How to Practice Skipping Docks At Home (In 5 Easy Steps)

How to practice skipping docks at home | Learn To Skip Cast From Home

The TRUTH about learning how to skip cast can be frustrating and difficult especially when just starting out, but I’m going to give you these 5 dirty little secrets on how I learned to practice skipping docks in my own driveway… all while I avoided damaging any of my good jigs or getting backlashes. 

  1. Start with a kids-size rubber ball (you can often find these at the dollar store). If you have multiple sizes, even better.  
  2. Take a screw eye pin (that you would use for attaching a swimbait) and screw it into a rubber ball. 
  3. Now you can practice skipping in your own driveway.
  4. Go slow to avoid backlash
  5. If your ball bounces up then you cast too low.

That’s the 30-second “How to practice skipping docks at home” instruction checklist… But there is so much more to it than just that list.  Below you’ll get all the detailed secrets on how you can practice skip casting from the comfort of home in less than 15 minutes! So continue reading…

What is Skip Casting?

Learning to Cast under Docks at Home

Skip casting is like skipping a rock across the water.  It is the process of casting a flat or compact lure across the water (normally underhand/sidearm) and bounces off the surface, preferably many times! Think about skipping a rock. 

Learning to skip cast is vital because the bass will position themselves in the deepest, darkest spot underneath a piece of cover (like a dock).   The bass will use that spot to ambush prey. 

Anglers like to skip lures under docks and other structures because often these giant bass are hardly ever fished for because they’re so hard to get at. 

Many anglers know it takes a lot of practice to become good at skipping docks.  And most anglers are not willing to invest their time into learning this key technique… until now

In just a moment you’re going to learn how you can practice skip casting from home.

“Pick out the darkest deepest darkest piece of shaded cover, and that’s where the biggest bass will be.”

Keep It Simple Silly – Start With Right Area To Practice

Before you hit the water, you need to go outside and find a flat area like a patio or a driveway. 

The flatter the better. If you have obstructions in the way it will foul your cast and give you a big headache. 

Also try to avoid areas that have a lot of wind. Wind will blow your practice “lure” off target.

“The key to skipping jigs is hand-eye coordination and lots of practice.”

– Gerald Swindle BASSMASTER Elite Pro

Time To Go To The Dollar Store…

Take a trip to the dollar store and head to the kids toys section.  Once you’re there search and find different size rubber balls.

Try to find at least 3 different sizes.

Using a rubber ball is important to practice with for multiple reasons:

  • You avoid damaging any of your good jigs… 
  • You avoid damaging any nearby objects that you’re casting by…
  • The rubber ball will “tell” you what you’re doing wrong in your cast.   

Once you settle on your 3 different sizes head to the local hardware store.  

Buy This At Local Hardware Store…

Buy a pack of narrow gauge screw eye bolts, making sure the screw is not longer than the width of the rubber ball. 

If you don’t want to buy the screw eye bolts, you probably already have some of these laying around the garage…

Back At Home…

Once you’re at home slowly screw in the bolts into the rubber ball.  As a reminder make sure your bolt is sticking out the other side of the ball. 

Then your rubber ball/practice lure is now ready to be tied on!

Your first swing…

Time to tie on the rubber ball.

The ball should be dangling 12-24 inches below the tip.

Without releasing the rubber ball, start with some slow practice movements… 

You simply roll your wrist, making the tip of the rod move in a circular movement. When making that circular motion.  The ball will naturally also swing in a circular movement.

Before you cast, keep in mind you want the tip of the rod to swing as close to the ground as possible, about 6-to-12-inches.

Once you feel comfortable, start with your first official skip…

Go easy at first, don’t cast too hard. Right as the tip of the rod (not the ball) reaches the 6-o’clock position let the ball cast off the reel. It’s like an underhand roll. 

The harder you cast that call the less accurate it will be and the more prone to getting a backlash… 

You don’t want to baseball swing your cast because it will never end up at the target location… 

Furthermore, if you cast that ball a zillion miles an hour it’s not going to end up where you want.

Pointers To Keep In Mind….

Use two hands to skip cast at first. Place one hand located over the reel and the other at the butt end of the rod.

Two handed casting will give you far more accuracy and control.  The downside is that it will take you longer between casts.

