Drop shot fishing is, arguably, one of the most productive fishing styles for bass. It works particularly well in clear waters. But nowadays, anglers around the world use it for catching deep or lethargic bass. It also produces bites on the shallows, in and around the structure, and in stained waters.
For many years, drop shot fishing was seen as a pro-only technique. But things couldn’t be more different. As you will see here, the drop shot rig only takes a couple of minutes to learn. Of course, mastering the technique takes years, as happens with any other rig. Here we will talk about what a drop shot rig is, how to rig it, how to use it, and much more.
What Is a Drop Shot Rig?
First, things first. Let’s talk about what a drop shot rig is.
Drop shot rig is a finesse fishing technique. All that you need is a soft plastic lure, barely visible fishing line, thin hook, and light sinkers. Finesse worms are the most commonly used. On the other hand, hook size and sinker weight depends on your needs. However, we will give you some suggestions later on.
Now, you might be wondering. What is finesse fishing? Well, finesse fishing involves using light tackle. That is light rods, reels, lines, hooks, and lures.
Why Use a Drop Shot Rig?
Many beginners think that, because some technique works, they don’t have to learn anything else. But, things couldn’t be farther from the truth.
Finesse fishing, hence, drop shot fishing, is all about presentation. It allows you to deliver the lure in a more natural way, which improves your chances of getting a bite while fish are not biting. That’s why this technique shines during winter. But you can also use drop shot rigs on lakes or rivers with high fishing pressure.
Versatility is the main reason why you should use a drop shot rig. You can work it through weeds, using a weedless hook, over open water, and everything in between. Besides, you can gently shake the lure without moving the entire line. In fact, that’s the main beauty of a drop shot rig.
How to Tie Drop Shot Rig
Now that we’ve teased you long enough, it is time to show you how to make a drop fishing rig.
To simply put it, a drop shot rig consists of a thin fishing line tied to a hook and a sinker beneath it. As a result, the lure sits above the weight, just within reach of the fish. This is the main difference with other rig styles, such as Texas or Carolina rigs, where the sinker sits just above the lure itself.
So, pick some fishing line, fluorocarbon preferable, hook, and weight. There are two ways to build a drop shot rig. Here we will explain both.
The first way to do it is by using a conventional hook. Tie it to the main fishing line by using a Palomar knot. Make sure to leave around 12 inches of tag to fix the sinker. Now, it is time to pierce the hook with the plastic lure, and you are good to go.
You can fix the lure weedless-style or whichever way you want. It all depends on where you are fishing. There are endless possibilities.
The second method is ideal for those anglers who don’t know how to tie a Palomar knot. For this one, you need to find a drop shot hook such as the Gamakatsu G Finesse. These have a swivel at the eye, which you can use to tie them to the line. Then, grab a 12-inch leader and fix it to the remaining hole of the swivel. The advantage here is that you don’t need to try many times before getting the rig right. However, you now have two weak points instead of one.
Either way, both methods are simple and equally productive. Keep in mind that the pointy end must look to the surface. It will be impossible to hook the fish otherwise. Let’s take some time to talk about each rig piece.
- Fishing Line: For drop shot rigging purposes, you want a fishing line that fish could barely see. So, fluorocarbon is the best bet.
Stick with a 6 to 8-pound test fishing line, as it is strong enough to land massive bass while being thin enough to be imperceptible.
Alternatively, you can use some braid fishing line with a fluorocarbon leader to conceal the main fishing line.
- Hooks: Finesse fishing rigs require thin hooks, so stay around 1-1/O size. You will have plenty of options as many brands offer this type of hooks.
You can use regular or drop-shot-specific hooks. The only difference between them is that the latter has swivels and the first type doesn’t.
- Weights: Anything between 1/8 to 1/4 ounces will work just fine for drop shot fishing. However, you can bump up to 1/2 ounce for rough waters. This way, you will prevent the rig from getting dragged by the river flow, killing all the action.
Tungsten sinkers are the best ones to use. They are slimmer than lead weights and produce more vibrations. Plus, they are more eco-friendly
Some brands sell drop-shot-specific weights. These have a swivel at the top. Use it to fix it to the leader. But if you can’t find one, don’t worry, you can use any conventional sinker.
- Lure: Now it is time to talk about the most relevant element: The lure.
Typically finesse fishing involves using soft plastic lures, such as finesse worms or small minnow-like lures. Make sure that whichever you use has a straight tail.
Lure size and weight play a major role. In this case, you should stick to 1/16-1/4 ounces range and up to 6 inches long. Heavier soft plastics will have less action but will be easier to cast. In addition, longer lures tend to move more.
- Fishing Rods: Remember, finesse fishing involves using light gear. Thus, spinning rods are your best friend. Stay around 6 to 7 feet long fast action poles. For power, we favor medium rods as they are strong enough for bass and covered waters.
