At our last Coosa Valley TU meeting Frank and Judy Martin contributed the following as a base for this weeks’ column:
“Great fishing at Dead Boy Cove at Lake Weiss, notably a three foot gar was caught on a quarter-ounce Joe’s fly by a family member visiting from Florida. We were catching blue catfish, largemouth bass, white bass, bream and bluegills right off the dock on Joe’s Flies and worms.”
I am not sure which species of gar, but the longnose or spotted are the most likely gars to be caught in this part of the Coosa drainage. No matter which, a three foot gar earns some bragging rights.
Fishing from a dock is common. Many families have lakefront properties or have a home on large acreage that has a pond or lake. In order to improve the access to the water some form of dock, pier or even a boathouse is built. Almost all of these structures have an area large enough for a few chairs, maybe a table or some benches.
On your own lake or pond the size of the dock or pier can be almost limitless. I am sure that many of my readers have seen video of a bunch of people on a dock, then seeing the dock collapse. To avoid such possible problems, the building inspection department of the county should review what is proposed to make sure the structure will be safe. If the dock is simple and meets certain requirements, no permits are required. The size, if over 200 square feet, or the location — if part of a stream, wetland, flood plain or other regulated area — could require permits. Public lakes, such as state-owned or power company-owned lakes, all have regulations restricting the size, location and design of the structure.
I can safely say that there are not very many docks in Northwest Georgia that have not had a fisherman fishing from it and had a fish landed on it. The exceptions might be docks with signage restricting fishing or municipal docks restricted to loading, unloading or fueling boats. Most privately owned docks and piers rarely restrict fishing, and fishing is almost always welcomed.
All the above said, I can easily say that most dock owners, their friends and family fish from docks. Many folks have fish feeders or hand feed the fish from the dock and some folks even name the fish that show up at feeding time.
The main reason for feeders is to keep fish around so they are easier to catch. When Christmas comes around, many of these same dock owners will weight down the used Christmas trees with concrete blocks and submerge them to give crappie and other fish a good hangout. All this is actually done not for the fish, but to make fishing better for the angler.
Docks often have special lighting that is used at night to attract bait fish, which in turn attract larger fish. I remember fishing on a winter night in a floating house at Allatoona that had benches that surrounded a large opening for fishing in the floor. Being a walled enclosure, the place was heated. Anglers paid a fee, the fish were usually cooperative and it was nice and toasty and out of the wind. This is taking dock fishing to the next level.
As Frank and Judy said, there are a lot of fish caught off of their docks and other folks’ docks. The dock structure gives fish shade and hiding places. Small fish use these structures as a place to get away from larger predators. The predators soon learn where the small baitfish hide and the small fish become meals for the big fish. Some of the large fish hide in the shadows of the docks waiting to ambush their next meal.
The type of bait used for dock fishing varies greatly. Minnows, jigs and small spinners are common for those fishing from the dock for crappies. Catfish can be caught on large minnows but nightcrawlers and cut bait usually perform better.
Most fishermen who are in boats will fish around the docks if fishing for crappie, bass or sunfish. Jerk baits, deep divers and plastic worms can all entice a strike from a large bass lurking in the shadows. These biguns that live under the docks will sometimes never strike bait or lure when they sense a person is on the dock.
Trout meeting and THANK YOU:
There will not be a Coosa Valley TU meeting in December. The members of the Coosa Valley Chapter of Trout Unlimited want to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving. We also want to thank all those who have supported the chapter and the TU causes.