Dock decisions


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WETUMPKA, Ala. — Dock fishing dominated the Berkley Powerbait Trophy Chase on Lake Jordan.

Champion Mike Iaconelli, fifth-place Gerald Swindle, Day One leader Tommy Biffle and Alton Jones all focused their strategy on docks. How they targeted them, however, varied greatly.

Two schools of thought seemed to divide the shallow-water anglers: fishing fast to cover water and fishing slowly and thoroughly.

"I cover a lot of water fishing fast, but I was very focused," Iaconelli said. "I looked for docks with deep-water access, especially if they were near a point. Knowing that, I would just jump on my outboard and motor down to the next dock. If I noticed deeper water near it, I would put down the trolling motor and fish."

Indeed, Iaconelli often fished so fast that his crowd of spectator boats need to stay on their outboard motors just to keep up with him. Like Iaconelli, Swindle also covered water on Day Two, skipping docks with a jig to catch his 12-pound, 13-ounce bag.

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"Every one of the docks I caught fish on today were on secondary points," Swindle said. "The water level seemed to be falling a little bit, so that had the fish more on points, especially if they had a bit of shade on the docks."

Contrast that with the style of Alton Jones, who put his PowerPoles down to fish a good-looking dock and pick apart the structure from every angle. For him, fishing methodically was important, especially early in the day, when he was trying to figure out where on the dock the fish were positioned.

"Today, the fish were positioned near the very ends of walkways," Jones said. "Also, I was looking for the deepest docks with shade. Deep for me is relative though because the docks I was fishing were on a flat in only about 3 feet of water."

As far as productive baits and tackle go, all three utilized drop baits that they skipped on casting rods and heavy line, Swindle and Ike with 20-pound fluorocarbon and Jones 30-pound braided line. With the amount of obstacles underwater that a fish is capable of tangling in, heavy line was a must.

Iaconelli, the only angler to bring in over 14 pounds each day, added that the fall rate of his jig played a critical role in his success.

"I played with different baits in practice, starting out with a ¼-ounce jig and working up to a ½-ouncer," Iaconelli said. "That ½-ounce weight was key because the bite would often come on the initial fall and it seemed to trigger a reaction strike. Also, that Berkley Gripper Jig I was using has a flat head so it skips under the docks well."

Making the long skip into hard-to-reach places helped Iaconelli boat a few fish on the last day, including one that he landed from all the way up under a pontoon boat that might have helped seal his victory in the first event of Toyota Trucks Championship Week.

For a full rundown on all the coverage from the Toyota Trucks Championship Week, click here.