Some anglers use baitcasting instead of spinning rods, especially if they are using thicker fishing lines. So, the ultimate choice is yours.
- Reels: 1000 to 2500 spinning reels are the way to go. Which one you should use depends on the rod. For instance, a 1000 spinning reel is the ideal companion for a rod up to 6 feet long. In contrast, you should pair a 2500 model with a 7+ pole.
Drop Shot Technique
Now that you know how to tie a drop shot rig, it is time to learn when and how to use it to catch bass. Initially, it was only used for vertical fishing. However, anglers started to use a drop shot rig for several different fishing approaches, such as vertical fishing, dragging, casting, and working it near underwater structures.
Vertical fishing is what most anglers think when they hear drop shot fishing. As the name suggests, it involves fishing along a single water column. It has no match when bass are lurking on a hump or above their nests.
Vertical fishing only works if you are sitting on a boat. All you need to do is hover the craft above the bass and let the line sink, no need for casting. The main challenge here is to find a school of bass. But it should be much of a problem as long as you have a fish finder. Just look out for the classic arch on the screen.
Make sure to reel the line once the weight reaches the bottom to avoid excessive slack. This is the only way to feel everything that is happening beneath the surface.
Twitch or deadstick the lure are the best techniques for vertical drop shot fishing. Pay close attention to the sonar for clues about what fish like.
Working Through Cover
One thing that you know about bass is that they love structure, especially shallow waters with weeds. Using a drop shot rig here will prove effective most of the time. Keep in mind, however, to keep the lure weedless. Otherwise, it will snag into something.
All you need to do is to cast your rig against the cover and let it sink. Then apply the same technique as before: Twitch or deadstick the lure. Wait up to 15 seconds, and then try at the opposite side if nothing proves effective. This way, you can explore the whole area.
Drop Shot Drag
Dragging a drop shot rig is the best approach if you don’t know where the bass are. This method is similar to what you would do with either a Texas or Carolina rig. The difference here is that this time the lure swims above the bottom.
Find a ledge and cast the rig high on it, and let the weight sink. Then, slowly drag it down to the bottom of the pocket. Drop shot drag works best when bass are lurking in the depths during cold months.
Weights around 1/8 to 1/4 ounces will do the trick most times. Keep in mind that you want your lure to be noticeable. So make sure to use a weight that doesn’t push it down too fast.
Casting Against the Current
If you are fishing on a river with a swift current, it might be a good idea to use its flow to your advantage. This method is similar to the previous one. This time, however, is the river itself responsible for dragging the rig.
Cast the drop shot rig upstream and let the current do its job. Here, the weight of the sinker plays a critical role. If it is too light, the river will drag it too fast, and fish won’t bite it. On the other hand, if it is too heavy, the lure will stay in one place.
It might take some time to find the right weight. We recommend starting with 1/4 ounce and bump it up if necessary.
When to Use Drop Shot Rig
There is really no season when you can’t use a drop shot rig. It is one of the few techniques that produce fish all year round. Thus, it pays to learn how to fish with it.
Yes, it works like a charm when bass are lethargic during summer and winter, for example. In addition, it works best on clear or slightly stained water where there is higher visibility. Still, you can use it outside these scenarios with total confidence. You only need to perform some minor twitches to the rig, and that’s all.
How Does a Drop Shot Rig Work
As we said before, there are four ways of fishing with a drop shot rig: Vertical fishing, dragging, through cover, and against the current. However, all these tactics have one thing in common: Subtle movements.
You don’t violently jerk a drop shot rig. Gently twitch the rod or reel the line to move the lure. Sometimes you don’t even need to move it. Just let it follow the river current.
It is a good practice to leave the line a little loose. In other words, do not reel the line until it is completely tight. This way, you can move the lure without moving the weight itself. Of course, this only applies when you are not dragging or fishing against the current.
Drop Shot Fishing for Bass: Wrap Up
Learning how to tie a drop shot rig is an ability that any angler should have. It only takes a couple of minutes to learn, and it is effective over many scenarios. For example, you can use it when bass are lethargic or active, on clear or lightly stained water, for vertical fishing or dragging. The possibilities are endless. Naturally, mastering the technique will take some time. But once you do, you will never forget it.
Besides, you only need a medium, fast-action spinning rod, a 1000 to 2500 spinning reel, some light fishing line (fluorocarbon, preferable), thin hooks (with or without swivels), sinkers, and a pack of soft plastic lures.
Once you have it all, fix the hook to the line using a Palomar knot, or using the swivel, provided that the hook has one. Then, attach the weight at the end of the line. It is as simple as that! Try it yourself and let us know how it goes!