Waterfront property ain’t cheap, but despite the value of such prime location, docks and piers occasionally fall into disrepair. Storms do a number on structures, while poor construction, erosion and the occasional nautical collision may also contribute to dilapidation.
Such eyesores might plague homeowners and real estate agents, but let a fisherman spot a broken down, crumbly, barnacle-laden dock and they’ll see a gold mine of opportunity.
For clarity, a brand new dock in pristine condition can certainly harbor the snook, redfish, sheepshead, black drum and flounder that inshore types seek. However, older docks—especially those in disrepair offer some key benefits:
- More Sea Growth: All the algae, barnacles, oysters, etc. that accumulate on the pilings create a mini ecosystem with lots of crustaceans, invertebrates and baitfish. If parts of the dock crumble into the water, this just enhances the amount of structure to host such forage.
- Mini Reef: Pieces of broken docks, coupled with the remaining pilings create, essentially, a reef site that sport fish will inhabit.
- Difficult Targets: Structure in the water intimidates a lot of anglers concerned over snagging. The savvy fisherman sees this as an opportunity to fish for fish that don’t see a lot of traffic.
Of course, this beneficial scenario is not without its concerns. You’ll want to pick your targets carefully and do your best to avoid obvious snags, as well as those you can’t see.
Also, consider that crumbling docks often catch a lot of drifting debris, while also claiming a bunch of ill-aimed lures and hooks. The cumulative result is a bona fide snag fest, so keep your offerings high in the water column when casting into the damaged area.
Best bet, work around the perimeter with your sinking baits and use a small float when tossing natural baits into the danger zone.