Three experts share their tips.. Lance Krueger

Big bass love to chill in the shade below docks during the dog days. In other words, it’s time to work on your skip cast. The trick is to cast sidearm with a low angle and enough speed that the lure bounces off the surface instead of smacking into it and sinking. If you already have the basics down, these three pro tips will take your dock work to the next level.

1. Go Short

Pro Casey Ashley
Home Water: Lake Hartwell, South Carolina

Ashley, the 2015 Bassmaster Classic winner, says the first key is using the right rod. “It’s got to have a light, sensitive tip that allows your bait to load the rod in a fluid motion instead of your having to force it to load,” he explains. A shorter rod—7 feet or less—is more maneuverable and makes skipping easier. He also notes that threading a soft-plastic bait onto the hook makes the rig more compact than the traditional nose rigging. This helps it skip more smoothly and reduces the chance that it’ll smack and plunge.

2. Get Froggy

Pro Scotty Pennington
Home Water: Lake Chicot, Arkansas

Most anglers tie on a jig first when skipping, but if you fish pressured water, that’s a mistake, Pennington says. “One of the most overlooked and easiest lures to skip is a hollow-body frog. Frogs have ample weight, but they float, which makes it almost impossible to accidentally drive one down into the water. Even on a poor cast, a floating frog will skip most of the time.” The fact that they’re weedless also makes frogs an ideal choice here. “I can skip a frog into the tightest spots and if I get wrapped around a rope or metal beam, I’ll get the lure back.”

3. Spin for It

Pro Steve Lytle
Home Water: Swanson Reservoir, Nebraska

Despite popular belief, Lytle says, spinning rods are better for nailing the perfect skip cast, especially when paired with a streamlined soft plastic like a Zoom Fluke. “Not everyone has the touch with a baitcaster,” he says. “If you keep a spinning reel’s bail open and use your finger to stop the line, you get the same control as a baitcaster without the backlash.” Lytle fishes his soft plastics weightless and keeps a sharp eye on his line to detect strikes in the shadows. “Keep a little slack in your line as you twitch. If it starts to tighten, the lure’s been picked up.”