Many people believe that drop shotting only targets smaller fish and that the larger ones you’re after won’t take the time to inhale such a small meal. Absolutely wrong! Drop shot fishing is one of the most popular methods of targeting bass of all sizes, and can often be the one technique that draws out the big ones. Even tournament anglers use it, taking home hundreds of thousands of dollars and big shiny trophies. What most people don’t know is that drop shotting has been around for ages. Originally only live bait was used, but it has recently progressed to soft plastics (artificial baits), a method deriving from Japan and has now spread across the United States.
It is safe to say that it can be one of the most versatile presentations, and the combinations of soft plastics, hooks, and weight types are endless. Some of the toughest days out on the water are salvaged by a drop shot presentation, and many anglers know all too well the drawing power that this little rig is capable of.
So let’s get on with it! Drop shot fishing tips brought forth by yours truly. Each one of these methods have been acquired by years of tweaking so that you can take drop shot fishing in the right direction from the start. We hope you enjoy these tips! Please feel free to leave any additional tips in the comments.
What Is A Drop Shot?
If you don’t know what a drop shot is, you’ve been missing out on some productive bass fishing! But don’t worry, I’ve got you completely covered.
A “drop shot” rig consists of a small, thin-wire hook with a weight attached to the tag end of the line approximately 12-18” away. This means that your weight is able to sit on the bottom while the soft plastic worm or creature bait is suspended as high or low as you want it to be. By twitching the rod tip a few times on slack line the bait “dances” and wiggles enticingly on the way down, ultimately resembling a dying bait fish. This dying action is irresistible to the fish, and can often produce strikes even when the bass are extremely finicky.
As stated before, the hook, weight, and bait choices can vary across hundreds of brands, but I like to keep it simple and straightforward, saving both time and money.
Components of a Drop Shot Rig
Before I even begin to describe the types of terminal tackle you’ll need, just keep one simple thing in mind – BUY IN BULK. Drop shotting is prone to all sorts of snagging and lost tackle, so I highly suggest you buy terminal tackle in bulk if it’s available. Exactly what kind of tackle? I thought you’d never ask!
The Perfect Drop Shot Hook
I prefer to use Size 2 Owner Mosquito Hooks. These quality hooks have a short shank, extremely sharp point, and best of all, they offer a 51 pack! Buy in bulk indeed. For around $11 you get 51 hooks to last you at least a few months. Quality and quantity in the perfect package deal.
Choosing A Drop Shot Weight
Before I show you what weights to use, there is one important thing to consider.
How Heavy Should I Go?
I personally use 1/4oz. weights because they are light yet dense enough to get me down 20-30ft fairly quickly if need be. I’m usually fishing 5-10ft of water anyways, so the 1/4oz. weights are perfect for my shallow water presentations.
If you are fishing deeper, however, I’d recommend a 1/2oz., but try not to go over that weight unless you’re fishing with a baitcasting rod. The 1/2oz. weights are more than enough to get you down to whatever depth in a timely manner.
My Personal Drop Shot Weight Choice
I searched around online and they’re a bit hard to find, but I absolutely love J.B. Tackle Pencil Drop Shot Weights. They are the only drop shot weights that I know of that offer a 25-pack, and this also lasts me at least a few months of hard fishing. At around $9 it’s a great deal, and the pencil-shaped design helps to slide in and out of rocks easier, ultimately avoiding snags and saving you some money.
The Right Worm To Wiggle
Now that you’ve acquired your terminal tackle, it’s time to choose a drop shot worm! There are 5 drop shot baits that I recommend; Zoo trick worm, Gary Yamamoto Pro Senko, Roboworm Straight Tail, Zoom Swamp Crawler, and Strike King KVD Dream Shot.
Rigging A Drop Shot
- It is very important to use a Palomar Knot on your hook. I know there are plenty of other knots out there but the Palomar is one of the strongest and most effective knots.
- While you are tying your Palomar Knot, make sure to pull 12-18” of tag end out for your weight. The tag end can be any length, and go either longer or shorter depending on the situation.
- After you’ve tied your Palomar Knot and pulled enough tag line, the most important part is to run the tag end back through the top of your hook. This keeps the hook perfectly straight and upright while fishing.
- When tying your weight, don’t do any fancy knot – simply tie 2-3 overhand knots around the weight and it’s good to go. Drop shot weights are meant to break off! By tying a weak knot you allow yourself to break off the weight during a snag, saving both the hook and the soft plastic instead.
