, chatter baits and wacky worms. No need to go into the technique specifics; as Youtube is full of how to learn the skills. If you commit to fishing boat houses and docks you will become that expert quickly. There are so many facets to fishing boat houses and the frustrations encountered; only the experts will have the great success stories to tell.