TJ Stallings has a reputation in the industry for his humor.  He is in charge of marketing and crazy ideas for TTI Fishing Group, makes of Road Runner Lures and other terminal tackle.  Many outdoor writers fall victim every year to his practical jokes.  But, he is probably the most knowledgeable fishing techniques expert in the industry.  Over the years I have learned much and been a victim once or twice.

When he suggested that I go fishing on Lake Kinkaid to learn how to “dock shoot.”  I was not sure if I was on a “snipe hunt” or not.

It was no snipe hunt.  I learned a very valuable fishing technique from TJ and Russ Bailey of MidWest Crappie TV Show.

Dock shooting is no a crazy idea by a long shot.  No pun intended.  It is a technique for crappie anglers to get small jigs and Road Runner lures into tight pockets near man-made structures and boats as well as under overhanging vegetation.  It is a combination of finesse and special tackle that allows you to get back under the dock where fish seek refuge from the sun in summer.  In winter they go there to find warmer water.

“You get a comfortable stance,” explains Stallings.  “Then you point the rod at the spot where you think a fish will be lurking.”  He then holds the lure in one hand and bends the rod down in an arc before letting go without snagging his fingers on the hook.  Sounds simple but it takes a special rod, some practice, and skill to master this technique.

Russ and TJ like the 5 ½ foot Sharpshooter rod from BnM Fishing.  It is an ultra-light rod of 100% graphite with a solid backbone.  It has the right amount of flexibility.  An advantage of this rod is the ability to move the cork handle to a position that is most comfortable for the fisherman.  In case of icing of the rod guides in very cold weather you can spray a little Reel Magic on them and the line will move smoothly through them.

Once on the water, we move to a series of boat docks where pleasure boaters have placed their craft for the winter.  It is quiet in the winter sun and there is no wind.  Russ is looking for pontoon boats to fish in winter.  The aluminum of the tubes warms faster than other materials such as fiberglass.

Russ finds different size fish will seek refuge under each tube of the same craft.  You never know until a couple of fish are caught, exactly what size fish are lurking under the tube.

Another tip from Russ looking for cobwebs between the boat and the dock.  It means that no one else has fished there recently.  He likes to fish the Road Runner lures without a float.  He uses a float often when fishing a jig.  The Road Runner drops down with the blade fluttering like a wounded minnow.

The float for jig fishing is usually an ice fishing float.  It must be small but barely able to suspend the jig at the depth desired.  He likes the type of float that is large at the top and tapers down toward the terminal end of the line.

Six pound Hi Vis line is Russ’s preference.  He lets it play out and the cork settles into position.  Any sudden change in the position of the float usually indicates a fish has taken it.  For example, the float may be pulled beneath the surface or it might just tip over.  The first position indicates a fish is taking it toward the bottom.  The second means he is taking it upward toward the surface.  Also the float may move to the side away from where it has been sitting if a fish is on the hook.


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