Drop Shottin' for Bass

By: G. Wayne Byrd


In this article, I would like to introduce “Drop Shot” fishing to you. Many of you might be aware of the powerful potential of this method, while others may have never tried this technique. Drop shot fishing is one of the best "go to" techniques to use when the bite seems to be a bit slow or the fish are all suspended and will not strike anything else. When reaction baits are not working well, I tend to rely on dropshotting. The drop shot technique will work in stained water, but I find it to be more effective in clearer water. I use this technique in all depths of water from 6 feet to 60 feet.
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A drop shot rig tends to work most of the year for me, although it works extremely well during pre-spawn and early Spring as well as the hot days of Summer for a variety of reasons. The bass may be deeper because they are keying in on bait moving off of the bottom and they have been living deeper due to the cooler weather. The bass may also be inactive during the daytime and need to be finessed. Dropshotting can be used to fish fast or slow, depending on what the bass want. The drop shot is also a wonderful technique for a vertical presentation. Bass will sometimes be as deep as fifty feet in summertime, and drop shot is the method I rely on to catch those deep lunkers. I usually catch most of my fish in ten to thirty feet of water, and I locate them using a fishfinder. You can use a fishfinder on a boat or the "Smartcast" type from shore.

The rod I use the most for dropshotting is a 7’ medium lite action baitcast rod. If I am dropshotting in shallower water, I might go to a 6’6” medium light baitcaster. Because this technique is a finesse situation, I like to use a 8lb to 10lb fluorocarbon line with a 1/8 to 1/4oz weight. If you find that the bass are not responding to this presentation, you might switch to a 6’6” spinning outfit with 6lb to 8lb fluorocarbon. The lighter rig is good for most applications including finesse fishing with smaller worms.

There are many advantages of fishing a Drop Shot Rig. It is much easier to cast than a Carolina Rig, cast as far as a Texas Rig and also sinks faster. The bait is always suspended and easy to adjust depth for suspended fish. You are also able to feel the fish much better because of the weight being on the bottom as well as you can feel bottom better. Disadvantages include heavy line twist, and your plastics and weights will get hung in heavy cover. Putting a swivel on the sinker helps slow twist.

What type bait is best? Smaller slim type baits are best in clear water. Plastic worms in the 4” to 6” range with tapered or straight tails are ideal such as a Roboworm. In clear water this is a great finesse technique. When fishing any structure the Drop Shot Rig should be a consideration for a presentation option. This technique is extremely effective when fishing structure. When fishing muddy to clear water at any depth, this is a technique that will catch fish. Any structure free of heavy cover is an easy place to learn to fish this rig.

Why choose this rig over a Texas Rig? When fishing a Drop Shot Rig the bait is always suspended just off the bottom putting the bait at eye level or just inches above when the fish is on the bottom where it prefers to stay. This also gives an angler the ability to keep the bait in the strike zone longer.

How do you rig a Drop Shot? Tie a Palomar knot leaving 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 feet of extra line. Thread the loose end back through the eye of the hook so the hook stands point up. Tie on weight preferably with a swivel about 12 to 18 inches below the hook. Most hook manufacturers are making specific hooks for Drop Shotting. I like theGamakatsu because I think it is the sharpest hook right out of the package I have found. Weight size range from 1/8 to 5/16. A lot of anglers simply use bass casting weights. The weights I use and prefer are made by “Magnum Weight Systems” and they are basically a hollow brass pod. One end has a swivel and the other unscrews so you can add weight or take it away depending on your fishing situation. The weight that you add is in the form of small brass balls. This also allows you to shake the rig a bit to produce a rattle sound similar to a Rat-L-Trap. This feature will help to attract fish! The pods come in three standard sizes and are available at many tackle shops and online at Cabelas.

The deeper you are fishing the longer the leader up to about 4 feet long. When you are fishing deep with lighter line, this lets the bait fall faster giving a better feel of the bait and strikes. When fishing shallow water heavier line and a baitcasting outfit can be used. Lighter weights may be better for fishing on lighter line sizes on any type of outfit.

Presentations vary from casting to vertical jigging. Casting Drop Shot Rigs is similar to casting a Texas Rig except into heavy cover. This rig can be used as a swimming rig, hopped, crawled, or dragged. You can even fish as a stationary rig on bedding fish. One of my favorite methods that I call the “Texas Drop Shot” is absolutely deadly on bass. Instead of putting a weight on the bottom, put a 1/8 oz jig on bottom and run your drop shot hook with your worm as normal. Who knows, you might just catch 2 fish at once. If you have any futher questions on this technique, please e-mail me.—Thanks!

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G. Wayne Byrd is a professional bass tournament fisherman, who lives in Colorado. He is an active contributor to Fishin' Secrets with Eric Allee and Friends. www.fishinsecrets.com

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