As you  feel more confident with casting, try casting with a single arm. 

It’s all about hand-eye coordination when it comes to skip casting. 

“Your bait is going to land where your eyes are looking.”

Wherever your rod is pointing at the end of the cast your ball is going to go that direction.

As an example, if you pull up to a dock and you’re wanting to target a specific area, don’t ever take your eyes off that area!

As you practice your movements will become second nature. 

The smaller the circle the more accuracy you will have. Anglers who are learning how to skip cast with a spinning reel often think the bigger and faster the circle they make the farther their lure will travel…

The Follow Through…

Casting “follow through” means you slightly extend your arm and point the rod tip to your target right after you let the lure go in the cast. 

Follow through after the cast is vital to casting accuracy.  If you don’t follow through your lure is not going to end up where you want it. 

For example, say you “short arm” your cast. That means you keep your arm pinned to your side and don’t follow through. Your lure won’t travel very far.

Another example is if you try to follow through but end up pointing your tip to the right or left of the target. Your lure will travel off-target to the direction you ended up pointing too.

Time to set up your “dock” …

Now it’s time to set up your skipping course…

Take anything that you can and make a fake dock with it. 

Boxes with a plywood board work great!

Yes it may look a bit silly but you know what?!  This works!

Now you create a fake boat slip out of the boxes or even get an old tree branch and try to skip the ball through those branches…

Sky’s the limit of how you can practice skipping docks at home

Other Ideas You can Practice Skipping Into

  • Bucket
  • Box 
  • Tipped over, empty laundry basket
  • PCV pipe
  • Under a chair
  • Practice hitting the cat… just kidding, don’t do that.

If You’re Just Beginning And You’re Still Having Trouble…

It’s Not Your Fault.  You’re probably using the wrong type of fishing rod… 

Using the right rod is paramount when learning to skip baits. 

If you use a rod that is too flexible it will not allow you to skip your lure as far.  And when you’re on the water skipping your baits it will also make it really hard catching that bass.  You’ll feel the bite, but your rod will not have enough backbone to drive home the hook.  Think about trying to set a hook with a rubber band!

On the flip side, if you use a rod that is too stiff you’ll have a really big problem getting the ball to sling off your tip of your rod. 

One of the biggest complaints of trying to skip with a rod that is too stiff is that your cast will not be accurate. 

What is the Best Rod For Skipping Docks

Best Spinning Rods For Skipping… 

If you’re brand new to skipping baits, then it’s recommended to get a good spinning rod for skipping your bass lures.

The ideal spinning rod should be at least 7-foot long, should come with a medium to medium-heavy action backbone and be paired with an extra fast tip. 

As a result, spinning rods are notoriously easier to cast, but offer less accuracy. 

Read more: Best Spinning Rod Skipping Baits (Our Top Choices For The Money)

Best Casting Rods For Skipping… 

Many professional anglers will use baitcasting rods to skip with… Why?  Are they gluttons for punishment? Maybe (but that’s another article), but seriously, the baitcasting rod can give the angler insane accuracy. 

When the money is on the line you want every cast to count. So you’ll want to go with a baitcasting rod for skipping docks.

The ideal spinning rod should also be at least 7-foot long, should come with a medium-heavy action backbone and pair with an extra fast tip. 

The reel is not as important as the rod, but should be a medium size reel to give the longer rod a balance in your hand. A balance spinning rig can prevent wrist and arm fatigue. 

But listen up, it’s your lucky day! I was frustrated after every rod I tried just wouldn’t perform. However after while I came across some really great casting rods that are phenomenal for skipping.

Read more: Best Casting Rod For Skipping Baits Reviewed & Revealed (2020 Hands-On Guide)

What Are The Best Baits For Skipping?

It depends… The answer really depends on what type of skipping rod you’re using.

Certain baits will skip better using specific either a spinning rod or a casting rod. As a rule, if the bait is lighter it will be skipped easier if you’re using a spinning rod. In contrast, heavier baits will perform better using a casting rod.

Jigs and frogs have to be the most common and are often considered an old standby. But what if the fish aren’t biting those lures what to do then?

