Dropshot Basics - 1st Technique Worth Mastering
Posted by Andrew Law (1/21/2023)
The Drop Shot Rig is so effective at catching both large and small bass that I believe that is the best way to cath a lot of bass early on in your fishing career. I think it is the best technique to master as a new bass fisherman and something that can always be improved upon as a seasoned angler as well. It is great for highly pressured & finicky fish as well as actively feeding ones.
A drop shot rig is composed of a line with a hook along with a trailer leader that ends with a weight at the bottom so that the hook and bait are suspended above the weight.
Drop shot line
The drop shot rig is technically considered a finesse technique so ideally light line 8lb is preferred although it will still perform well with heavier line like 12lb test as well. You will want to use any clear monofilament or fluorocarbon line. (Not braided line as that will float and disturb your finesse tactic)
Drop shot hooks
Drop shot hooks are also known as split shot hooks. They come with some small variations but for the most part have the same shape. For sizing, the most commonly used for large mouth bass are size 1 or size 1/0.
Drop shot weights
There are 3 styles of drop shot weights, pencil, tear drop, & round. As you can see in the image below, most drop shot weights have a crimped swiveling clasp at the top that makes it easy to attach to your fishing line. Just run the line through that clamp and sinch it up. You can tie a quick knot as well if you would like to or find yourself losing these weights. The rule of thumb for the weight size you want to use is going to be to use a weight that is enough to keep the rig on the bottom of the water column allowing you to jig your bait without moving your rig from its current position.
In calm to little to no current 1/4oz weight will usually be enough. I have used up to 5/8oz in stronger current to keep the bait on the bottom. The more to use a dropshot, the move you will grow to learn if you weight to too light or too little. The weights can be made of either lead or tungsten and can also come painted. Tungsten will be more expensive but is gives a smaller profile(as it is denser) and supposedly gives better feel/response. As for which shape you should go with, that will depend on the type of structure on the bottom. If it is weedy, I would recommend starting with a pencil style weight. A ball or tear drop will give you better feel for your rig & bait in rocky/smooth bottom usually.
Drop Shot Baits
The last and probably most important aspect of your drop shot rig will be the bait you hook onto it. This is what the bass will mainly be focusing on. This can come in a vary of forms, like a finesse worm, a realistic looking minnow, or even a crawfish imitation. For the most part, these baits will be nose hooked, but there are some variations available for worms like wacky rigging or texas rigging.
Prepping your Drop Shot Rig
Now that you understand each of the drop shot components in detail, we can put it all together.
The Drop shot rig can either be tied directly to your fishing line, or it can be setup as a separate tie with a loop at the top. This separate rig can then be attached and unattached quickly if using a snap-swivel.
What makes the Drop shot Rig so effective is its ability to cover the bottom of the water column slowly and providing complete control to the fisherman to impart as much or as little action to the bait as desired. If the fish are telling you that they want the bait to be lively, you can shake/jig the bait more quickly and in small movements. If you the fish are telling you they want it slow & natural, you can have the bait drop and sink naturally using long slow sweeping movements. Perhaps letting the bait sink & move freely with the current.
Pro Tip: Make sure to take a look at how the bait behaves in the water close to the shore/boat so you can learn how your rod movements translate to how the bait moves in response. Varying these movements may lead to more bites!
How to Fish a drop shot
While this is going to be something that is learned via repetition, the basic principle of fishing a drop shot is to cast out the rig and wait for it to contact bottom. You then want to slightly jig your rod to make the bait shake in place without lifting the weight off the bottom. In doing so, you are animating your bait to mimic a live bait.
You can then slowly drag your weight across the bottom by lifting your rod and feeling the weight contact the bottom including things like rocks and fallen timber. Varying the rate of jigging and retrieve can have drastic effects on how the fish react to your bait. Remember to vary it to figure out what the fish like.
Pro Tip: If you feel like there is a potential blocking structure on the bottom, you can pop your bait off the ground to go over it.
When you feel a bite, you will feel something similar to a bump in the line or maybe even multiple little bites. Sometimes fish will nibble at the bait, or if it is an aggressive bite & you feel the weight of the fish on the line immediately & you can move to set the hook right away. If the fish are being timid and barely biting, you can be more patient and maintain a tight line without moving the bait so you have increased feel for a solid bite. Sometimes you will even see your line running away to one side without feeling the weight which means the bait and hook are currently in the fish's mouth and is swimming away with it. It is time to set the hook!
Here is a picture of the 1st bass I ever caught on a drop shot! I hope this guide will get you yours as well! Good Luck fishing your drop shot! Have a question about drop shotting, drop it into the Q&A section and let us know.
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