Jay Kumar

Do You Lead Fish Out from Under?

(BASS photo)

I’ve seen it done. I’ve read about it being done. But I’ve never – not intentionally – done it. Probably because…yes, it’s true, I’m not the best basser in the world. But I also have to stick ’em. In fact, that’s one reason I love to fish for these bassin’ fish.

Let me quote Mark Davis, who incidentally is one of the greatest guys (IMO) at the pro level:

Question: How do you get a bass out from under a boat dock when you skip the Ocho [Strike King Senko] under the dock on 8-pound-test line?

Davis: You don’t have to set the hook really hard when you’re fishing wacky style because you’re leaving your hook exposed. I pull the hook into the bass instead of snap-setting it. I’ve learned that many times, you can lead the bass out from under the dock. The bass usually won’t turn the Ocho loose. So, many times before you set the hook, you gently can pull-on that Ocho and get the bass to swim out from under the dock, even before you set the hook.

Many people instinctively set their hooks, and then let the bass do what they want. But I’ve found that by trying to lead the bass out from under the dock before I set the hook, I usually can catch more bass. If you put a little pressure on that bass when it picks-up that Ocho, the bass will turn its head and swim out the way you want it to come.

That takes guts!

Incidentally, in that article Mark is also asked how far he can skip the Ocho under a dock. His answer:

I easily can get it to skip 25 feet.

The real trick to skipping the Ocho is that you don’t want it to actually hit the water until it’s really close to the edge of the dock or the tree you’re trying to skip it under. So, once the Ocho hits the water, you want it to skip and bounce back under the dock or the bush. Then you can catch the bass that no-one else is targeting and is one of the reasons I like the Ocho.

By using the skipping type of cast, I can put that lure within the strike zone of the bass most anglers never will be able to reach.

Twenty-five feet.

Like I said, I’ve seen it done, read about it, don’t think I’m ever going to do it – and not for a lack of trying.

My patience level being what it is, combined with an overall lack of fishing time, means I’m probably not mastering either the skip or the lead-out anytime soon. Luckily some basses still like to oblige me on the yank-and-crank method.



  1. Chad Keogh

    May 23, 2011 at 10:17 pm

    One tip I can give is to not only skip baits like tubes and soft stickbaits when you need to like with docks and over-hanging trees, but also when you want to mimic fleeing baitfish. I skip baits to things like edges of lily pad fields just to get the bass worked up and to fire up their predatory instincts.

  2. Alex Voog

    May 24, 2011 at 2:46 pm

    Gary Yamamoto wrote an article a while back (5 years maybe?) talking about “leading” bass out of heavy cover before setting the hook. I think he was using the 8 inch grub down in Mexico (?). Anyway, he discussed exactly what Mark is saying. With all that salt, and in the “comfort” of heavy/ overhead cover, they hold on long enough to be “led” out, and THEN you set the hook. I can’t find it (a link/story) on what’s left of the Insideline archives, and all the Bassdozer links/articles by Gary Yamamoto are deleted (that SUX!). – I printed almost every damn one, so I know it’s in a pile……. somewhere……..

  3. Jay

    May 24, 2011 at 6:25 pm

    In ones of Charlie Brewers books about fishing slider worms, he talked about doing this 30 years ago or more. From what I remember, he said that bass are used to their food fighting back. Because of their large mouth and ability to swallow large prey, it feels totally natural to have the bait push against the front of their mouth.

  4. Bass Pundit

    June 1, 2011 at 2:27 am

    I’ll have to experiment with that with Super Flukes. However, I use 10lb Fireline on my dock rod and I can’t recall a fish ever hanging me up and breaking me off.

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