Not many anglers know about all the types of lures you can skip. Because frankly, the guys who are catching the fish don’t want to give up their secrets. And when I asked in different forums no one wanted to lift a finger to help out…

Frustrated, I started to dig up hints, talking to specific tackle manufacturers, and other industry leaders I was able to compile a list of some of the best skipping baits out on the market… Some of which even surprised me! If you’re really interested in skipping baits then you need to check out that report.

Read more: Top 10 Best Skipping Baits You Need To Try

What’s the best line to use skipping docks? 

It depends on what type you lure you’re using. Most professionals will recommend using braid or fluorocarbon.

If the lure you are using floats (like a top water frog) then braid is preferred. For a simple reason – it floats. 

I was told by dozens of pro anglers they throw their frogs on braided line because of the large diameter hooks and force needed to set the hook through the lips of a bass.

Conversely, if the lure you are using sinks (like a jig), then it’s best to use a high-quality fluorocarbon line.

Fluorocarbon line is invisible to fish under water and virtually has zero stretch, hence is very sensitive.

Read more: 21 Tips To Choose The Best Bass Fishing Line

In summary…

So that wraps up how to practice skipping docks at home…

I know there’s a lot of content I gave to you, so I hope you don’t mind.   I really just want you to succeed!

But as a reminder, if you truly want to be proficient in skipping baits under docks and other structures don’t forget to check out some of the other articles I wrote for you. I listed them below.

Accessories You'll Need

Reel – Having the correct reel to match with your rod is just as important.  A good reel should be light and have a buttery smooth drag. There are several great reels on the market, but I recommend the Daiwa Tatula LT Spinning Reel (TALT25000D-XH). It’s a great reel packed with great features. So much so it could easily be priced in the mid $200 range. 

Fishing Line – Having a good line is just as important as having a good rod. I recommend fishing with a good fluorocarbon line. Furthermore, it’s super sensitive because it has little to no stretch, and underwater it’s invisible to the bass!  If pride or money is on the line I would use Sunline Sniper FC.    

Skipping Baits – If you own a bait skipping spinning rod, then you need some baits to skip.  But, there so many different styles of jigs on the market today and it’s so easy to perhaps feel a little overwhelmed by the sheer number of styles and brands available.  To matters worse, the companies aren’t lifting a finger to help you decide… 

You’re in luck, I’m going to help you narrow it down.  I created this easy to follow guide for the best skipping bait available in each category.

Read more: Top 10 Best Skipping Baits You Need To Try On Your Next Fishing Trip!

Tackle Bag – You can’t carry all your gear in your pockets, so you need a reliable tackle bag to transport it. I wrote a complete review guide, Best Tackle Bag for Fishing, check it out by clicking here.   But if you don’t have the time to read the full guide then let me tell you I recommend the Lunker Bag

Fishing Pliers – Nothing will ruin a day quicker than getting a hook embedded in your hand, or worse your eye.  That’s why I always recommend having a good set of pliers that won’t rust and won’t slip out of your hand.  I recommend Cutthroat 7” Fishing Pliers.  

Landing Net – As you are reeling in that monster fish, you don’t want to injure yourself or knock the fish off the hook by trying to grab it. That’s why I recommend a dependable telescopic landing net

Fishing Weight Scale – Whether you’re going to keep your catch or just take a photo of it and brag to your friends it’s important to have an accurate scale. I recommend a scale that has a large LED display like this one fishing scale here

Wide Brim Fishing Hat – Nowadays, you have to protect yourself against the sun’s harmful rays. Wearing a wide brim hat not only give you UV protection, it also keeps you cool.  I recommend the Columbia Unisex Bora Bora Booney hat. It fits any size head and it feels really comfortable. 

Fishing Sun Shirt – Don’t you stop at only getting head protection, you also need to protect your chest, back, arms and torso. According to the researchers finding skin cancers on the shoulders and forearms rank within the top-5 locations to get skin cancer*. Avoid any unnecessary UV exposure and stay cool by wearing a UV protective PFG Fishing Shirt by Columbia.

Fishing Gloves – Fishing gloves allow your hands to stay covered from the sun’s harmful rays and stay dry by using a special material. These gloves by Fishaholic offer UPF50+ 

My name is George and I'm been fishing my entire life and love all things outdoors. My passion is helping anyone catch more fish. The newest things I've been doing lately is learning how to break down and clean all my reels, teaching my boy how to kayak fish, and bushcraft wilderness survival.