Right Drop Shot Setup
It’s time to move on, but once again there are a few factors to consider when choosing a drop shot setup. I try to keep the entire setup as light and sensitive as possible in case I run into windy conditions where every bit of sensitivity counts. You’ll definitely want a spinning rod and reel and I have a few suggestions for you.
The Ideal Reel
My personal drop shotting reel is a Shimano Stradic Ci4+ 2500. I spent the extra dough on this reel because it is one of the lightest spinning reels on the market and is incredibly smooth. Any 2500-size reel is fine, as long as it loads up with at least 100 yards of 6-8lb line.
Here are a few cheaper suggestions that still maintain high quality:
- Shimano Sedona 2500
- Daiwa Revros 2000
- Okuma Ceymar C-30
I make sure to spool up with fluorocarbon line. Fluorocarbon is almost completely invisible when submerged and is less stretchy, making it more sensitive than traditional monofilament. I personally use 8lb Seaguar InvisX Fluorocarbon but any brand will work just fine.
Drop Shot Rod
I can’t emphasize how important a lightweight, sensitive spinning rod is for drop shot fishing. Any 6’10”-7′ rod with an extra-fast tip is ideal. Your rod should have a soft tip for bite detection and enough backbone for lifting power. To put it in simpler terms, gently press the rod against the floor and the bend should shut off around the upper quarter of the rod. To test sensitivity you can drag the rod tip carefully along carpet (avoid shops with hard floors!) while holding the reel seat or have a friend tap the tip for you.
I personally use a Powell Max 732, which has been effective and has had a productive history of putting bass in the boat. If you can’t afford to spend $180-200 on a drop shot spinning rod there are plenty of other cheaper, high-quality options out there for you. I’d recommend:
- Powell Diesel 723
- 13 Fishing Omen Black 2 Spin Rod 7’1″
- Fenwick HMG Spinning 7’ Medium Light
Drop Shot Fishing Tips
These are tips and tricks that I have learned through much trial and error, and they work best for me. Remember, every body of water is different but these tips will pretty much cover most of them. As long as your presentation is accurately mimicking a dying baitfish, you’re doing it right, but there are a few ways to improve it even further.
Where To Fish A Drop Shot Rig
The beauty of drop shotting is that it can be used virtually anywhere. As long as the vegetation or cover is not too thick, you can literally cast a drop shot near any piece of structure, or even in the midst of open flats. I typically fish my drop shot rig near structure along the shore, but it can be deadly on off-shore structure as well. Weed edges, docks, and rocky structure are all prime targets for your drop shot presentation. Drop shot fishing is also extremely deadly as a bed fishing method in spring, and it allows you to keep your bait right on the bed and stay there until you can entice an angry strike.
Cadence Is Key
Play around with your twitches and pauses. Sometimes the fish want a few twitches and a longer pause, and sometimes they’ll eat it right on the fall. Find out which cadence works best for you and stick with it. I usually twitch the rod 2-4 times and then let the bait sit for at least 5 seconds, if not more. In my opinion this gives the bait enough time to flutter back down to the bottom, only to be ripped up erratically from a few more twitches. I’ve had much luck with this cadence and most of the fish caught like this eat the bait on the pause.
Vary The Length
Change up the length between weight and hook depending on your personal situation. For instance, if I know the fish are close to bottom and there are barely any snags, I’ll drop the leader length down to 6-8 inches. If there is submerged grass near the bottom I’ll lengthen my leader to at least 18-24” allowing my bait to sit above the vegetation.
Rig It Weedless
If vegetation is fairly thick and your open-faced hook is snagging too much, try Texas-Rigging your bait. I use a Size 1 Roboworm Re-Barb Hook instead of an Owner Mosquito hook and it allows me to slide in and out of vegetation with no problem.
Wacky Rig It!
Unless the soft plastics you are using are more effective while nose-hooked, stick with the popular Wacky Style, meaning you hook your bait through the middle to give it an irresistible twitching and falling action. I feel that the rigging my worm Wacky also gives me a better hookup ratio, as the fish tend to bite only the tail when I nose-hook my baits.
I hope these tips help you to become a more effective finesse angler. Please feel free to send us suggestions on any tips we may have missed in the comments! We appreciate your valuable time wish you the best of luck on your next trip. Thank you!